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Posted on on February 28th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (

Somalia interests us for quite some time. While other African States came into existence in the post W0rld War II decolonization process within the lines established by the colonial power, and with an inherited administrative system, and  for the better or worse,they  managed somehow to make a go with it, Somalia was actually created by incorporating different colonial systems into one attempted State that had thus many added different fault lines besides the usual divisions into tribal loyalties – in land and trans-boundary. Here you have even different colonial languages and no single Administrative Center.

Being a failed State near the Sea, and having had to start to fight illegal fishing that was interfering with the local fishermen, fighting fishermen started by safeguarding their tribal waters and ended up turning to piracy when this evolved as a profitable secondary line of business.

While the outside World, after having invaded the Somalia region in the past as the Horn of Africa was suspected of becoming an Al Kaeda hub in the post 9/11 era, now it is the piracy pest that endangers World Shipping in the  whole Indian Ocean region stretching from the Maldives to Seychelles and Madagascar and the shores of the Arabian Peninsula and East Africa.

We will start by looking at the news, then we intend to introduce a book that we feel ought to be obligatory reading for all those that gather at meetings that deal with Somalia. Not having read the proposed book, we see that much of what is being released from the new Conferences on Somalia, does not live up to what it will take to have an effect in that part of the World.


From the Statement by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom at the Security Council Briefing on Somalia Piracy – 22 February 2012:

Mr President,

I thank the Secretary-General for his report and both Patricia O’Brien and Yuri Fedotov for their comprehensive briefing this morning. We are grateful for the work of the UN and its agencies on counter-piracy programmes, and particularly the efforts being undertaken by UNODC and UNDP with States in the region and in Somalia itself.

The United Kingdom remains strongly committed to the fight against piracy. We believe it is vital to break the Piracy business model. We need a comprehensive approach that tackles piracy directly and its root causes on land. Piracy will be one of the main focuses of discussion at the London Conference on Somalia which my Prime Minister will host tomorrow.

Despite the significant reduction in the number of successful attacks in the last year, the threat of piracy remains serious. We strongly support efforts to bolster prosecution and prison capacity in regional states and in Somalia. Several states already play a vital role in bringing suspected pirates to justice, supported by the international community.

The report highlights serious capacity constraints in Somalia. Prosecution by regional states has, therefore, been instrumental in the efforts to counter-piracy. We believe this continues to be the most effective way to prosecute pirates over the short term. We support, in principle, the report’s implementation proposals to increase capacity through ‘specialised anti-piracy courts’ in Somalia but continuing our work to build the capacity of regional states also remains essential.

Mr President,

The Report reaffirms the preference of regional States that we should build capacity in a way that does not prevent facilities and expertise being used to prosecute in other areas of the law. We agree that this would help create a more sustainable solution to the piracy problem.

A long term solution that enables Somali pirates to be prosecuted and imprisoned in Somalia is necessary. The report notes the preference of the Somali authorities for new courts to be established within Somalia rather than extra-territorially. This approach is in line with the existing work of UNODC and UNDP to build capacity in Puntland and Somaliland and we fully support that approach.

Mr President,

The report rightly highlights the problem of prison capacity. In this regard, we welcome recent efforts to ensure that convicted pirates serve out their sentences in Somalia, and in particular the commitments made by Puntland and Somaliland for post-trial transfer. We hope that agreement on the legal and practical framework for transferring pirates to UN-constructed prisons in Somalia is reached quickly. We are grateful for the commitment of Seychelles to transfer convicted pirates to Somaliland.


Mr President   ……. The threat of piracy, the effects of the famine in Somalia, and terrorism are all symptoms of one central problem: The breakdown of the Somali state. Tackling piracy and its causes cannot be separated from this. We need to tackle the factors on land that feed the piracy at sea including deterrence, security, rule of law, and development.  It is crucial that the international community mobilizes in an integrated way.


And the UK is ready to take on the problem in the name of the better organized world – but it will be able to do so only after the Presidential elections in the US.

It cannot be ecpected that President Obama, and his Administration, can take up the demon of Afro-Arabian pirates, or the undoing of the Islamic world by Islamists and pseudo-Islamists bent on revenge-taking against former colonial powers, and against their own brethren governments – something that some may call a late awakening of pent hatred with historic roots.

Building towards an involvement in the greater region that stretches from the Maldives, the Seychelles, to Aden and the Horn  of Africa’s Greater Somalia, the UK follows up with a call for joint action towards the later part of November 2012 – that is after the US elections:

1.    On February 22, 2012, the Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK  announced a Conference on Somalia to be held in London on November 23, 2012.

The conference will be hosted at Lancaster House. The conference will be opened  Prime Minister Cameron, with key note speeches from; US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton; UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; President of Somalia, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed;  President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni; Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi; French Foreign Minister, Allan Juppé; President of Kenya, Mwai Kibaki; Turkish Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davuto?lu; and Qatari Foreign Affairs Minister, Hamad Bin Jassim. Opening remarks will be released through a press pool organised by the BBC and CNN.

2.    After the early morning opening remarks, the conference will be split into three sessions: political process, security, and stability and recovery. The conference will end same day at 15.30.

3. The UK’s primary objective in Somalia is to seek a lasting political solution that will bring peace and security to the country, and reduce threats to the UK. With engagement from attendees at the highest level, the conference will agree a series of practical measures to support Somalia.

