Somali Piracy Likely to Spread to Yemen

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Flag of Somalia
Flag of Somalia

“We will not stop piracy just by the military chasing bad guys on the high seas.”

The piracy off Somalia’s shore is “likely to spread to volatile Yemen,” a former White House official and a Somali-American journalist assert. They call for a new international conference to find a solution in an op-ed published in the Detroit Free-Press.

The co-authors — Yusuf M. Hassan, former speechwriter for the leader of Puntland state (where most of the pirates are from) in northern Somalia, and Robert Weiner, former White House Drug Policy Office spokesman — connect the Somali conflict to terror-haven Yemen.

“The failed Detroit-bound airline bomber was trained in Yemen, across from Somalia over the Gulf of Aden,” say Hassan and Weiner. They cite a concern of conflict over Yemen’s projected depletion of oil and water supplies in coming years, warning: “Yemen’s government is in danger of becoming a failed state, as weak as neighbor Somalia.”

“Only a viable solution for Somalia, including political investment by all parties and using the country’s economic strengths of livestock, agriculture, and fisheries, can avert a regional disaster and a spike in piracy and terrorism.”

Describing the current UN-backed Somali interim government as “weak and paralyzed by corruption,” the authors call for “a new international conference in Puntland state, piracy’s main source, where legitimate Somali parties are represented, with foreign diplomats and world media present for maximum visibility.”

The conference’s mission “would be: Enhance political and economic development within Somalia while expanding law enforcement against piracy and terrorism. The purpose must not be to assert international control over the country.”

Hassan and Weiner call for “more humanitarian assistance to Somalia’s people, who have faced war, poverty and displacement for 20 years. Thousands of young men in Somalia are unemployed, armed, and desperate from impoverishment.”

“We will not stop piracy just by the military chasing bad guys on the high seas. It is time for a comprehensive approach that addresses the causes that allow piracy and terrorism to take root. Success would pay dividends against piracy and terrorism in the entire region,” Hassan and Weiner conclude.

Source: Robert Weiner Associates

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