Friday, September 26, 2008

Wannabe Terrorists, Somali Pirates, and Russian Tanks

The arrest of two men in Cologne is probably an example of why there haven't been quite so many terrorist attacks after 9/11. The two men, a Somali and a German born in Somalia, probably weren't planning to hijack the KLM plane.

On the other hand, police "...had obtained a suicide note written by the men that stated they wanted to take part in jihad – or holy war – and die in a terrorist attack, said Katharina Breuer, a spokeswoman for North Rhine-Westphalia state police...."

The pair were apparently headed for Pakistan, and my guess is that they were going to team up with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or some other outfit with bases there.

Pirates and Booty on the High Seas

Sounds like the sort of book you buy in a grocery, doesn't it?

It's quite real, though: "A Ukrainian ship carrying tanks and ammunition has been seized by pirates off the coast of Kenya, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry told CNN...."

The Faina, flying a Belize flag, was carrying tanks, ammunition, and spare parts from Nikolayev, Ukraine, to the Kenyan port of Mombasa. Kenya had bought them from Ukraine.

There's a Russian patrol ship, the Neustrashimy, headed for Somalia. It looks like Russia doesn't approve of pirates interfering with trade. Can't say that I blame them.

Remember the Barbary Pirates?

My guess is that not too many people think of the Barbary pirates when reading the day's headlines. History isn't a really hot subject in today's culture.

But America and the European nations were facing a serious problem back in the early nineteenth century. Actually, it was a problem that had been going on for a long time. The short version is that an American president finally decided that the traditional diplomatic approach to the Barbary pirate question wasn't working, and sent troops in to sort out the problem.

It took fourteen years, but America rooted out the pirates, and ended raids that had been going on for two and a half centuries. (More about the Barbary pirates: "Barbary Pirates, Tribute, and Tripoli" (November 12, 2007).)

In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.