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You want boots on the ground, or rather boots on the land. While carpet bombing Eyl (where the pirates are based) might sound like an attractive idea, people will complain because of the collateral damage.

You need to go in with troops and root out the pirates, and you'll need to do this until these people understand they're not supposed to behave like thiefs.

Speaking of that boat docking ability, that's for really small boats, more assault craft than anything like missile boats.

What I'd like to see is some kind of mothership concept which could tender a small combat group of standardised boats with a modular capacity. That is, with some cranes and welding they could swiftly be changed from missile boats, to gun boats, to AA boats to radar boats, to assault boats, to ASW boats, to... You get the point.

And the mothership is there to give them endurance, modul storage, a hospital, better C3I and so on. But as this would be a cheap idea, count on it never ever being realized.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:02:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You need to go in with troops and root out the pirates, and you'll need to do this until these people understand they're not supposed to behave like thiefs.

Because this approach worked so well when France used it in Algeria in the 1840s. And when the Americans used it in Iraq in the 2000s. And when the Romans used it in Palestine in the 30's. And when...

If there's a structural problem - and Somalia is pretty much the definition of a structural problem - playing whack-a-mole like that isn't going to solve the problem; it'll just piss off the locals and show the rest of the world that Europe really is just an old-fashioned imperialist power after all.

Do. Not. Want.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:20:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those are not really relevant examples. A better example is the Barbary wars.


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:29:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... Ethiopia uses it in Somalia.

Remember that the current wave of pirate activity there began with the Islamic courts getting smashed by Ethiopia and their US allies. Apparently the warlords the transitional government - our erstwhile allies - likes to increase their profits with running some pirate ops.

This is in many ways similar to opium production in Afghanistan, except there is no use for gunboats in the mountains. The WestTM does not stop opium production when run by its allies, neither does it stop piracy run by its allies. Of course that does not stop our politicians from pretending it to be the case.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem with Somalia is that there is no government, just a big power vacuum. We can certainly not create a legitimate government for Somalia, they'll have to do that themselves, but we can protect ourselves from the worst Somali excesses. Like piracy. Until a Somali government exists which can do that for itself.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:28:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no government because we the WestTM supported an invasion that crushed the last government and brought back civil war and the piracy.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:34:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not having a bunch of al-Qaida harborers was considered the more important thing.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:41:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Excuses, excuses.

Claiming that a government supports terrists sounds an awful lot like the old "but they're commies!" line. It looks like a cover story for bad, old imperialism. It walks like a cover story for bad, old imperialism. And it smells like a cover story for bad, old imperialism.

Now, perhaps I could take the cry of "terrists!" a little more seriously if The West(TM) were all gung-ho for taking out the Saudi royal family (who certainly do support terrorists), gave even the slightest hint that they might stop supporting the various and sundry terrorist militias murdering labour union members in Columbia or perhaps showed a little regard for combating terrorism in countries that don't have oil, gas or a strategically important geography. As it is, though... not so much.

Quite apart from that, there's the fact that Al Qaeda is not, never was and isn't going to be a credible threat to The West(TM) until and unless they get their grubby hands on a tactical nuke (which they won't do in Somalia). And arguably not even then.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:50:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd accept the imperialism meme in this case if there was a single valuable thing to steal or exploit in Somalia. As far as I know, there's not a single valuable thing in the entire country.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:52:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course not. After a decade and a half of civil war, what could possibly be left that was worth looting?

Oh. Right...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:01:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I hardly think the Americans helped bring down the sharia court people because they wanted to protect the interests of some Spanish fishermen or something like that.

The oil stuff seems very unclear, small scale and uninteresting. And it seems to be generally offshore. If it's offshore it doesn't matter if they are fighting a civil war or not as they can't get to the platforms anyway. Compare with the oil offshore Angola (IIRC) during the war.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:10:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The problem isn't so much the civil war as the risk that peace might break out - in which case the new government might - shock, horror - not honour the "agreements" signed by various and sundry regimes over the years.

Of course, in this case the place is so fucked up that it's not safe to operate, which probably wasn't part of the plan.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:16:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... as has been recently shown in Nigeria.

And of course, the closer to shore the cheaper to drill.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 10:44:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There appears to be some oil in the sea between Yemen and Somalia, at least there are some minor oil companies there.

And there is fish.

But by your standards of imperialism, what do you call it when the empires divided inner Sahara into different colonies? Or for that matter the division of Antarctic into territorial claims? Is it only imperialism when it is clear what the emperor wants from the conquered territories?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:01:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Those were the "golden" days of imperialsm when everyone wanted colonies just because they were cool, and because the land was there for the taking. There was ideology behind it. I don't think anyone who believes the invasion of Iraq to be an act of imperialism think Cheney launched the invasion because he wanted to rule Iraq, but because he wanted the oil.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:06:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this does brings us back to another point that I often make in regard to EU foreign policy:

I'd suggest that before we start running around trying to set things right with task forces and expeditionary corps and whatnot, perhaps we should try to stop breaking things first.

Might be more effective. Might be a whole hell of a lot cheaper too.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:41:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If "first do no harm" is good enough for medicine, it should be good enough for foreign policy.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 06:03:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not as glamorous as breaking countries for the sake of it, however.

The argument is academic. Most leaders, overt and covert, continue to be narcissists, sociopaths and authoritarians.

Peace won't break out until the normal people take over and throw the crazies in prison.

