Thursday, November 20, 2008

The New Barbary Pirates - Somali Moslems

India Shows The Way

By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Piracy: India, from whose Hindi language we get the word "thug," knows how to handle them. Its navy blew away two Somali pirate ships in a week, sending a message in the only language thugs understand. Kudos.

Read More: Energy East Asia & Pacific

The next Somali crew of pirates on a ship slinking through the Gulf of Aden looking for an easy ransom won't smile through its cutlasses if it spies an Indian-flagged ship. It will move the other way as fast as possible.

Tuesday, a pirate mother-ship crew aimed grenade launchers at an Indian naval frigate and tried to ram it. The Indian ship Tabar fired back, set the vessel on fire, and left it at the bottom of the sea. It was the second pirate ship India's navy had blown out of the water, another was taken out Nov. 11. There won't be many more.

India's clear response to the Somali pirates is the only one likely to prove effective. It contrasts sharply with the handwringing helplessness of other navies patrolling the area under a United Nations mandate. Their mission is proving ineffective, and the enemy is growing bolder. Since a Saudi supertanker was seized on Saturday, pirates have commandeered three more ships.

It's happening because the current international mission is largely hamstrung by attempts to enforce laws on nationals from a state without laws, let alone prisons or courts. Somali pirates right now get a free ride. When they aren't reaping ransoms from captured ships — $50 million in 2008, with another $10 million expected from the Saudi supertanker — they are being captured and released by international patrols that have no place to take them. It all adds up to a riskless venture for pirates.

India showed that the only message with authority in this perversely incentivized void is force. The West may have bigger, more technologically advanced navies than India's 118-ship naval flotilla, but only India has demonstrated the way to raise the cost of piracy. As a result of its actions, there are stirrings in the U.N. and NATO to adopt this strategy.

India's actions probably saved many more ships than the few it has protected and saved unnecessary costs, as well. Indian companies faced a $450,000 increase in shipping insurance costs due to the increased risk of piracy. That's a pittance here, but not in a country full of poor merchants trying to play by the rules and legitimately integrate into the global economy through trade. India's act was motivated by a desire to stand up for its nationals, but in reality, it stood up for all of us.

The West needs to heed India's example because its energy supply is at stake, and every ransom paid empowers the pirates and their terrorist allies. India's leadership and resolve should increase its international stature. That's what comes to nations that have the common sense to confront thugs.


Pirates Exploit Confusion About International Law
The connection between human-rights scolds and the rise of crime on the high seas.


Pirates' Delight
Other thugs will come if we don't punish the Somali pirates

Read "Somali jihadists reaping benefits of piracy"


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