4.    The Somalia Conference will be followed by press conferences at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, led by the Prime Minister with statements from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon; Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping; the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton; and President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.


What above means is that the PIRACY hurts us and we are ready to put the Somalis in jail for being pirates – how many of them? Why are they pirates? How many more parts of African States could fall off their own structures into failed regions because they actually never belonged into States that the UN designed for them based on foreign administrative concepts?


Brigadier  General Dr. Walter Feichtinger is Head of the Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management (IFC), Austrian National Defense Academy. With him there is a group of other military scientists and academic social scientists and historians, that look at Peace as something that is not self evident but rather has to be groomed.

First I saw an April 2010 booklet of the IFK titled “PIRATES AND ISLAMISTS – WHO IS INTERESTED IN SOMALI?”

Then a full volume, Volume #^ in a series, came to my attention when I went to a meeting of the IFK.  The Volume is in German and the title simple – “SOMALIA.”

The authors are listed as Walter Feichinger and Gerald Hainzl as editors, and inside are chapters by many other researchers: Volker Mathies, Thomas Zittelman, Markus Virgil Hoehne, David Petrovic, Georg Sebastian Holzer,Martin Pabst, Thomas Peyker, Frank Reininghaus, Bruno Guenter Hofbauer, Stefan Lampl,  and Annette  Weber, All of this in just 299 pages.  This volume was released the end of 2011 by the Boehlau Publishrs of Vienna, Koeln, and Weimar.

Comments in the book that convinced us to recommend the reading of this multi-source study before one tacles the problems od Somalia:

1. Looking at the Al-Shabab fighters – the “Radical” groups look for their base in religion, but are not religiously motivated. They rather see in religion the path to obtain power.

2. The Republic of Somaliland is completely independent since 1991 and like it this way, Puntland is also independent of the rest, but they would prefer to be part of a Somalia if that eill be possible some day.

What still carries the name of Somalia is the city of Mogadishu where sits a UN sponsored government, and the rest that is outside any government ruled land.

3. The old division of the Horn included the rule of Ethiopia 0ver Somali Ogaden, the UK held onto the North East Somaliland and the North-East parts of Kenya that is populated Somalis. then there were an italian Somaliland and a French Somaliland that stretched into Djibouti which is now separate of Somalia. All this developed a North-South antagonism and an Ethiopian-Somali conflict/

4. Between 1963 – 1977 there was a US-Aethiopia alliance that brought to life a Somali-USSR counter-alliance. With the Aetiopian revolution of 1974 and the establishing of a marxist regime there, this turned the US towards Somalia in order to balance the Soviets. It would be unrealistic to think that any of this presented real interest in the Somalis – and don’t wonder thus that they were ready to ditch any foreign power as a result.

5. Somalia’s coast was seen a fre for all and hundreds of illegal fishing boats operated in its waters all the time. The Somalis developed a system to get rid of some og these boats and saw that by robbing those boats good money can be made beyond fishing. With the backing of local War Loards, Piracy was thus born.

6. In the 1990s,a clan leader, Mohamad Farah Aidid thought a return to the idilic past when pastoralists lived in a reasonable democracy. The democratic autonomy ideal returned as a justification for violence.

7. There are 8-9 million people in the Somaliland, Puntland, the remaining Somalia. There are further 4 million people in the neughboring counties of Ethiopia, Djibuti and Kenia, and an additional 1 million in a further away diaspora that stretches to Europe and America, australia, New Zealand, and Asia. some have done very well in the diaspora and support the people back home.When they come home they demand modern conditions, and Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland sports modern establishments. There is no way that the Diaspora – village oriented – will agree to the unification of the separate parts of Somalia. The West and Africa will have to accept the notion that you cannot force people to live in one country if they feel that this is nottheir heritage.

8. The one year that the anti-piratery ATALANTA project was active in the waters of Somalia, made it clear that the PAG – Pirate Action Group needs a new set of rules of engagement. Take their fish catch and their food and water beyond what is needed to get back to the nearest shore — do not take them as prisoners – you might not know what to do with them when you haul them in.

9. A pirate is a pirate only when he commits an act of piracy = otherwise he might just be a fisherman or transfer refugees. The same person might have different roles on a given day,

10. Most African States include parts that would prefer independence or at least a “leave me alone approach.” Taking for granted  the secession attitude of the African Union will do nothing for the struggling Somalis who in major part where basically camel herders living in an un-hospitable dry land as nomads. The clashes with agriculturalists where normal – clashing with unwanted government is worse. The colonial powers did not touch this aspect of the local life as they were interested only in the shore areas as bases for navigation and trade.

I will stop here in order not to write a new version of the book – will rather recommend – you read it by yourselves.


The other books in the Walter Feichtinger / Boehlau IFC  series so far are:

#1 –  Islam, Islamism, and Extremism. (This book was seemingly withdrawn)

#2 –  Private Security- and Military-Corporations. (These as it happened in Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegowina, Afghanistan, They fly planes, interrogate prisoners etc. – but at what price?)

#3 –  crisis management in Africa.

#4 –  No Enemy in Sight. (This is a book about wars inside society rather then with a foreign enemy.)

#5 –  Global Security – EUropean Potentials. (see the novel spelling when dealing with the European Union!)

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