Tuesday, April 14, 2009

US gunmanship in Somalia

The US showed what it means to be a superpower when it effected a terrfic rescue of the captain of a ship, a US citizen, held hostage by pirates in the high seas off the coast of Somalia. The only detailed report of the rescue operation I came across was filed by Chidananda Rajghatta in TOI ( in the print edition, I can't trace it on the web, so I'm going to describe it in my own words).

The captain had been seized and held by four pirates after a failed piracy attempt in which the pirates were repelled by the ship's crew. They managed to escape on a motorised lifeboat with the ship's captain and were adrift for five full days. The US navy sent its warships into the area to hem them in and then ensured that other pirate vessels attempting to enter the area were shooed off.

The US navy then engaged the pirates in negotiations even as the pirates' rations and fuel ran out. One ship offered to tow the lifeboat away from choppy waters into calmer ones- this brought the lifeboat within firing range of the snipers on board the US ship. One pirate was taken aboard the US ship to help with the negotiations. President Obama, who was kept in the loop througout, gave the US navy the command to go ahead and shoot if the captain' s life was judged to be in imminent danger.

When the negotiations did not progress and the pirates came within the snipers' cross-hairs, all three pirates on the lifeboat were taken out with one bullet each. The pirate on board is in US custody and the captain is flying home.

The successful end saved President Obama an early security embarassment- Americans don't take kindly to botched military missions or the deaths of US citizens- but the head of the pirates has accused the Americans of treachery saying his colleagues had been ready to given up the captain without ranson when they were shot. Unfortunately, some 200 seamen from other nations and from various ships are being held hostage by various groups of pirates. The pirate chief has also warned of revenge against Americans seen in the waters again.

1 comment:

Ju said...

The military can handle the pirate situation. What Obama needs to focus on is the movement by Texas to become independent because of Obama's failed policies. Is this the Alamo II? Watch the govenor of TX speak: