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«GGI Analysis Paper 5/ 2012 The Global Governance Institute Pleinlaan 5, July 2012 1050 Brussels, Belgium Email: info Web: ...»

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Nevertheless, local perceptions of piracy are dynamic and an opposite trend has been observed as well. Local communities experience increasingly the negative consequences of piracy and the huge influx of ransom money stand in harsh contrast to their religion, such as the rise of drug abuse, pre-marital sex, theft and inflation. Therefore effective grassroots efforts to counter piracy are gaining momentum with local elders and religious leaders in coastal villages beginning to build resistance (Ramsey 2011a and 2011b).

Local authorities in Puntland and Galmudug seem to have an ambiguous agenda regarding piracy. The government of Puntland under the President Abdirahman Farole began asserting more control over its territory in 2010 and has since tried to remove pirates from their coastal bases. Nevertheless, parts of the government and/or the security services appear to still “turn a blind eye out of clan loyalty” (International Crisis Group 2009, p. 11). It is still true that “without some form of official protection and collusion, gangs would find it difficult to operate as efficiently as they do, given the complex logistics involved in planning and executing raids and negotiating ransoms” (ibid.).

The UN Security Council Monitoring Group on Somalia reports from 2010, 2011 and 2012 provide convergent analysis, albeit no hard evidence of such collaboration. Puntland president Farole is working on his track record of fighting piracy and has launched several military initiatives against local piracy strongholds. While having less well-developed security forces than Somaliland, Puntland saw the creation of the Puntland Marine Police Force in 2010 now being around 400 men strong. At the same time President Farole is intimately connected to For a legal analysis of the implications, see Kolb et al. 2011.

pirates in the region, being not only from the pirate stronghold but also belonging to the same sub-clan – Iise Mahamuud/Muuse Iise – as the two main pirate leaders Abshir Abdullaahi Boyah and Garaad Mahamuud Iise. This led to the allegation that he may have received financial help for his presidential campaign and beyond from these pirate leaders. The increase relocation of pirates to Galmudug, south of Puntland, allows them to penetrate a more permissive environment, as the local government exercises little control over its territory. Only very weak security forces exist in Galmudug and any other forces are clanbased militias unlikely to take on the heavily armed pirates. It remains to be seen if the Sufi militia and largest armed group Ahlu Sunna wal Jama’a might be able to effectively project their control also to the coastal areas of Galguduud.

Learning from history: local solutions and failures While international maritime missions in operating in Somali coastal waters and the Indian Ocean have proven thus far to be financially ineffective and de-facto failed to contain the problem of piracy, there seems to be a strong correlation between onshore and offshore security, as both go hand in hand. Indeed, recent history gives two examples where piracy in Somalia was not only managed, but also overall extinguished in a local context. In a first instance, ports in Somaliland – with the exception of its eastern contested region of Sanaag have never hosted piracy networks. Despite a negligible coastal security force and relative poverty, Somaliland was able to control its coast trough local ownership, the legitimacy of local law enforcement including local militias and the popularity of the local regime, guaranteeing the cooperation of the effected population (Hansen 2009). In a second instance, a quite different example is the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) in Mogadishu. When they took control of the capital in 2006 – described by many Somalis as the most peaceful and stable time since the breakdown of the government in the early 1990s in South-Central Somalia – the Supreme Council of Islamic Courts decided to end piracy and declared them as haraam (against Islam). The UIC even launched attacks against pirate ports and effectively ended piracy in their controlled areas. Obviously, after the invasion of Ethiopia and the withdrawal of the Sharia courts, piracy re-emerged in the area (Holzer and Elliot 2009).

There are, however, also insightful examples of failed Somali counter-piracy attempts in the recent past. In 1999 Puntland contracted the British Hart group to provide coast guard duties and training. Hart’s involvement led initially to the curtailing of illegal fishing, some reduction of piracy and legal expertise as well as training to Puntland. Due to an internal war in Puntland between 2001-2002 Hart had to pull out, leaving the former coast guards unemployed (Kinsley 2009). Years later, in April 2008, Puntland stopped paying its police forces after a serious financial crisis in the region. In both cases the newly trained security forces turned to banditry with some of them becoming well-trained pirates themselves (Hansen 2008). With the breakdown of the onshore security the offshore situation followed on food, leading to the dramatic increase of piracy by mid-2008 that finally triggered the international maritime response.

