Hundreds of Somali pirates have transformed the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean into the world’s most dangerous waters. But this Sunday, on the Indian Ocean, a group of Somali pirates didn’t know what they were getting into. The 11 young men — armed with rockets, guns and explosives and riding in three small boats — spotted a vessel on the horizon and moved to attack. The “victim” vessel maneuvered into the sun, partially blinding the attackers. When their vision cleared, the pirates probably realized they’d made a huge mistake: rather than the defenseless merchant vessel they apparently thought [...]
Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia have resumed a disturbingly high rate of activity recently, despite hopes that the arrival of more foreign warships in the Gulf of Aden had discouraged the regional threat. Following a lull in late 2008, Somali pirates carried out almost 100 attacks during the first three months of 2009. The growing number and expanded range of these incidents has threatened important trade and transit routes connecting Africa, Asia, and Europe to Persian Gulf oil as well as other valuable commodities. Although the number of deaths directly attributable to the pirates has remained small, their [...]
The top item at President Barack Obama’s two-day mini-summit with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani leader Asif Ali Zardari at the White House this week will be “cooperation.” The agenda is also likely to include a pile of other challenges now facing South Asia — like the 40 percent spike in civilian deaths in Afghanistan last year, the popular backlash in Pakistan against the United States’ use of drone missile attacks, and the floor-to-ceiling corruption that pervades President Karzai’s government. With all that to talk about, maybe the summit should last the whole week. Because the three men would [...]
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