In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Living
As the drama and tension between the wretched Somali pirates and the American captain continues, there is something that I must mention with respect to this whole issue of Indian Ocean piracy. As is quite obvious, many of these pirates are Muslim. This is despicable, even if they are, as described by Robert Kaplan in his op-ed as:
Somali pirates are usually unemployed young men who have grown up in an atmosphere of anarchic violence, and have been dispatched by a local warlord to bring back loot for his coffers. It is organized crime carried out by roving gangs. The million-square-miles of the Indian Ocean where pirates roam might as well be an alley in Mogadishu. These pirates are fearless because they have grown up in a culture where nobody expects to live long. Pirate cells often consist of 10 men with several ratty, roach-infested skiffs. They bring along drinking water, gasoline for their single-engine outboards, grappling hooks, ladders, knives, assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and the mild narcotic qat to chew. They live on raw fish.
Thankfully, there is no mention that their motivation is “jihadism.” They are criminals, plain and simple.
And I do share his concern that Al Qaeda neo-Kharijites might learn their techniques to attempt terrorist attacks against Western targets. That is why other crews should learn to be as bold as the American crew in this case: they fought off their attackers. I think crews should be armed, ready to defend themselves against thugs on the seas.
These pirates show that Muslims (as sad as it makes me) can be criminals without being terrorists. Not all crimes committed by Muslims are motivated by a desire to “kill the infidels.” Not that taking a crew hostage to make millions of dollars is any nobler a motivation. Far from it, but don’t put “jihadism” in where it does not belong.
By the way, these pirates are fit the classic description of muharibun, or those who seek to corrupt the earth. Their punishment in the Qur’an is very severe, indeed, and they should be fought against with all our might. We should not stand by and let these thugs make international shipping either more dangerous or more expensive for the rest of the world.
The captain of the American ship that was attacked by Somali pirates has been rescued by American Special Forces and is now safe in U.S. custody.
According to ABC news,
With a one of the four pirates who had been holding Capt. Richard Phillips, 53, on a lifeboat negotiating his release on board the U.S.S. Bainbridge, special forces in the area saw Phillips move to the side of the lifeboat to relieve himself, a senior U.S. official told George Stephanopoulos, ABC News’ chief Washington correspondent.
At that point, forces saw their opportunity and killed the other three pirates on the lifeboat, the source told Stephanopoulos.
The special forces were on the scene and authorized to take action “in extremis” as a result of President Obama’s approval of a recommendation from his top military advisers on Friday, Stephanopoulos reported.
I am so proud of my country and my President. That should be a lesson to all pirates: you don’t mess with the United States. Furthermore, this should be a wake-up call to deal with this situation comprehensively, so as not to encourage further piracy in the future.
Great day for the country, great day for the world.