–  –  –

The largest European engagement is to protect international trade and European shipping vessels. On 8 December 2008 EU member states launched its first naval operation implemented in the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).





Together with the US-led Combined Task Force 151, as well as with the operating vessels of China, Iran, India and Russia they secure critical maritime routes. These naval operations, originally launched to protect food shipping’s by the World Food Programme (WFP) have had a significant effect on piracy at first. However, as outlined above, the pirates adapted faster than the military and attacks increased again in 2011. The area to cover is huge and pirates are now moving far off shore. If success is defined solely by focusing on the WFP vessels, the mission is a success. However, if we take the fight against piracy as one of its suggested measures, then the tactical success so far is marginal.

At the same time the operations are vastly expensive exercises, both in terms of opportunity costs as well as financial costs. Deploying vessels to the Somali coast is a huge logistical undertaking and in a time of tight financial budgets limits the ability of particularly European navies to conduct operations elsewhere. Running war ships and crew at permanent readiness and patrolling the long stretch of the Somali coast with speeding to the help of ships under attack makes it a very expensive undertaking.

In addition to the activities at sea, the EU currently conducts an EU Training Mission in Uganda, training about 250 Somalia soldiers in Command and Control. The mission was launched on 7 April 2010 with a mandate of up to 124 EU military troops. The trainings take half a year and four training cycles are planned with the current mandate running until October 2012. By the end of the current mandate in October 2012 the EU will have trained

1.000 Somali soldiers in four half-year training cycles. The impact on the 28.000 strong Somali force is uncertain. EUTM is a step in the right direction and directly supports the capacity of Somali security forces but the operation is more symbolic and rather should be expanded in size, scope and duration. Operating from outside Somalia also shows a lack of commitment and visibility to the Somali population.

Underlining the increased strategic importance of the region, the EU adopted a new Strategic Framework for the Horn of Africa on 14 November 2011 (Council of the European Union 2011). In addition, the European Union strengthened its political visibility in appointing Alexander Rondos of the shipping nation Greece a few weeks later as EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa (Taylor 2011). The following week, on 12 December 2011 the EU approved the preparation of another CSDP operation to strengthen regional maritime capacity building. Subsequently and in expectation of three operations at the Horn of Africa, the European Council activated the EU Operations Centre on 23 March 2012 (Council of the European Union 2012). This is the first activation of the EU Operations Centre. Its mandate is to provide support and facilitate coordination between the three operations and the Brussels bureaucracy.

2.1 Assessing the EU’s new capacity building mission for the Horn of Africa How does the EUCAP Nestor operation fit into the EU’s engagement? It is the next logical step for European engagement without moving on shore in Somalia and preventing piracy in changing its root causes. It aims to contain attacks in supporting the surrounding countries coast guards and navies as the NAVFOR operation is too expensive to run for long periods and piracy cannot be solved in a few years. EUCAP Nestor will therefore aim at strengthening the sea-going maritime capacity of Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya, Tanzania, and the Seychelles. It will also aim at strengthening the rule of law sector in the Somali regions of Puntland, Somaliland and Galmudug, notably by supporting the development of a Coastal Police Force as well as by training and protecting judges in the Somali region of Puntland (EU 2012b). Its strength is likely to be similar in size as the EU Training Mission, about 120 personnel.

EUCAP Nestor focuses on the right onshore entities in their respective efforts to curtail pirates’ areas of operations, namely Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug. All too often in the recent past such attempts failed, as they focused on the rebuilding of central Somali state institutions of a “virtual” Transitional Federal Government with no relevant control over territory, no local support nor legitimacy instead of supporting the local, albeit weak institutions which are already in place in the areas most relevant to piracy and the best chance to success (Holzer 2011).

Capacity building for local security forces as well as the judicial sector can make a difference, if financed in a sustainable way and adopted as part of a wider engagement in those entities.

Clearly, a piracy-centric approach will not yield the expected results. Keeping in mind the dire security, political and humanitarian situation in most parts of Somalia, piracy is a secondary problem at best for Somalis. In addition, piracy seems to have still a strong local support base, as it brings positive developmental effects and labour to neglected and underdeveloped regions in the country. Hence piracy can only be tackled as part of a wider local engagement that addresses local needs in the development, governance and security sector. As Ehrhart and Peretto (2012) put it, a “Somalia first” approach is needed. This demands a comprehensive approach, which brings together coherently and effectively the EU’s military, foreign affairs, humanitarian aid and economic development policy standards.

