chapter  8
22 Pages

Somali maritime predation

Traditional piracy or a new form of terrorism?
WithAnamika Twyman-Ghoshal

With the emergence of Somali piracy and its threat to international trade, there has been a suggestion that these piratical acts constitute maritime terrorism. In 2005, maritime security fell under the ambit of the War on Terror in the US and beyond. The question posited in this chapter is whether Somali piracy is in fact a form of maritime terrorism and if coupling these threats is a sound policy decision. The analysis identifies that the underlying motivation for piracy and terrorism differ. This is clear from the legal and academic definitions of the phenomena, as well as when exploring the issue through the lens of motivation typologies. It is argued that identifying what truly triggers Somali piracy is critical. Dealing with the issue requires evidence-based policies that are founded on research of the precursors of piracy, rather than re-labelling the problem. It is suggested that conflating piracy with terrorism to support excessive militarization will embolden frustrated locals and increase levels of violence while misdirecting funds essential for human security. Solutions to piracy require understanding the root causes of the problem, allowing Somalis agency in their country’s development, and implementing local solutions that are perceived as legitimate and just.