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Somalia,Failed State to Pirate Country

Somalia, Failed State become Pirate Country.

Somalia, officially the Republic of Somalia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Djibouti to the northwest, Kenya on its southwest, the Gulf of Aden with Yemen on its north, the Indian Ocean at its east, and Ethiopia to the west. Somalia’s terrain consists mainly of plateaus, plains, and highlands. The weather is hot throughout the year, except at the higher elevations in the north. Rainfall is sparse, and most of Somalia has a semiarid-to- arid environment. Somalia principally desert area; Somalia faces Natural hazards likes recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer; floods during rainy season.

Somalia situated at The Horn of Africa

Somalia’s long coastline (more than 3,300 kilometers) has been of importance chiefly in permitting trade with the Middle East and the rest of the Horn of Africa. With this geographic ituation, Somalia is facing problems with their desert land, but have advantages in maritime area.

Somalia organized into clan groupings, which are important social units; clan membership plays a central part in Somali culture and politics. Clans are patrilineal and are typically divided into sub-clans, sometimes with many sub-divisions. The Clan structure plays important role in Somalia social and culture. There are 5 main clan in Somalia, Darod, Dir, Hawiye, Isaaq and Rahanweyn. Each clan try to get influence among Somalia government.

Somalia was occupied by Italy and British before they get independent on 1960. Following World War II, Britain retained control of both British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland as protectorates. British Somaliland became independent on June 26, 1960, and the former Italian Somaliland followed on 1 July 1960.On July 1, 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic, albeit within boundaries drawn up by Italy and Britain. On October 21, 1969, in which the Somali Army seized power without encountering armed opposition — essentially a bloodless takeover. The putsch was spearheaded by Major General Mohamed Siad Barre, who at the time commanded the army. Since then, Mohamed Siad Barre became the President of Somalia.

During the Siad Barre regime, Somalia received aid from Denmark, Great Britain, Iraq, Japan, Sweden, USSR and West Germany to develop its fishing industry. Cooperatives had fixed prices for their catch, which was often exported due to the low demand for seafood in Somalia. Aid money improved the ships and supported the construction of maintenance facilities.

Siad Barre took its toughest political stance in the campaign to break down the solidarity of the lineage groups. Tribalism was condemned as the most serious impediment to national unity. To increase production and control over the nomads, the government resettled 140,000 nomadic pastoralists in farming communities and in coastal towns, where the erstwhile herders were encouraged to engage in agriculture and fishing. By dispersing the nomads and severing their ties with the land to which specific clans made collective claim, the government may also have undercut clan solidarity. In many instances, real improvement in the living conditions of resettled nomads was evident, but despite government efforts to eliminate it, clan consciousness as well as a desire to return to the nomadic life persisted.

Siad Barre policy to weakened Clan based community in Somalia, had proven wrong. The disaffection of the Hawiye and their subsequent organized armed resistance eventually caused the regime’s downfall. With worsening conditions in Somalia, rebels of the United Somali Congress (USC) led by Mohamed Farrah Aidid attacked Mogadishu and on January 26, 1991, Barre’s government was taken out of power. While Somalia’s formal judicial system was largely destroyed after the fall of the Siad Barre regime, The fall of Siad Barre regime driven Somalia into Clan-Based Civil war. Many Militia clan based was formed in Somalia.

The various Somali militias had at that point developed into security agencies for hire. Somalia was then arguably partly in a state of anarcho-capitalism, where all services were provided by private ventures.

In May 1991, the northernwestern Somaliland region of Somalia declared its independence. Clan Isaaq dominated governing zone of Somaliland.

The self-proclaimed state took the name Puntland after declaring “temporary” independence in 1998, with the intention that it would participate in any Somali reconciliation to form a new central government.

A third secession occurred in 1998 with the declaration of the state of Jubaland. The territory of Jubaland is now encompassed by the state of Southwestern Somalia and its status is unclear.

A fourth self-proclaimed entity led by the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA) was set up in 1999, along the lines of the Puntland. That “temporary” secession was reasserted in 2002. This led to the autonomy of Southwestern Somalia. The RRA had originally set up an autonomous administration over the Bay and Bakool regions of south and central Somalia in 1999.

Piracy off the Somali coast has threatened international shipping since the beginning of Somalia’s civil war in the early 1990s.Since 2005, many international organizations, including the International Maritime Organization and the World Food Programme, have expressed concern over the rise in acts of piracy.Piracy has contributed to a rise in shipping costs and shipping insurance premiums,and impeded the delivery of food aid shipments. Ninety percent of the World Food Program’s shipments arrive by sea, and ships into this area now require a military escort.

A United Nations report and several news sources have suggested that piracy off the coast of Somalia is caused in part by illegal fishing and the dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters by foreign vessels that have, according to Somali fishermen, severely constrained the ability of locals to earn a living and forced many to turn to piracy instead.Other articles allege that 70 percent of the local coastal communities “strongly support the piracy as a form of national defense of the country’s territorial waters”, and that the pirates believe they are protecting their fishing grounds and exacting justice and compensation for the marine resources stolen.Some pirates have suggested that, in the absence of an effective national coast guard following the outbreak of the Somali Civil War and the subsequent disintegration of the Armed Forces, they became pirates in order to protect their waters. This belief is also reflected in the names taken on by some of the pirate networks, such as the National Volunteer Coast Guard (NVCG).However, as piracy has become substantially more lucrative in recent years, some reports are suggesting that financial gain is now the primary motive for Somali pirates.

