More guns means more piracy

Two things explain why young Somali men become pirates. One is a lack of other ways to earn money, the other is a good supply of weapons. Too many hungry young men and too many guns are the reasons why US and other naval forces are spending so much time and money trying to combat piracy off the Horn of Africa. So what about this? The US government has now approved plans to supply arms to Somalia. It has a government in place it now likes so it will ship weapons into Somalia.

Security contractors supplying armed guards to ships are rubbing their hands together, while naval budget planners are weeping over their spreadsheets. This is a sure way to fuel piracy. What Somalia needs is investment in productive industries, not more weapons and more state debt to pay for them.

If the weapons would produce security and peace and harmony then that would be fine. But arming one faction in Somalia, the government, against other factions, has proven to be a doomed strategy. Somalia needs jobs and fewer weapons if piracy is to be stopped. This policy will see US warships trying to interdict pirates armed with US-supplied weapons. You couldn’t make it up.

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