Senator Kirk during his recent trip to Africa. Source: Senator Kirk's Flickr page.
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) recently visited East Africa, including Bosasso in Puntland, to investigate the rise of piracy.
He went on board Chinese and U.S. warships patrolling pirate zones and talked with officials in Bahrain, Djibouti and Kenya. He made a series of recommendations to combat piracy. Although I am not convinced all of his recommendations are realistic, I particularly liked the following proposals:
- Expand rules of engagement giving local naval commanders authority to attack and disable pirate “motherships,” and tactical authority to arrest pirates and rescue crews.
- Blockade the three primary pirate ports and shorelines, including El Danaan anchorage, where 12 western tankers/merchant ships with 290 hostages are held.
- Reward front line Somali communities with economic assistance if they confront or convert al-Shabaab or pirate-controlled areas.