Friday, October 03, 2008

Taking Kickbacks From Pirates

I reported on Wednesday that President Abdullahi Yusuf of Somalia had appealed to the Russians and the Americans — and anyone else, really — to help him control the pirates off his coast.

Now it appears that Mr. Yusuf is following the example of St. Augustine: “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”

Common sense would expect the “president” of a failed state like Somalia to generate as many income streams as he could: UN aid, Western charity, bribes, kickbacks… and payments from pirates.

According to the Somali Press Review:

Somalia: Report Implicates Somali President in Piracy

London, October, 28 (Somali Press Review)—A new report from Chatham House on the Somali pirates has implicated Somali president in the surge in piracy off the coast of Somalia. The report coincides with the ongoing standoff between the US warship and Somali pirates who seized the Ukrainian cargo vessel carrying tanks and other weapons.

The report is an in-depth analysis of the threat Somali pirates pose not only to cargo ships but also to ships carrying relief supplies for drought stricken and war ravaged people in Somalia.
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“Money [from piracy] will go to [president] Yusuf as a gesture of goodwill to a regional leader,” Roger Middleton, the report writer quoted an expert on Somalia as saying although the Somali president thanked the French president, Sarkozy, for the French navy’s action to capture Somali pirates now on trial in Paris.

The Somali president’s remarks further angered pirates who overwhelmed Puntland security structure and caused more mayhem on the high seas. Somali Press Review asked Roger Middleton of Chatham House’s Africa Programme, if there was solid evidence showing the Somali president’s pecuniary association with the pirates. “Because of the lack of stability in Somalia it is very hard to trace payments,” Roger Middleton said. The Somali presidency has not so far challenged the quote in the Chatham House report.

Previous posts about the Somali pirates:

2005 Nov 5 Barbary Pirates Redux
    8 Update on the Somali Pirates
    14 The Mother Ship
2006 Mar 24 The Jamaica-Somalia Connection
  Apr 8 The Taliban, Somali-Style
  Jul 5 Pirates in the Strait
2007 Jun 5 Somali Pirates Take Danish Hostages
    6 The Territorial Waters of a Failed State
    8 Q-Ships for the Somali Coast?
    11 Pirates Demand Ransom for Danish Seamen
    13 Q-Ships, Pirates, and the Waters off Somalia
    25 The Danica White Runs Out of Food and Water
  Jul 11 Gossip-Mongers in Denmark
    21 The Danica White: Eight Weeks and Counting
  Aug 22 The Danica White Has Been Released
  Nov 24 Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Snaps
2008 Apr 21 A Spanish Danica White?
    29 Reputed $1.2 Million Paid to Free Spanish Hostages...
  May 2 A No-Pursuit Policy for Pirates
  Aug 23 Targeting the Somali Pirates
    23 More on Task Force 150
  Sep 8 Danish Ship Averts Pirate Attacks
    11 Those Undeterred Somali Pirates
    26 The Russians are Chasing the Somali Pirates
    26 A Quarrel Among Pirates
  Oct 1 Somali Government Asks for Russian Help Against Pirates

Hat tip: Henrik.