Acts of piracy whether committed by Somalian nationals in desperation or by nation-states like the United States are still acts of piracy!
I am sure that most are familiar with the Somalian pirates, who have taken over quite a few merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden over the past few years with the aid of a few assault rifles and motorboats. These criminals are mostly concerned with obtaining a ransom, and have kept ship crews and cargo hostage for fairly lengthy periods of time. I am under the general impression that these pirates are more concerned with their ransom booty and do not really intend to take their hostages’ lives.
What some may not know is that Blackwater, an American private mercenary and security firm is preparing to start a new ‘business‘ in protecting Gulf of Aden ships from these rascals. That should bloody the waters a bit, but probably few would claim that these pirates are anything but armed robbers.
What still fewer will know is that the Jerusalem Post (JP) just reported that the US Navy allegedly committed an act of privateering to seize explosive artillery shells aboard an Iranian merchant vessel flying Cypriot colors. A Department of ‘Defense’ spokesman stated that the US military was “aware of the media reports and are looking into them, but we have nothing to provide at this time.”
The US Navy originally thought the ship was carrying arms intended for Hamas in Gaza, but the US Navy became uncertain over the identity of the intended recipient since “Hamas is not known to use artillery,” the Associated Press cited a defense official as saying.
Professor Raymond Tanter, president of the Washington-based Iran Policy Committee, said, “It is not surprising that the US Navy is reluctant to acknowledge the operation, which may have been covert,” adding that maritime law posed challenges when it came to intercepting ships that fly the flag of a sovereign country. JP notes:
“Maritime law provides a basis for the interception of suspicious vessels not flying a country’s flag (called “stateless vessels”), such as the North Korean ship carrying Scud missiles intercepted in the Arabian Sea by the American and Spanish navies in 2002. However, in last week’s incident, it was a Cypriot-flagged, Iranian-owned commercial vessel, and the maritime law is less able to justify stop and search operations against such ships,” Tanter said.
Well, my only question is why on earth is it so believable to me, and Professor Tanter, the Associated Press, and the JP that my country, the United States of America, may be committing acts of privateering for Israel while fighting wars in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan? Can’t they do their own dirty work?
Jake is also a contributor to Nolan Chart.