EU approves attacks on Somali pirates on land as well as at sea

Royal Marines board a pirate skiff after an attack on a Spanish fishing boat
Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

The European Union has agreed to expand its mission against Somali pirates, by allowing military forces to attack land targets as well as those at sea. In a two-year extension of its mission, EU defence ministers agreed warships could target boats and fuel dumps…

Up to 10 EU naval ships are currently on patrol off the Horn of Africa. They have policed shipping routes and protected humanitarian aid since 2008. The extension means they will stay until at least December 2014.

An EU official said the new mandate would allow warships or helicopters to fire at fuel barrels, boats, trucks or other equipment on beaches…Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters: “The EU plan is to allow attacks on land installations when ships are assaulted at sea,” adding that “much care” would be taken to avoid civilian deaths.

A two-decade war has wrecked Somalia, leaving it without a proper government. The transitional government only controls the capital Mogadishu, while al-Shabab militants, who recently joined with al-Qaeda, hold large swathes of territory.

The EU says the main tasks of the mission are the protection of vessels of the World Food Programme delivering food aid to displaced people in Somalia, and the fight against piracy off the Somali coast…

Brussels also said the Somali government [what there is of it] had told the UN secretary general that it accepted its new offer of collaboration.

You might think the US government or one of our surrogates like NATO might upgrade to this level of backbone.

On one hand, President Obama is trying to appear less than impetuous in the face of Republican electioneering that wants us to remain cops of the world. On the other hand, permission for anything like this might require support from Congress and they aren’t likely to approve anything other than their salaries.

One thought on “EU approves attacks on Somali pirates on land as well as at sea

  1. James Kalìwæ says:

    Posts like this are why I love blogging. I’m a news junkie, yet I haven’t heard this reported anywhere else. Very interesting… I’ve never even thought about the issue of going after pirates on land. As far as Obama and Congress… I would think this would be the one thing – other than their salaries – that our current congress could agree on.

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