From criminals to conflict parties? The changing face of Somali piracy

Pirates are considered to be criminals. They hijack ships for ransom and make a fortune. They do not have political objectives. However, in a recent article in the New York Times Jeffrey Gettleman reports that Somali pirates are indeed getting involved in politics and take sides in the civil war. If this holds true, it marks a new development in Somalian piracy. Pirates may just be about to change their face from profit-driven criminals seeking ransoms to conflict parties and political actors actively shaping the future of their country. Read more →

Gunmen, Fish and Puntland: the Professionalization of Piracy?

A new report of the “Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1853” was published on March 10th. According to the report, Pirates transnationalize and establish political contacts beyond the immediate region. The report re-emphasizes that the “coast guard”-argument is implausible, although it continues to be raised in international news coverage. Earlier information suggests that pirates are organized in fairly small and loose gangs with flat hierarchical structures. This, however, the report suggests might be changing. The government of Puntland appears to be even more entangled in the piracy operations than already known. Read more →

Somali Piracy and the International Response: Trends in 2009 and Prospects for 2010

This first blog entry on summarizes the state of affairs in the international community’s effort to fight piracy off the coast of Somalia. It describes some recent dynamics and tendencies, and portrays some possible future scenarios of the evolution of the piracy challenge and the international engagement in the Gulf of Aden and beyond. The entry is based on articles, reports and comments provided by international as well as Somali news agencies, media pools and institutions. Read more →