• Africa,  State Building

    Somali Government Agrees, or Not, to US Navy Help

    From the State Department Briefing of April 18: QUESTION:  Apparently, the Somali Government has given the U.S. Navy permission to patrol its waters for pirates.  I just wondered whether you had any details on this.  There seemed to be kind of conflicting reports coming out of the region.  There was also this story last November where a U.S. company, Bobcats — was it Bobcats?  Or Top Cat, sorry.  Top Cat Marine Security was given this big contract to fight piracy.  I just wondered where the U.S. Navy fitted in with this and was the embassy involved in trying to negotiate a deal. MR. MCCORMACK:  I’ll look into it for you,…

  • State Building

    A Primer on Pirates

    "Combating piracy takes good intelligence. The authors also offer this warning: Piracy "has never been reduced through any process of negotiation." Historically, only armed force suppresses pirates."

  • Private Military Companies

    Is TopCat really in “mobilization”?

    From Karthryn Cramer comes a tasty bit of news that the BBC wasn’t actually wrong when it said Top Cat Marine Security was in a “mobilisation phase” (UK spelling). From Ms Kathryn Cramer: [a] company that builds boats identical to Top Cat’s seems to have set up shop in Panama Panama is nice place to hide. A commentator on Kathryn’s site says Casini, if it is Top Cat, can’t hide in Panama because ITAR can still reach Pete, he being a US citizen and all. I don’t think that is why he’s hidingout. The US State Department’s "cease & desist" is still a fuzzy red herring to me until I…

  • Africa

    Djibouti Sues France

    From Opinio Juris comes news Dijibouti, where our Marines have an counter-terrorism base and are practicing the a real campaign of public diplomacy (see CT in the Horn and Revisiting the Roosevelt Doctrine). [T]he Republic of Djibouti has filed an application with the International Court of Justice against France alleging France violated its treaty obligations to provide judicial assistance in a Djibouti criminal investigation. This looks like a fairly tedious and unimportant case. The only interesting aspect (to me, anyway) is whether France refuses to accept the ICJ’s jurisdiction. France famously withdrew from the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ back in 1996 (those unilateralist Frenchies, so disrespectful of international courts!)…

  • Uncategorized

    “Foreign Friends” financing private company off Somali Waters?

    An interesting item was on the BBC News website about the Somali coast being the most dangerous coast in the world, along with a recent Naval War College article (Aug 2005) by a professor at the National Defense College of the Philippines reiterated future if not present links and partnerships between terrorism and piracy, suggests the (obvious) point the attempted cruiseship hijacking that was thwarted by a military grade counter-measure (which was on a civilian vessel for what reason? isn’t mil grade hardware illegal?) had more to do with terrorism than piracy. Even it was piracy, it would likely lead to terrorism following any line of logical reasoning. The BBC…

  • Uncategorized

    The Aden Declaration

    There is so much happening right now and I just do not have the cycles to address all of it. In the Horn of Africa, Somalia to be precise, some forward progress may have been made a couple of days ago...

  • Private Military Companies

    Kathryn Cramer: Top Cat Marine Security Has an Executive Level

    In an effort to keep information fresh, from Kathryn Cramer’s blog on TopCat Marine Security: We had our differences and I’m no longer associated with Peter Casini, TCMS, Cobra Boats, Topcat Design or any other Casini enterprise. It seems that "Bacehlor #3" in an earlier post by Kathryn is a man who now is making it clear he has nothing to do with TopCat. TCMS is an interesting org, but still more interesting: Did they hope to get in front of the coming action?

  • Uncategorized

    MOOTW or War Itself is coming

    There can be little doubt that the intersection of US and Chinese interests (i.e. oil, gas, etc) in Africa and the existence of failed or failing states will give ample opportunity for somebody to intervene. Between the stories of TopCat Marine Security trying to vie for a security contract (cease and desist? come on…), the UK adding to a substantial US presence, and front-companies (which could include TopCat?) the US could do a stellar job staying up-front, out front, and public with humanitarian and other helpful aid in the region in a real battle for hearts and minds. The Chinese are doing it, we need to do publically do it.…

  • Uncategorized

    SAS-SBS joining US Forces in Africa

    Things are heating up in Africa. See this story from The Herald: THE UK’s special forces are being deployed to Djibouti, the impoverished state which dominates the entrance to the Red Sea, to join US Delta Force commandos in the hunt for al Qaeda training camps along the Horn of Africa. Some 2000 Marines are already there backing up US Special Forces.

  • Uncategorized

    The Cheetah Cubs

    The Cheetah Cubs According to the Department of State, "U.S. counterterrorism troops, carrying out humanitarian water improvement projects in the Horn of Africa region" found these two cubs and rescued them in Dec 05. It is good and expected our forces are in the region and there are no negatives to that from my perspective. The issue complicates when considering the "armed camps" protecting Chinese oil workers in the region.