* Yes, they Â deserve their fight. And yes, they don’t deserve ‘human rights’ or asylum. Why fish them out of the water? Â We should oblige them by feeding them to the sharks:
Somali pirates say they will fight commando raid
The warning came a day after the Somali government gave foreign powers a blank check for using force against the pirates, while U.S. warships continued to circle nearby and a Russian frigate headed toward the standoff.
“Anyone who tries to attack us or deceive us will face bad repercussions,” the pirates’ spokesman, Sugule Ali, told The Associated Press by satellite telephone from the Ukrainian ship MV Faina.
Ali sounded calm and relaxed despite being surrounded by a half dozen Navy vessels and buzzed by American helicopters.
Navy officials decline to comment on the possible use of force, but they warn the pirates against harming the 20 crew members or trying to unload the ship’s cargo of 33 Soviet-designed T-72 tanks and other weapons. They make clear they won’t allow the arms to fall into the hands of an al-Qaida-linked Islamic movement that is battling Somalia’s government.
Ali said the pirates planned to release the ship with crew and cargo intact after receiving the $20 million ransom they have demanded. They seized it Sept. 25 and are no anchored off the coast of central Somalia.
“We have nothing to do with insurgents or terrorist organizations. We only need money,” he said. “We would never reduce the ransom.”
The Faina’s hijacking, the most high-profile this year, illustrates the ability of a handful of pirates from a failed state to menace a key international shipping lane despite the deployment of warships by global powers.
Ali specifically warned against the type of raids carried out twice this year by French commandos to recover hijacked vessels. The French used night vision goggles and helicopters in operations that killed or captured several pirates, who are now standing trial in Paris.
Russia, whose warship was not expected for several days, has used commando tactics to end several hostage situations on its own soil, but dozens of hostages have died in those efforts.
The Faina standoff will probably be resolved with a ransom payment like nearly 30 other hijackings this year, said Roger Middleton, who published a report on Somali piracy for a London-based think tank, Chatham House, on Thursday.
But the negotiations might drag on, he said.
“In some of these instances pirates have held out for almost two months,” Middleton told the AP. “They know how to wait things out. I think the likeliest conclusion to this, and the swiftest, is the payment of ransom. The alternative for the shipping company and the international community is that the ship is sunk and her crew die.”
Hijackings of this Horn of Africa nation are being conducted with increasing sophistication by pirates equipped with rocket-propelled grenades, satellite phones and global positioning systems.
Middleton estimated they have already pulled in up to $30 million in ransoms this year.
A Danish intelligence company specializing in maritime security said Thursday that Somali pirates make an average of $1 million per hijacked vessel and hold ships for an average of five weeks before freeing them.
On Wednesday, the Somali government authorized foreign powers to use whatever force is necessary to free the Faina.
A U.N. Security Council resolution in June gave permission to nations to send warships into Somalia’s territorial waters to stop “piracy and armed robbery at sea” if such operations were taken in cooperation with the weak Somali government in Mogadishu.
But foreign warships in the area have not deterred piracy off Africa’s longest coastline. On Thursday, the Bahrain-based spokesman of the U.S. 5th Fleet, Lt. Nathan Christensen, said the Navy received reports of three more failed attacks on shipping in the Gulf of Aden.
Middleton said the risk of hijackings threatened to further drive up prices for the oil and other goods being shipped to Europe and America from the Middle East. He said insurance rates for vessels traveling by Somalia had jumped tenfold.
Associated Press writers Barbara Surk in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Pauline Jelinek in Washington and Katharine Houreld, Anita Powell and Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya, contributed to this report.
Somali Islamists tell pirates to destroy Ukrainian arms ship
MOGADISHU : Somali Islamist militants on Thursday urged pirates holding a Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and military hardware to destroy the cargo and the vessel if they are not paid ransom.Â
As US warships and other navies blockaded the MV Faina off Somalia’s Indian Ocean coast, the pirates have insisted on being paid 20 million dollars to release the cargo and the 21-member crew.Â
“If they do not get the money they are demanding, we call on them to either burn down the ship and its arms or sink it,” Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, a spokesman for the Shabab movement, told AFP in an interview.Â
But Robow said his movement, which is gradually gaining ground over government troops in southern Somalia, was not linked to the pirates who seized the Belize-flagged freighter last week as it headed for Mombasa in Kenya.Â
“We have no contacts and links with the pirates and they are in the waters for their own interests.”Â
“It is a crime to take commercial ships but hijacking vessels that carry arms for the enemy of Allah is a different matter,” added Robow, whose movement nearly stamped out piracy when it controlled southern Somalia last year.Â
Robow claimed that the 33 Soviet-era T72 battle tanks and other military hardware on the MV Faina belonged to Ethiopian forces, who are propping up the embattled Somali government in the capital Mogadishu.Â
“We believe that the military shipment belonged to Ethiopia and was headed to Mogadishu seaport, where it would have been unloaded with the intention of destroying Somalia, but that never happened,” he said.Â
Earlier in the week, the pirates said the arms were headed for Sudan. The Ukrainian owners of the freighter and Kenyan government said the tanks were destined for Kenya.Â
The US Navy has vowed to prevent the pirates from offloading the arms, but Robow said his movement would not mind getting hold of them in a bid to boost its campaign against soldiers from Somalia, Ethiopia and the African Union.Â
“The Ukrainian ship is loaded with military hardware that is very important for our holy war against the enemy of Allah and it would have changed the war in Somalia if that military shipment falls in our hands,” he said.Â
The number of pirates currently operating off the coast of Somalia, with backing concentrated in the northern breakaway state of Puntland, is believed to be upward of 1,000. Most of them are former coastguards.Â
London-based think tank Chatham House said in a new report that on piracy in Somalia that the “total ransom payments for 2008 probably lie in the range of 18-30 million dollars.”Â
– AFP /lsÂ
Al Qaeda + Pirates = Jihad on the High Seas
Arrghh…Aslim taslam, matey!
More evidence that the supposedly “random” Somali pirate attacks are, in fact, associated with al-Qaeda’s jihad. Incidentally, piracy as a jihadist activity has a pedigree at least as old as the Barbary conflicts with Europe and the United States, and the Islamic slave raiding pirates vividly described in Giles Milton’s bookÂ White Gold.
“Al Qaida + Pirates = Jihad on the High Seas,” from theÂ Jawa Report, via JW
Al Qaida has claimed responsibility for the increased pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia this year. So far this year there have been around 60 attacks against cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden, in 2007 there was 13. The islamic pirates are currently holding up to 300 crewmen hostage and 14 cargo ships for ransom.Â
It’s the trifecta:
Somali pirates hijack cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Then the pirates collect the ransom paid for the release of cargo ships and crewmen. This is known as jihad al-mal, monetary jihad.
Large sums of theÂ ransom money goes to al Shabaab, the islamic Youth Movement. Al Shabaab uses the ransom money to fuel the jihad on land. Both groups are linked to al Qaida, it’s all about the jihad.
In a recent communiquÃ©, the Islamist organization claimed responsibility for this year’s surge in pirate attacks in the vital Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Dozens of vessels from different nations have been seized and held for ransom, shaking the world’s shipping industry. Al-Qaeda calls its maritime campaign “a new strategy which permits the mujahedeen” to hijack shipping, since “fighters who aspire to establish the caliphate must control the seas and the waterways.”
Counterterrorism consultant Olivier Guitta revealed the al-Qaeda connection in his Asia Times column, writing that the terrorist organization “intends to take control of the Gulf of Aden and the southern entrance of the Red Sea.” Guitta called the area “strategic” for the radical Islamic group.