Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Somali Pirates - a new beginning for Somalia?

A couple of years ago I raised the possibility that the Green Party should call for enforcement action against Somali pirates, because they force aid organisations to go by long land routes. As I feared, the proposal fared worse than if I had suggested putting kittens into a large catapault to see how far they could fly.

Although I am a Quaker, I would not oppose intensive policing action in Somali waters by navies preferably under the UN flag. If they go in in sufficient numbers, the pirates would be unable to move, so violence would be minimised.

This should be a part of a wider initiative to re-establish peace and democracy in Somalia. So far, the international community worked intensively to set up the Transitional Government, then sat back and waited for them to get on with it. There is far more to setting up a democracy than installing a committee and calling it a government. Democracy has to be built from the grassroots up. The traditional tribal leaders should be involved. As should the Islamic Courts Union, who really did bring peace and hope to Mogadishu in until the Americans set the warlords on them in the name of the War on Terror (remember that?).

Yes, Sharia law is very problematic, with hand cutting, gay bashing &c, but if the alternative is indefinite rule by the gun, and if this is what the local people want, then I would say Yes to the moderate Islamic courts.

Somalia is a complex problem, but the UN should see it as a challenge, and set about mending it. If they can help Somalia, they can help anyone.

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