After the fall of Siad Barre, foreign trawlers began illegally fishing Somalia’s seas, with an estimated $300 million of tuna, shrimp, and lobster being taken each year, depleting stocks previously available to local fishermen. Through interception with speedboats, Somali fishermen tried to either dissuade the dumpers and trawlers or levy a “tax” on them as compensation. “It’s almost like a resource swap, Somalis collect up to $100 million a year from pirate ransoms off their coasts and the Europeans and Asians poach around $300 million a year in fish from Somali waters.” The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) issued a report in 2005 stating that, between 2003 and 2004, Somalia lost about $100 million in revenue due to illegal tuna and shrimp fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone by foreign trawlers.

The problem of overfishing and illegal fishing in Somali waters is a very serious one, and does affect the livelihoods of people inside Somalia. The dumping of toxic waste on Somalia’s shores is a very serious issue, which will continue to affect people in Somalia long after the war has ended, and piracy is resolved. To lure fish to their traps, foreign trawlers reportedly also use fishing equipment under prohibition such as nets with very small mesh sizes and sophisticated underwater lighting systems.

After the fall of the Barre regime, the income from fishing decreased due to the Somali Civil War. Somalia’s long, remote shoreline was used as a dump site for the disposal of toxic waste. The huge waves which battered northern Somalia after the tsunami are believed to have stirred up tons of nuclear and toxic waste that might have been dumped illegally in the country by foreign firms. The European Green Party followed up these revelations by presenting before the press and the European Parliament in Strasbourg copies of contracts signed by two European companies, the Italian Swiss firm, Achair Partners, and an Italian waste broker, Progresso and representatives of the then “President” of Somalia, Ali Mahdi Mohamed, to accept 10 million tonnes of toxic waste in exchange for $80 million (then about £60 million). According to reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the waste has resulted in far higher than normal cases of respiratory infections, mouth ulcers and bleeding, abdominal haemorrhages and unusual skin infections among many inhabitants of the areas around the northeastern towns of Hobyo and Benadir on the Indian Ocean coast, diseases consistent with radiation sickness. UNEP adds that the current situation along the Somali coastline poses a very serious environmental hazard not only in Somalia, but also in the eastern Africa sub-region. Toxic waste was first dumped in Somalia in the late 1980s, but accelerated sharply during the civil war which followed the 1991 overthrow of the late dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The dumped materials included radioactive uranium, lead, cadmium, mercury and industrial, hospital, chemical and various other toxic wastes.

The increasing threat posed by piracy has also caused concern in India since most of its shipping trade routes pass through the Gulf of Aden. Some reports have also accused certain government officials in Somalia of complicity with the pirates,with authorities from the Galmudug administration in the north-central Hobyo district reportedly attempting to use pirate gangs as a bulwark against Islamist insurgents from the nation’s southern conflict zones.Both the former and current administrations of the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia appear to be more actively involved in combating piracy. By the first half of 2010, these increased policing efforts by Somali government authorities on land and international naval vessels at sea reportedly contributed to a drop in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden from 86 a year prior to 33, forcing pirates to shift attention to other areas such as the Somali Basin and the wider Indian Ocean. According to Ecoterra, as of mid-November 2010, more than 500 crew members and at least 31 foreign vessels remain in the hands of Somali pirates.As of 11 December 2010, Somali pirates are holding at least 35 ships with more than 650 hostages.

Also, there was no coast guard to protect against fishing trawlers from other countries illegally fishing and big companies dumping waste which killed fish in Somali waters. This led to the erosion of the fish stock. Local fishermen started to band together to protect their resources. Due to the clan-based nature of Somali society, the lack of a central government and Somalia’s strategic location at the Horn of Africa, conditions were ripe for the growth of piracy in the early 1990s.

Precise data on the current economic situation in Somalia is scarce but with an estimated per capita GDP of $600 per year, it remains one of the world’s poorest countries. Millions of Somalis depend on food aid and in 2008, according to the World Bank, as much as 73% of the population lived on a daily income below $2. These poverty factors and the lucrative success of many hijacking operations have drawn a number of young men toward gangs of pirates, whose wealth and strength often make them part of the local social and economic elite. Abdi Farah Juha who lives in Garoowe (100 miles from the sea) told the BBC, “They have money; they have power and they are getting stronger by the day.They wed the most beautiful girls; they are building big houses; they have new cars; new guns.”

Some pirates are former fishermen, whose livelihoods were hurt by foreign ships illegally fishing in Somali waters. Most of the pirates, observers say, are not former fishermen. After seeing the profitability of piracy, since ransoms are usually paid, warlords began to facilitate pirate activities, splitting the profits with the pirates. Pirates even attack ships carrying humanitarian aid. In most of the hijackings, the bandits have not harmed their prisoners.

