Friday, April 20, 2012

Pirates From Somalia, Weapons From Libya

So along with the coup in Mali, it looks like we can add another unintended consequence to the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi in Libya: better armed Somali pirates.

According to this report on the website of Foreign Policy, since the fall of his regime, weapons that formerly belonged to Gadhafi's military have been flowing out of Libya.  And some of those arms seem to have made their way to Somalia though a circuitous route moving first through arms merchants located in Sierra Leone and Liberia on Africa's west coast, before traveling east to Somalia.

And, sadly, we're not just talking about the ubiquitous AK-47 here; according to FP, based on research conducted by the African Centre for the Study and Research on Terrorism, the weapons procured by the Somali pirates include anti-ship mines and Stinger hand-held anti-aircraft missiles.  Weapons of that magnitude could give the pirates more ability to fight back against the international navy patrols who have been trying to tamp down piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean to the east of Somalia.

So far, attacks by Somali pirates are said to be down this year from last.  The question now is whether the pirates will start to feel bolder thanks to all these new weapons at their disposal.
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