Socialist Worker

Somalia: the pirates are in Washington

Issue No. 2147

The US has confronted Somalia, once again, with its guns blazing. This time special forces killed a group of Somali pirates who were holding captive a US ship’s captain.

The move came as Somali elders were said to be in negotiations with the pirates for a peaceful resolution of the stand-off which started when the Somalis attempted to hijack a US merchant ship.

The waters off Somalia are full of warships from states claiming to battle this piracy.

But none are prepared to confront its causes.

The waters off Somalia became a dumping ground for toxic waste during the years of civil war that gripped the country.

This waste was dislodged and washed up on the shore during the massive tsunami in December 2004.

Thousands of Somalis were poisoned. But the international community reneged on its pledge to pay for the clean up.

Somali fishermen formed an unofficial coastguard in an attempt to stop the illegal dumping.

They began to seize ships they believed were dumping toxic waste and to chase away illegal fishing trawlers.

Local politicians, many allied to the pro-Western government ruling the country, turned the raids into a money making venture.

The response of the international community is to threaten the country with war.

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Tue 14 Apr 2009, 18:56 BST
Issue No. 2147
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