The Transitional Federal Government has made some efforts to combat piracy, occasionally allowing foreign naval vessels into Somali territorial waters. However, more often than not, foreign naval vessels chasing pirates were forced to break off when the pirates entered Somali territorial waters. In 2008, the UN passed a resolution allowing international warships to pursue pirates into Somali territorial waters. The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on November 20, 2008, proposed by Britain, introducing tougher sanctions against Somalia over the country’s failure to prevent a surge in sea piracy. The Somali almost powerless to stop piracy. The government of Puntland has made more progress in combating piracy, evident in recent interventions.

Many pirates are 20–35 years old and come from the region of Puntland, in northeastern Somalia. Estimates that there are at least five pirate gangs and a total of 1,000 armed men.  According to a BBC report, the pirates can be divided into three main categories:

  • Local Somali fishermen, considered the brains of the pirates’ operations due to their skill and knowledge of the sea. Many think that foreign boats have no right to cruise next to the shore and destroy their boats.
  • Ex-militiamen, who previously fought for the local clan warlords, or ex-military from the former Barre government used as the muscle.
  • Technical experts, who operate equipment such as GPS devices.

There have been both positive and negative effects of the pirates’ economic success. Local residents have complained that the presence of so many armed men makes them feel insecure, and that their free spending ways cause wild fluctuations in the local exchange rate.

On the other hand, many other residents appreciate the rejuvenating effect that the pirates’ on-shore spending and re-stocking has had on their impoverished towns, a presence which has often provided jobs and opportunity when there were none. Entire hamlets have in the process been transformed into veritable boomtowns, with local shop owners and other residents using their gains to purchase items such as generators — “allowing full days of electricity, once an unimaginable luxury”. The report states that the number of pirates could double by 2016, increasing by 400 each year. This is being fuelled by attractive financial incentives with Somali pirates earning up to US$79,000/year; equating to almost 150 times their country’s national average wage.

The Somalian piracy appears to have a positive impact on the problem of overfishing in Somali waters by foreign vessels, as a comparison has been made with the situation in Tanzania further to the south, which suffers from the same problem, and also lacks the means to enforce the protection and regulation of its territorial waters. There, the catches have dropped to dramatic low levels, whereas in Somalia they have risen back to more acceptable levels since the beginning of the piracy.

The purpose of piracy is to get ransom money for release of the crew, ship, and cargo. Pirates’ income from ransom has been estimated to be about 39 million euro (about $58 million) in 2009 and $238 million in 2010.However, indirect costs of piracy are much higher and estimated to be between $7 to 12 billion as they also include insurance, naval support, legal proceedings, re-routing of slower ships, and individual protective steps taken by ship-owners.Further, piracy in Somalia leads to a decrease of revenue for Egypt as fewer ships use the Suez canal (estimated loss of about $642 million), impedes trade with a number of countries such as Kenya and Yemen, and is detrimental to tourism and fishing in the Seychelles.

This situation, Piracy, Civil War, has made Somalia become state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory; non-provision of public services; widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations; sharp economic decline. Somalia is the highest Rank (No.1) in Failed States Index published annually by the Fund for Peace and the magazine Foreign Policy.

The Solution for piracy problems needs to implement as soon as possible. In November 2008, It called on the United Nations to co-ordinate anti-piracy patrols, and suggested the possibility of a naval blockade of Somalia and monitoring all vessels leaving the country’s coastline. However, NATO responded by saying that it would be impossible to effectively blockade Somalia’s vast coast. It also suggested that all home ports of Somali pirates be blockaded, or that ground forces be inserted in Somalia itself to destroy pirate bases.

Long-term solution to Somali piracy is political securitisation. Governments would have to employ socioeconomic measures such as poverty alleviation and good governance in order to deal with piracy (and even terrorism) effectively. In particular, a sustainable solution requires the establishment not only of effective governance but also the rule of law, reliable security agencies, and alternative employment opportunities for the Somali people.

Conclusion :

Somalia is Clan Based State, had long coastline (more than 3,300 kilometers) has been of importance chiefly in permitting trade with the Middle East and the rest of the Horn of Africa. Long coastline make Somalia economy depends on Fishery and Maritime industry. Somalia once was a good and stabil country under Mohammed Siad Barre. But, Siad Barre represive policy on Clan Based community made him lost his power. After the downfall of General Siad Barre on 1991, Somalia become an unstable state, then Clan Based Civil War happened in Somalia until now. Fishing industry that become resources of States economy also get impact from Siad Barre downfall.

New government unable to prevent Illegal Fishing and Toxic Dumping from foreign country had destroyed Fishing Industry in Somalia. Many fisheries unable to get fish, shrimp, to fulfill their economic needs. Then, Militia and fisheries combined together to make a pirated clan based group. Now, Somalia Pirates has been the problems for International Maritime safety. The failed states that can’t provide job in Somalia had turn their people into a criminal, the pirates.

Sumber :


One response

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    July 20, 2013 at 12:42 am

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