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Continued: Do Somali pirates have legitimate gripe?

  • Article by: CLIFFORD D. MAY , Scripps Howard News Service
  • Last update: July 27, 2011 - 12:56 PM

Somalia also is home to al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaida. Bahadur is skeptical about reports of an "Islamist-pirate conspiracy" but he doesn't rule out alliances of convenience.

In an epilogue, Bahadur offers his recommendations for mitigating -- not eliminating -- piracy.

Among them: financing a local police force "capable of stopping the pirates before they reach the sea," clamping down on illegal fishing, and encouraging or requiring "passive security measures aboard commercial vessels."

I'm not persuaded this brave young reporter has the solutions but the ideas he puts on the table could be the start of a serious policy discussion.

Defeating the Somali pirates of the 21st century should not be much more difficult than was defeating the Barbary pirates along a different African coast in the 18th century.

But back then the new government of the United States decided that paying off brigands would not do and that defending American citizens was essential.

Now, too often, American officials bow to what we credulously call the United Nations and other multilateral organizations that have come under the control of powers hostile to what we now generally refrain from calling the Free World.

To borrow Boyah's words, that's "the root of our troubles. We are waiting for action."

Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.

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