Which is a fine plan, but very much easier said than done.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:13:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm spent much of the evening at a talk by David Owen about politicians being clinically narcisistic.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 07:58:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pulled some links together for preemptive purposes.

The warlords/government are the pirates:
How savage pirates reign on the world's high seas | World news | The Observer

The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of President Abdullahi Yusuf, which is packed with former warlords, exercises little authority and claims to be unable to stop the piracy. But it is perhaps telling that during the six-month reign of the Somali Council of Islamic Courts over much of south and central Somalia in 2006, attacks on passing ships all but stopped.

Andrew Mwangura, head of the Mombasa-based Seafarers' Assistance Programme, and one of the foremost experts on Somali piracy, says there are five main pirate groups operating, sometimes together.

'Most of them are linked to warlords,' he said. 'And the warlords are linked to the TFG, all the way to the top.'

EU are stealing their fish:
How savage pirates reign on the world's high seas | World news | The Observer

Yet at any one time there are up to 500 foreign-registered boats fishing in Somalia's rich waters, according to the Seafarers' Assistance Programme. European boats catch tuna or shrimp; vessels from the Far East catch sharks for their fins. Almost all are fishing illegally. Often, pirate attacks are not even reported to maritime authorities: the ransoms paid are regarded as legitimate fines, both by the pirates and the ship-owners.

EU supports the corrupt and criminal government:
Troop Pullout Leaves Government On Brink (from Sunday Herald)

Worst of all, this government, which is backed by the United Nations and funded by Western donors including Britain and the EU, has been accused of committing a litany of war crimes. Its police force, many of whom were trained under a UN programme part-funded by Britain, has carried out extrajudicial killings, raped women and fired indiscriminately on crowds at markets. Militias aligned to the government have killed journalists and attacked aid workers.

Fortunately, it appears that Somalis are on their way of solving the problem by chasing out the Ethiopian troops and their western advisers.

Troop Pullout Leaves Government On Brink (from Sunday Herald)

SOMALIA'S FRAGILE government appears to be on the brink of collapse. Islamist insurgents now controls large parts of southern and central Somalia - and are continuing to launch attacks inside the capital, Mogadishu.

Ethiopia, which launched a US-backed military intervention in Somalia in December 2006 in an effort to drive out an Islamist authority in Mogadishu, is now pulling out its troops.

So, next time EU fishing ships steals fish from Somalian waters they will hopefully be arrested and sent to a proper jail. By coastguards in the brand new uniforms of the Islamic Republic of Somalia.

In šaʾ Allāh!

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:50:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pirates and Emperors - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the City of God, St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great, who asked him "how dare he molest the sea". "How dare you molest the whole world" the pirate replied. "Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief; you, doing it with a great navy, are called an emperor".


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 08:00:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... even a small fast patrol boat with the beam and length is too tall to fit in the well ... a patrol boat mothership/tender would not have a hanger deck above its well.

And of course rather than try to fit a patrol boat into the procrustean bed of a landing craft envelope, it is more frugal in the end to design the patrol boat mothership/tender around the patrol boats a country has.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 04:54:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, that's not really what I meant. My mothership concept would indeed have a hangar deck (for helicopters, and maybe strike fighters), but it wouldn't have a dock at all, or if it did it would only be used to resupply one of the many standard boats at a time. They would no be transported in the mothership but go by their own power.

And you'd need to build new small boats. The ones used today are built for some specific purpose while these would be preconfigured to carry a modular mission package.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Oct 15th, 2008 at 05:11:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lots of capacity to retrofit the amphibious assault ship as a small boat tender, at the sacrifice of the space to carry 450 Amphibious Assault troops.

Looking back on it after sleeping on it, it seems like the kind of boat that would most benefit from an internal well-dock would be the small, very fast type of patrol boat, and I can see that something like a missile boat would neither need nor substantially benefit from that, though it would benefit from a mothership.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Oct 16th, 2008 at 09:35:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, the ships I've had in mind when pondering this is something like the Finnish Hamina class fast attack craft (250 tons), the Swedish Göteborg class corvette (380/425 tons) and, maybe a bit unrealistically, the Finnish Turunmaa class gunboat. The last because I'd love to have the ability to slot in a big gun instead of missiles or whatever. The Turunmaa class (700 tons (+100 with later modifications) 1,350 tons (full load)) had the wonderful Bofors 120 mm/46 SAK DP (80(!) 120 mm shells a minute!).

Now, I wouldn't use that gun as it's not made anymore and because there is a much better one: the Otobreda 127/64. 127 mm, 25 rounds a minute (good enough!) and a massive 84 km range with standard shells! Even better, the new guided Vulcano shells will reach 120 km, better than many anti-ship missiles!

The only orders for that gun has been from the Italian and German navies for their new "frigates" (read: destroyers) which are both in the 6000 ton range. I wonder how small a ship you could mount it on, if the ship was only supposed to carry the gun (or some other mission module) and nothing else? It is after all dseigned to be a 127/54 but with lighter weight, for corvettes and the Turunmaa class were much smaller than these destroyers will be. Maybe you could even put it on something like the Göteborg class?

   
The Bofors 120 mm autogun on the Turunmaa class
   
Hamina class fast attack craft.
   
Four Göteborg class
   
The new Otobreda 127/64 lightweight gun
     

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri Oct 17th, 2008 at 11:07:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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