Monday, December 15, 2008

EU Authorized to Sink Pirate Ships. Gates: "No intelligence".


Those involved in the European Union's anti-pirate operation "Atalanta" have said that the mission would have a "robust" mandate. Just what that means, though, has thus far remained classified. But according to information obtained by SPIEGEL, EU ships operating off the coast of Somalia have not only been given the green light to ward off or capture pirates -- they can also sink their ships.

The mission, involving half a dozen ships, up to three reconnaissance aircraft as well as unmanned drones, began a week ago and has not yet reached full strength. The German government has already agreed to contribute a frigate and 1,400 troops. The Karlsruhe is already in the region and is waiting for final approval from the German parliament, the Bundestag. Approval is expected to come on Friday.

As part of the worldwide effort to combat the piracy threat, the US recently submitted a proposal to the United Nations Security Council which would allow anti-pirate operations inside Somalia itself. But US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday admitted that the US didn't have enough reliable intelligence to conduct such operations. "With the level of information we have at the moment, we're not in a position to do that kind of land-based operation," Gates said at a regional security meeting in Bahrain, according to Reuters. "Our first need is intelligence, (to know) who is behind it."

Some observers doubt that a purely maritime response to the pirates will be enough. Rahul Roy-Chaudhury, an expert with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, told Reuters that "the single most difficult problem the forces are facing is that they don't have the jurisdiction to chase (the pirates) into their natural habitat on land."

Sink as many of the sonsabitches at sea as you can and keep sinkin' 'em until they stop coming.

As to jurisdiction, follow 'em home and kill 'em. Better yet, since their whole raison d'ĂȘtre is that they're only pirates because they're poor fishermen who need to work for the warlords and terror cartels to make a living, capture as many as you can and disperse them amongst the seaports of the world. The civilian sailors and dockhands of the world'll, er, take care of 'em.

These people better read their history. I don't recall any jurisdictional disputes involving the Barbary Pirates, who operated freely for 700 years or so and made these small-time Somali clowns look like pikers.

it was the Barbary Pirates who were responsible for the formation of the U.S. Navy in 1794, and they sent ships and Marines to deal with them:

[...] By late 1793, a dozen American ships had been captured, goods stripped and everyone enslaved. Portugal had offered some armed patrols, but American merchants needed an armed American presence to sail near Europe. After some serious debate, the United States Navy was born in March 1794. Six frigates were authorized, and so began the construction of the United States, the Constellation, the Constitution and three other frigates.

This new military presence helped to stiffen American resolve to resist the continuation of tribute payments, leading to the two Barbary Wars along the North African coast: the First Barbary War from 1801 to 1805 and the Second Barbary War in 1815. It was not until 1815 that naval victories ended tribute payments by the U.S., although some European nations continued annual payments until the 1830s.

The United States Marine Corps actions in these wars led to the line "to the shores of Tripoli" in the opening of the Marine Hymn. Because of the hazards of boarding hostile ships, Marines' uniforms had a leather high collar to protect against cutlass slashes. This led to the nickname Leatherneck for U.S. Marines.

Note to Uncle Sam's Canoe Club: You exist because of pirates. Get back to yer roots. Show some sack instead of just launching air strikes. Hell, you don't even have to board 'em these days, just stand off and sink 'em with gunfire, so you don't have to get in very close. That's what Marines are for. Really, that's what Marines are all about. They're not just a funny little land army who talk like sailors like they're mostly used as these days. They're actually pretty good at assaulting from the sea. If they remember how...

Just get the Jarheads close to land. Over the horizon will do, so the big bad ferocious warlords can't see you and scare you, and cut 'em loose. The Marines have an ancestral tribal memory and will figure out what they're supposed to do on the way in.

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