Somaliland has to be supported in order to reward it for its stability and to keep the regional balance when engaging in Puntland. While local governments in Puntland and Galmudug can be pressured to fight piracy, there is a dangerous dynamic lingering on the horizon: if the onshore engagement comes as an anti-piracy engagement only, these entities will indeed fight piracy up to a certain extend in order to gain access to foreign anti-piracy revenues. However, they will at the same time have a vested interest in keeping the piracy problem alive and hence keeping the foreign aid money flowing. From this perspective, an effective ending of piracy would be a disincentive, as it would lead again to international (financial) neglect of the respective region.

Generally speaking, the deployment of 175 personnel for the RMCB mission with its dual mandate and operating outside of Somalia seems not well designed for building up relevant capacities in the respective Somali regions as well as four neighbouring countries. The increase from about 30-40 personnel that were debated in early 2012 to almost 200 despite the constraints of financial austerity, show the strategic importance EU member states attach to the mission. However, if the EU is serious in tackling Somali piracy in a sustainable way, it has to take a broader, long-term and locally owned approach in the respective regions where piracy stems from. So far, the EU has neither implemented the comprehensive approach fullheartedly, nor tried to change its strategy to relevant onshore engagement. In the best case the RMCB mission is a first start for a larger, more comprehensive engagement. Aiming to build up the capacity of five countries to do the job some of the best navies in the world are not able to perform seems ambitious to say the least. Building up capacity takes time. It also takes both advice and training as well as technological and logistical support. Without adequate ships, training the coast guards will not have a lasting effect. And the operation needs to be embedded in a wider strategic framework that requires a political presence of the EU in Somalia and increased work with the Somali government.

3. Conclusion Given the EU’s engagement at the Horn of Africa the current focus on the comprehensive approach is the logical solution to bring the EU’s fragmented foreign policy instruments together. The increased focus on capacity building and national ownership is also positive.

However, the strategy of the EU is not sufficient: In order to allow the withdrawal of the expensive European navies, neighbouring nations shall do the pirate hunting in the future while strengthening the on shore capacity of the Somali regions with the strongest piracy problems. Rather, a shift in strategy is necessary.

The resources spent by the European Union on patrolling the coast off the Horn of Africa are about ten times the amount spent on development and humanitarian aid in Somalia. A longterm and sustainable solution can only be found in ensuring security for Somalis and offering a support for economic development. An EU presence on the ground is needed and money spent on development needs to be closely aligned with the Strategic framework for the Horn of Africa. This can be in the form of a CSDP operation or under the umbrella of the Special Representative’s guidance if he is based in Somalia. Given the estimated costs of USD 7 billion from piracy attacks acting sooner rather than later to prevent piracy is essential. Jointly with the United Nations and the African Union, the only actors on the ground, the EU needs to invest heavily in its onshore activities to enable the success of its three security and defence operations.

Based on this analysis, the Global Governance Institute recommends four areas for action.

Firstly, the three independent operations need to be joined up and should be led and coordinated by the EU Special Representative (EUSR). The EUSR should not only be able to give local guidance, but strategic direction in close exchange with the relevant Operations Commander. Placed directly under the EU High Representative Lady Ashton his position is suitable. The EUSR should also be chairing a working group with Commission officials in charge of development and humanitarian aid funding. Alternatively, the current institutional fragmentation will persist and the strategies to prevent piracy will not be addressed effectively.

Secondly, a heavy focus on training and training exercises should be launched by member states bilaterally to include not only for the coastguards and navies but also the related institutions, such as ministries, police and navy military structures. This would require not only experts from the coastguards and navies, but also public administration and management experts to provide support on issues of organisation, finance and institutional learning.

Thirdly, EU development funds should be used to building up national capacities for training.

For the first two years a CSDP operation could provide the personnel and support the training academies and co-teaching the new recruits. However, sustainable financing needs to be ensured. These courses could well draw on the expertise of naval officers deployed with NAVFOR Atalanta.

Last, but not least, the EU should support the United Nations in coordinating a political solution for Somalia after August to ensure stability and progress for a future of the Somali people.



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