Friday, June 12, 2009

Qaeda moving into Yemen and Somalia - pirate escalation

A disturbing piece today in the NYT about al Qaeda operatives moving into Yemen and Somalia - Some in Qaeda leaving Pakistan for Somalia and Yemen.

Take a quick look at a map. If this shift is part of a deliberate plan, Qaeda may be working on a pincer movement focusing on the Gulf of Aden, the primary shipping transit point for much of the world's fuel.

Somali pirates should be worried about this move too. Qaeda muscling into their territory could mean increased international attention and pressure that could put a big dent in their pirating efforts. A much bigger concern: Somali pirates might just take the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" route and figure out some way to work with the Qaeda operative.

We know that al Qaeda operatives have something that the Somali pirates want: money. And the pirates have some know-how about tracking and attacking vessels that I'm betting al Qaeda would be happy to pay for.

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