Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Negotiated End to Somali Piracy - This Just Might Work

I wasn't very hopeful when I read that Somali pirates holding the Saudi tanker had stopped talking to the Saudis and wanted to negotiate with a wealthy Virginia woman. It looked like they wanted to deal with someone with lots of money, a big heart, and not much knowledge of the area.

At that point, I didn't know about Michele Lynn Ballarin. And, I'm a trifle dubious about people who are chiefly known for having a lot of money. Think Paris Hilton.

I was even more dubious, when I found out that she not only planned to free the ships and the hostages. She plans to end Somali piracy altogether.

Now, I think she has a better chance of ending the Somali piracy mess than the Saudis, India, America, or the United Nations. And, may be able to do it without running that part of Somalia through the meat grinder of a military operation.

Mommy Warbucks

Michele Lynn Ballarin runs SelectArmor, that designs and makes body armor and provides security services. She's certainly part of the "military-industrial complex," but probably isn't a CIA spook. People related to American intelligence and military communities are on the board of another of her companies, though. That company's name is Black Star.

She says that she's out to profit by ending piracy, helping Somalia get on its feet, and then marketing Black Star's services to other failed states.

Sounds good to me.

Impending Death Encourages Clarity of Thought

Ballarin says that Al Shabaab's threat to hunt down the Somali pirates "has concentrated the minds of the pirates," as an article in put it.

"She says the pirates understand the gravy train they have ridden for the last few years from their ill-gotten gains is coming to an end.

" 'They have snatched too many ships. They have too many navies watching them and now Al Shabab enters the picture,' she explained. 'So they know they're not going to be able to maintain this activity.' "

But, She's Unclean!

Ballarin certainly isn't a peacemaker of the Code Pink or Cindy Sheehan stamp. Which is why I think that she's got a chance of succeeding.

It's nice to want to "give peace a chance," but it helps to know a little bit about people, what motivates them, and what doesn't. I think that Ballarin has that knowledge: You don't run a successful business if you don't.

As for her close ties with the American military and the CIA, that may disqualify her from speaking at some of the 'better' American colleges and universities. On the other hand, I'm used to the idea that people with colorful backgrounds can do some good. And have: like Jean Lafitte.

In the news:


Anonymous said...

Yes lets keep hope alive.
Any small glimpse of some hope can just do the trick to bring some peace to that part
of the world. Those pirates are fierce
and all over the place now.
I thought I just saw another small documentary or story on
just the other day on pirates.
People are scared of them and have good reason to be.
They feed you to the sharks.

Brigid said...

Lafitte. That'd be the guy who stole gunpowder from the British and sold it to the Americans, right?

This is going to be fun.

Brian H. Gill said...


That would be his style. Jean Lafitte was a colorful person in American history: You might find that link I provided worth following.

"Colorful?" That may be an understatement. Using fictional and legendary persons for comparison, Jean Lafitte was a bit like an amalgam of Han Solo and Robin Hood.

I gather that a great deal of what he did was illegal, even by the somewhat informal standards of his place and time.

Interesting fellow.

Brian H. Gill said...

Jeunelle Foster,

As you say, 'keep hope alive.'

I sincerely home that this "Mama Warbucks" can negotiate an end to Somali piracy. From the sounds of it, there will be howls of complaint if she does: apparently she is trying to find countries ready to take the pirates in.

That probably won't, in the short run, have the appearance of justice. But, if successful, the plan will save a great many lives.

kingnour said...

I think the Somali have the right to hajik the Saudi Ship and rest of world are dumping waste in somali coastal. Ironically, the world is not talking about how the Saudi GOV flowing money in somali just to preach its ideology. This lady I think she is working with the CIA, and we should do backgraound check on her.

Brian H. Gill said...


You could be right, but Al Shabaab doesn't agree with you about the Saudi ship.

Interesting: I hadn't heard that the Somali coast was the world's dumping ground.

What sort of waste? Nuclear?

(Has anybody else heard or read about Somalia being used as the world's waste dump?)

Anonymous said...

Al Shabaab are agents for Saudi Arabia government and they preaching salfism in somali, which won't work in somali and soon they will removed from somali soil. However, I recommend you to do search about dumping waste in somali water. Than we can talk.


Brian H. Gill said...

Anonymous / KING NOUR Ali if August 12, 2009 1:42 AM,

You may be correct in your assertions about Al Shabaab. For the sake of Somalis and Somalia, I hope that Al Shabaab's influence in Somalia will be over. Soon.

As to the dumping of waste: I recognize that the issue is a very important one, as well as a very emotional topic. However, it's not close enough to the cluster of topics I cover in this blog to warrant the sort of in-depth research I'd need to do, if I were to try discussing the matter.

I've read and responded to your comments in another post, by the way.

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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.