The Europeans aren't going to help the President in Afghanistan and they won't do anything meaningful in Somalia either (though they will undoubtedly insist on having a voice in what others do).
EU Launching Anti-Piracy Naval Campaign
December 8, 2008 2:18 a.m. EST
The European Union is launching its first anti-piracy naval operation on Monday to prevent sea vessels being hijacked near the coasts of Somalia. The EU is sending six warships and three reconnaissance planes to the Horn of Africa on Monday to what has become the world's most dangerous stretch of water. The ambitious operation aims to cover an area of a million square kilometers, where more than 100 vessels have been attacked by pirates since the beginning of the year.
The joint naval patrol will include vessels from Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Spain and Sweden. The force will be taking over from four NATO vessels in the area but it will probably not be fully operational until the end of the month. EU foreign ministers will endorse rules of engagement on Monday.
Picture released by the German Bundeswehr on March 4, 2009 shows Bundeswehr soldiers approaching pirates in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia on March 3, 2009, after frigate Rheinland-Pfalz (background) had received a distress call from a German-owned container ship saying she was under fire from pirates armed with bazookas and machine guns. The frigate then dispatched a helicopter which together with another chopper from the US naval ship Monterey stopped the attempted attack by firing warning shots. German soldiers boarded the pirate vessel and took the nine into custody, the German military said.
On January 8, 2009, at the United States Fifth Fleet headquarters in Manama, Bahrain, Vice Admiral William E. Gortney ,USN, announced the formation of CTF-151 to combat the piracy threat off Somalia, with Rear Admiral Terence E. McKnight in command. The USS San Antonio (LPD-17) was designated as the first flagship of Combined Task Force 151, serving as an afloat forward staging base (AFSB) for the following force elements:
* 14-member U.S. Navy visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) team.
* 8-member United States Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment (LEDET) 405.
* Scout Sniper Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26 MEU) cross-decked from the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7).
* 3rd platoon of the 26 MEU 'Golf' Infantry Company, a military police detachment, and intelligence personnel.
* Fleet Surgical Team 8 with level-two surgical capability to deal with trauma, surgical, critical care and medical evacuation needs.
* Approximately 75 Marines with six AH-1W Super Cobra and two UH-1N Huey helicopters from the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264 (HMM-264) of the 26th MEU cross-decked from the USS Iwo Jima.
* Three HH-60H helicopters from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 3 (HS-3) cross-decked from the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71).
Initially, CTF-151 consisted of the San Antonio, USS Mahan (DDG-72), and HMS Portland (F79), with additional warships expected to join this force.
I certainly wish you well, but strongly believe the United States should focus on its own interests, and leave the rest to you.
Sounds like the approach European countries have favoured when it comes to demands for committing more troops to Iraq or Afghanistan. I guess I can agree with that.
In practical terms, it would indeed be difficult to handle this as a law enforcement issue or treat pirates as domestic criminals or uniformed combatants. However, I'm not sure that this is what's currently happening. I would argue that it's telling that European countries have, in the context of the current anti-piracy efforts, changed the rules of engagement that were in place for quite a while.
Whether or not the participation of European countries will have much of an impact at all remains to be seen, of course. Nevertheless, I absolutely agree with your assessment that the focus should be on an active protection of ships in the area rather than on trying to enforce some kind of law or regulations for the entire area.
Personally, I would support a full scale attack on the pirates shore support, the instant execution of all captured pirates, and the immediate sinking of all pirate vessels.
How, praytell, would you go about the "full scale attack.."; "instant execution.."; and "immediate sinking.." bit?? Easy to say... hard to do. How would you deal with the consequences?
I'm not aware of any meaningful change in the rules of engagement that the European Powers (apart from France) have applied here. My impression is that they have asserted that this will of legal necessity be a police action subject to associated rules. That would likely mean (for example) the imposition of some burden of proof and legal magistrate review before (say) going after a mother ship suspected of supporting small boats observed in piracy or boarding attempts. While that may give those involved some sense of purpose and importance, it is not likely to significantly disrupt the piracy business. In short it is not indicative of a serious effort to suppress the piracy.
Evidently we agree that some international effort at escorting convoys might prove effective, however.
well georgeob, we could follow ron pauls' advice and have congress hire privateers, on the other hand we could (internationally) establish escorted sea lanes and blow out of the water any non-authorized craft.
just my opinion.
"Full scale attack" means that we use naval gunfire, naval aircraft, and if needed a landing force to totally destroy any support facilities that are on shore and assisting the pirates.
"Instant execution" means exactly what it sounds like.
If any pirates are captured at sea then they are immediately executed by either a firing squad or hanging.
"immediate sinking" also means exactly what it says.
ANY pirate vessel captured, anything from a speedboat to a mother ship, would be immediately sunk by naval gunfire, and the crew of those vessels would be left to fend for themselves.
If they drown, so what.
The pirates will learn that the world isnt going to screw with them, we are just going to destroy them.
Of course, since most of the world doesnt have the balls to actually carry out this plan, it will never happen.
Do you believe we can reliably locate and target "pirate support facilities" in the urban areas of Somalia and selectively destroy them without widespread destruction? Do you really think the tradeoffs are favorable for putting a U.S. force ashore there?
Would you want your son to be in the "firing squad"?
My recipe would be to blockade Somali ports; cut off international aid; and deal aggressively with pirates vessels caught in the act.