Where have all the Somali pirates gone?

From prosperity to devastation


The fate of Somalia is familiar to most twentieth-century African countries. Once an Anglo-Italian colony, the state gained its independence in 1960 and experienced a coup d'état and military dictatorship in 1969.


The country's new leader, General Mohammed Barre, acted wisely: he announced the construction of socialism and came under the wing of the USSR. Soviet specialists modernized the country. Agriculture, industry, roads, schools and hospitals were built. The once impoverished country was transformed and was given hope for a happy future.


But by 1977 Mohammed became arrogant, declared war on Soviet-friendly Ethiopia, and lost Soviet support. The regime itself could not survive. A civil war broke out, and by 1991 Somalia was falling apart. The country plunged into chaos.


European powers took advantage of the situation by seizing local resources and all mining resources. Foreign ships began predatory fishing and dumping toxic waste into Somalia while war raged in the country.

As a result, fish were gone from the waters and Africans lost their last source of food. The drug trade, slave trade and piracy were the only activities that kept the population from starving to death.


Pirate Freedom

For the Somali people, piracy was a boon. The coastal towns flourished and became rich. A prototype of a financial exchange emerged where ordinary people could invest in flibustering crews and then receive a percentage of their proceeds.


The first Somali millionaires emerged. For example, Hassan Abdi, who began as a common raider and ended up as the leader of a network of pirate organizations and a successful businessman.


The strategy of the attacks was monotonous. The brigands would sail their boats to a foreign ship, open warning fire and force the captain to surrender.

The bandits earned income by ransoming hostages. While the traders collected the money, the captives lived on the shore, ate local food, brewed moonshine and immersed themselves in the local flavor.


The pirates didn't get cocky and didn't rob the goods. This increased the price of the product, which made the resellers happy. Along with them came insurance and security companies. The Somalis had climbed out of poverty, to the detriment of others. But once again it was big politics that decided the fate of the people.


In the shadow of Shariah.

Since 2004, Somali piracy was covered by the Islamist organization Harakat al-Shabab, a union of local youth who set out to unite Somalia, end anarchy and live by the laws of Islam.


The pirates, where drug trafficking and drunkenness flourished, did not fit the doctrine, but the brigands paid 5% of their income and achieved patronage. The Islamists allowed the flibbers to use the controlled ports and supplied them with arms.

By 2011, the organization had unified much of the country. Europeans became worried: they were losing control of local resource extraction. As a result, Somali government troops, supported by the Kenyan army and U.S. airpower, recaptured all towns from al-Shabab in 2012.


The pirates were left without a "roof," at which point the Al Nahyan family of Arab sheikhs from the UAE became active. Their fortune was based on the production and sale of oil, tankers of which the pirates periodically seized.


While al-Shabab was strong, the Arabs were afraid to speak out against the pirates, radicals of the same faith would not understand. Now the sheikhs hired an American private company, Blackwater Academy.


In less than a year the mercenaries had slaughtered all the corsairs. The achievements were consolidated by the Puntland Maritime Police, funded entirely out of Al Nahyan's pocket.


Since then, there have been virtually no pirates left in the region. Since 2012, only 1 hijacking of an oil tanker has happened. Now Somalis are once again starving and fighting with each other. But the oceans are calm, and countries are trading again without loss.


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