The story of Pirates in the 21st Century: Somalia

Somali whom many of our look at the map to remember where is it, is on the agenda with it’s sea pirates the last few years. Somalia is a very strategic region that keep under Suez, Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. This must have been the reason of this story of the prates!

Somalia which 95% of it’s people is Muslim was part of Ethiopia in the first years of meeting with Islam. In fact, the first Muslims in Mecca who escaped from oppression took refuge with the Christian King Necashi in this lands. Since the 1500s, this area entered the Ottoman rule. In 1882 British occupied Egypt and Suez which are the most important way of overseas trade. In 1884 North of Today Somalia seized by the British, South of it captured by Italians in 1887. The territories which was divided into two parts as British and Italian Somali gained it’s independence only in 1960, and Somali Republic was founded. 1960s were a period that accelerated the cold war and started the Soviet Union landing on the warm seas. In 1969, socialist general Muhammed Siyad Berri came to power with a military coup. Berri developed an understanding of socialism according to his own and obliged using of the Latin alphabet instead of Arabic script. When Soviet supported Ethiopia during Ogaden War in 1977 – 1978, he was on strained terms with the Russians. Due to his heavy pressure and persecution, a portion of the population was forced to emigrate to Ethiopia. With the support of the United States, Islamist Alliance Group became the largest opposition movement in the country. Of long fight turned to armed conflicts in the beginning of 1991, and Berri fled the country. However, after this year also, a civil war began between tribes, such as Darod, Haviya and Ishaak.

In February 1992, the United Nations assigned 500 soldiers to ensure peace in Somalia.

In February 1992, the United Nations assigned 500 soldiers to ensure peace in Somalia. In December of the same year, U.S. Marine Corps subtracted Somali and occurred severe clashes between supporters of Mohammed Farah Aid and U.S. armies. Then, General Cevik Bir from Turkiye was brought to commander of UN peacekeepers (UNOSOM), contributed 34 countries. In October 1993, 19 U.S. soldiers were killed when their helicopters are shot down in Mogadishu in an operation that is organized by the United States as independent from the UN. In March 1994 the U.S. has decided to withdraw. Years after, Somalia affair was the subject of the book of the American journalist Mark Bowden’s ‘Black Hawk down: A Story of Modern War’. Then, a movie were taken by Gladiator’s director Ridley Scott supported by the U.S. Department of Defense in 2001.

In March 1995 the UN troops leaved Somalia. Internal conflict has continued for years. In June 2006, the country’s largest Sunni Muslim group, the Union of Islamic Courts dominated in Mogadishu and began to check Somalia‘s southern region. The beginning of 2007, Ethiopia military forces whom supported by the West entered to the north of the country and seized some regions in the hands of the Union of Islamic Courts. In the same year, al-Qaeda’s second man Ayman Al Zawahiri has issued a call for assistance to Islamic jihadists. The United States which thought that Islamist groups will be come under the influence of al-Qaeda, brought together many Islamist and pro-Western groups, and came to a composition with the Union of Islamic Courts. While Ethiopian troops retreat in January of 2009, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed who is one of the leaders of the Union of Islamic Courts was elected President.  Sharif Ahmed made his the first foreign trip to Turkey in April and met with President Abdullah Gul. The same month, the new Somali Parliament decided to switch to the Islamic Sharia in the country.

Sharif Ahmed made his the first foreign trip to Turkey in April and met with President Abdullah Gul. The same month, the new Somali Parliament decided to switch to the Islamic Sharia in the country.

Currently, the country’s northern area which is overlooking the Gulf of Aden as Somaliland, it’s northeast region as Puntland, Baioda region which is North West of Mogadishu and supports from Ethiopia as Transitional Federal Government under the leadership of Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed, Mogadishu and its environs with the south coast of Somalia as the Union of Islamic Courts are politically fragmented.

In previous years, piracy in the sea of Somali were held on the shores of the capital Mogadishu. Pirates which using high mobility boats were receiving tributes from the fishing boats that hunting ban in the region. Since 2007, the Union of Islamic Courts have prevented piracy activities in this area. Upon this, after 2008, Puntland region which is the end of the horn of Africa has become the most important area for pirates.  Pirates are not just only 5-10 persons armed groups as we have seen in television news. Behind them are very large and organized structure, such as groups who are gather intelligence information in the ports of Mogadishu and Djibouti about international trade ships; people who are conduct negotiations with the owners of these ships and investors who provide logistical support to armed groups. The ransom is levied from ships between 500 thousand to 1.5 million dollars by the prates and 50% of ransom is given to armed groups, 30% of its is given to those who provide logistical support and intelligence, and 20% of its is given to their families of prates injured or killed.

United Task Force that also Turkiye contributed with TCG Giresun Ship, is difficult to control more than 3 thousand kilometers of Somali coast. Pirates can move very fast with Russian AK-47 Kalashnikovs and RPG7 rockets in which their hands dated from the civil war. Large fishing ships are used as moving base by pirates and attacks are organized by boats which have powerful engine. Often, the attacks on a ship are being carried out within minutes, and military ships can be notified about event after the pirates seized the ship. A portion of the ships under attack prefers to solve the problem by trying to negotiate with pirates rather than to be give notice to security forces, due to insurance costs and may be given damage personnel and ship.

According to military sources which have served in Somalia, after 2008, increasing piracy activities is provoking by the United States. In the region, CIA, Mossad and MI6 offices are operating very intense. U.S., UK and Israel alliance both constitute a ground suitable for the development of the pirates, and make plans to transfer to the region some powers which will withdraw from Iraq in 2010.

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