Counting the Costs of Somali Piracy

By: 
Raymond Gilpin

Authored by USIP's Raymond Gilpin, this new working paper offers practical strategies to mitigate the rising costs of Somali piracy and lay the foundation for lasting peace. The upsurge in attacks by Somali pirates between 2005 and mid-2009 reflects decades of political unrest, maritime lawlessness and severe economic decline which has dire implications for economic development and political stability in Somalia.

The upsurge in attacks by Somali pirates between 2005 and mid-2009 reflects decades of political unrest, maritime lawlessness and severe economic decline.  Piracy has dire implications for economic development and political stability in Somalia, with economic prospects constrained, business confidence compromised and human security worsening.  It could also have a destabilizing effect on global trade and security unless immediate steps are taken to craft a coordinated strategy to address the complex factors that trigger and sustain crime and impunity on the high seas. However, poorly designed and implemented strategies could inadvertently strengthen the hand of extremists in and around Somalia.  The Somali authorities and their international partners should plan for a sustained application of “smart power” by all stakeholders.  This paper offers practical strategies to mitigate the rising costs of Somali piracy and lay the foundation for lasting peace.

July 6, 2009
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