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What is the Primary Etiology of Contemporary Somali Piracy and Can the Current U.S. Counter-Piracy Strategy be Effective without Addressing it

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Technical Report,11 Aug 2014,12 Jun 2015

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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In 1991, Somalia collapsed into civil war. A lack of governmental regulations and control of territorial waters ensued. Nations blatantly disregarded Somali sovereignty and encroached on its territorial waters and fishing rights. Somalis, who depended on the sea for their livelihood, viewed this encroachment helplessly. Small groups began to rob the more vulnerable foreign national vessels that stole their fish. Eventually, Somalis recognized that piracy for ransom was a way to make a living. Somewhere along the way, Somalis stopped conducting piracy for social reasons and began to conduct it for economic ones. Twenty years later, Somali piracy has become a multi-million dollar business with economic, political, strategic, and human costs than cannot be ignored. Various militaries, commercial organizations, and non-governmental entities have begun to focus on the problem of modern-day piracy. However, all have approached piracy at its conclusion the attacks at sea. In fact, only one percent of all anti-piracy funds focus on its etiologies. Many believe piracy can be defeated without addressing the causes and drivers. However, to be successful, a holistic approach must first determine the true causes of contemporary piracy before we can propose solutions.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Sociology and Law
  • Government and Political Science

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