Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/558/6658

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 November 2008

Somalia piracy - a consequence of western powers' intervention

THE HIJACKING of the supertanker Sirius Star, carrying 2 million barrels of oil, has dramatically highlighted the problem of piracy along the Somali coast. This was the biggest in over 100 attacks on shipping in the region this year.

Neil Cafferky

The practice of hijacking shipping vessels has proven very lucrative for the pirates with up to $30 million paid over in ransoms so far.

For capitalism this poses a serious threat to the world economy as the cost of transporting goods through one of the world's main supply routes has rocketed up to $400 million a year. This is at time when the global economy is acutely vulnerable to outside shocks.

While the official press and commentators have swung between fulminating against threats to their system's profits and conjuring up nostalgic images of buccaneering pirates, the real significance of what is happening off the coast of Somalia is often missed.

The growth of Somalia piracy is a consequence of years of intervention and exploitation by western powers and also the signal for new big power rivalry in one of the world's hot spots.

The source of these attacks are Somali ex-fishermen who organised themselves to prevent poaching by fishing companies from the countries of the big capitalist powers. The Guardian has reported that $300 million is poached annually from Somalia waters by trawlers from around the world.

However the problem of poaching is bound up with the fact that Somalia has splintered into a myriad of warring factions and clans. This has laid the basis for fishermen being forced to organise themselves in defence of their livelihoods but also providing them with the means to do so in the form of weapons and ex-militiamen.

David Cockcroft, general secretary of the International Transport Federation comments: "There appears to be steady growth in the numbers of pirates coming from Somalia as local warlords see their neighbours' power and influence growing after expanding into this area of criminal activity. So you now have not just criminals working close to the coast in fast inflatables, but fishing boats getting into piracy as freelances, and now organised gangs working far out in international waters using bigger fishing vessels and mother ships."

Breakdown

The breakdown in Somali society can be directly traced back to imperialist interference. The overthrow of the Said Barre dictatorship in 1991 meant that Somalia had no effective government until 2006 when the forces of the Islamic Courts Union, backed by Somalian businessmen, succeeded in ousting warlords from Mogadishu and the outlines of a stable government began to appear.

They even began to tackle the problem of piracy at the time but were interrupted in this when western governments, aghast at the idea of an Islamic government controlling the coastline so close to major supply routes, lined up behind a US-sponsored invasion from Ethiopia.

Like much of US foreign policy in recent years they have now managed to bring about exactly the situation they have sought to prevent, namely a threat to supply lines. And the problem is getting worse.

In response to the hijacking of the Sirius Star an unseemly scramble among the world's big powers has broken out to decide who will control this vital shipping lane. Russia has talked about reopening the Soviet-era base of Aden and even putting ground forces into Somalia. The EU has sent a joint naval command into waters outside the EU for the first time ever.

Japan, with the world's second largest navy, is debating a bill in the Diet that would authorise the use of force in the region. India has sent a warship, the INS Tabar, into the area which clashed with pirates last week. The US has just recently set up a separate Africa Command as part of its reorganisation of its military. Fighting piracy is seen as one of its main priorities.

However these measures alone will not effectively combat piracy. At the moment there are 14 Nato warships off the coast of Somalia trying to cover an area 2.5 million square kilometres in size with over 20,000 ships passing through it annually. This illustrates the extent of the problem.

In reality a long lasting solution can only be reached where the poverty of the local people is addressed through real development of their economies and the waters policed by the countries of the area that have stable, legitimate government. Capitalism has completely failed to provide either of these things in the region.

Only when foreign interference in these countries ends and the enormous potential wealth and resources are controlled by the working peoples of the region in a socialist confederation can the problems of poverty, war and piracy truly be overcome.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 26 November 2008:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Darling's prescription... It's spend, spend, spend on the banks... but cuts, cuts, cuts for the NHS

Top-up payments for private health care another step towards two-tier National Health


Environment and socialism

Socialist 'deal' for environment needed

Campaign Against Climate Change march


Socialist Party editorial

Alistair Darling's pre Budget Report: Pain now, pay later


Unison witchhunt

Activists discuss how to reclaim Unison

Meeting pledges to fight witch-hunt

Unison leadership takeover Newham branch


Socialist Party workplace news

Manchester: No redundancies at IMI!

Strike saves jobs at Fiddlers Ferry

Organise to save jobs


Anti-racism

BNP membership list: A weak divided party exposed

New Labour hypocrisy on racism

Youth Against Racism gig


Socialist Party campaigns

Campaigning to save post offices

Rover's ex-workers wage cut scandal


Socialist Party feature

China's food contamination crisis deepens


Socialist Party women

Defend abortion rights


Comment

Art and revolution


International socialist news and analysis

Somalia piracy - a consequence of western powers' intervention

France: Education strikes on the agenda


 

Home   |   The Socialist 26 November 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Somalia:

triangleMigrants flee horrors created by capitalism

triangle'I can be a voice for youth and the Somali community'

triangleThe socialist interview

US:

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

triangleJoin the Orgreave Halloween rally

triangleTheresa May, Frida Kahlo and turning women into wares

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2