* NewsflashÂ Surpise: Iranian cargo ship was carrying weapons to Gaza
* More proof that appeasement is a mental disorder. Too bad Ronald Reagan missed this SoB when he bombed LibyaÂ on April 15, 1986.
NAIROBI: Libyan leader and new head of the African Union (AU), Muammar Qaddafi, has defended the actions of Somali pirates as an act of self-defense against “greedy” Western nations, the Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation reported yesterday.
The paper, reporting on Qaddafi’s visit to AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, quoted him as saying: “It is not piracy, it is self-defense. It is defending the Somali children’s food. It is a response to greedy Western nations, who invade and exploit Somalia’s water resources illegally.” The Libyan leader was commenting on piracy in waters off Somalia.
Yesterday, the US Navy gave food, water and fuel to a Ukrainian arms ship off the coast of Somalia, helping it get ready to leave the area after being held hostage by pirates for more than four months. The MV Faina, seized Sept. 25, was freed Thursday after pirates received an airdropped ransom of $3.2 million. The pirates then left with the cash, but the ship remained anchored at sea near the coastal town of Hobyo.
In addition, the US Navy gave all Faina crew members medical attention, said Lt. Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet.
The navy has watched over the Faina since its capture to make sure the cargo of 33 tanks and other heavy weapons did not fall into the hands of Somali insurgents believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda. Faina Capt. Viktor Nikolsky told The Associated Press via satellite phone yesterday that the ship would start traveling to Mombasa, Kenya, today. He hoped to reach the port in three or four days.
Ukraine’s top human rights official, Nina Karpachova, said the Faina crew has to test the engine to see whether the ship can sail under its own power. She also said a US Navy ship will accompany it to Mombasa.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said yesterday that his country planned to dispatch a warship to the Gulf of Aden to join an international coalition against pirates.
“We have decided that this would be an important positive step toward ensuring security in the region,” Babacan told reporters, adding that the government had asked Parliament to authorize the mission.
The minister explained that a frigate would be sent under UN Security Council resolutions authorizing countries to take measures to suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery in the region.
“This will not be an individual mission but rather one in which Turkey will be part of a naval force including a number of countries,” he said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month the Security Council could explore the possibility of setting up a maritime task force or adding to current anti-piracy operations “a quick reaction component.”