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Somali pirates eye oil tanker ‘jackpot’ in Strait of Hormuz

The Strait of Hormuz is the passageway for over a third of the world's oil tanker traffic

Special to ABU DHABI — Somali pirates have expanded operations in the Gulf. Industry sources said Somali pirate vessels were moving north from the Arabian Sea to the Strait of Hormuz, the passageway for 40 percent of global crude oil shipments. The sources said the operations reflected greater capability by the pirates as well [...]

May 28th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Exclusives,Iran,Mideast,Somalia,Top Stories,UAE | Read More »

EU launches air strikes against Somali pirates after hijacking of tanker

A pirate commander told the Associated Press the EU raid destroyed speed boats, fuel depots and an arms store.  /AP

Special to LONDON — In an unprecedented move, the European Union has directed air strikes against Somalia. The EU said a range of fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft attacked the Somali coast in search of pirates. The EU said the May 15 operation, in which no casualties were reported, took place in the Somali region [...]

May 16th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Exclusives,Somalia,Top Stories | Read More »

Somali pirates hijack first oil tanker near Oman in over a year

Somali pirates boarded the MT Smyrni while it was sailing in the Arabian Sea on May 10.

Special to ABU DHABI — Despite international naval patrols, Somali piracy continues in the Gulf region. Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea 630 kilometers from the coast of Oman on May 10. The Liberian-flagged Smyrni, operated by a Greek company, was carrying 135,000 tons of oil and said to have [...]

May 13th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Exclusives,Greece,Mideast,Somalia,Terrorism,Top Stories,World Links | Read More »

How to solve the piracy scourge? Lethal force seems to work best

Pirates leave a merchant vessel for the Somali shore, while under observation by a U.S. Navy ship, Oct. 8, 2008.  /Jason R. Zalasky/U.S. Navy/Reuters

John J. Metzler UNITED NATIONS — There’s been a significant drop in ship seizures and hijackings by Somali pirates in the troubled waters off East Africa. Despite last year’s spike in piracy with 28 vessels captured in the first half of 2011, there were only three ships seized in the second half of the year [...]

May 2nd, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Columnists,COMMENTARY,England,Exclusives,John Metzler,Somalia,Stateside,Top Stories,U.S. Military | Read More »

Piracy still a thrivng business in Somalia, backed by international financiers

The Danish navy vessel Absalon rescued 14 Iranian and Pakistani hostages from a pirate ship, above, off the Somali coast on Jan. 7.  /Jens Damhoj/Danish Navy via EPA

Special to WASHINGTON — Despite a sharp drop in the success rate, hundreds of Somalis continue to engage in piracy in the Red Sea and Gulf. A senior U.S. official said hundreds of Somalis continue to be employed as pirates and target merchant vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. Thomas Kelly, [...]

April 22nd, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Exclusives,Life,Mideast,Somalia,Stateside,Terrorism,Top Stories,U.S. Military | Read More »

Canadian firm drilling for Somalian oil: First such venture in decades

Special to WASHINGTON — A Canadian-owned company has begun drilling for energy in war-torn Somalia. Horn Petroleum Corp. has spudded a well in northern Somalia in the first such project in the African country in more than 20 years. Horn, a majority stake of which is owned by Canada’s Africa Oil Corp., intends to [...]

January 20th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Americas,Canada,Exclusives,Somalia,Top Stories | Read More »

Al Qaida affiliate in Africa using Twitter to attract potential recruits

The @HSMPress feed on Twitter has over 4,600 followers.

Special to Compiled by Bill Gertz, The Somalian-based Al Qaida affiliate Al Shabaab is recruiting followers through its Twitter page, U.S. sources said. Those who follow the terrorist group’s Twitter account, @HSMPress, are located in Africa, mainly nearby Kenya, followed by South Africa, Somalia and Uganda. Others are from Europe and North America. [...]

January 10th, 2012 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Exclusives,Intel Brief,Somalia | Read More »

After denying crisis, administration spending millions to find Libyan SAMs

Special to from WASHINGTON — A month after denying the threat, the United States has expanded its operation to find the missing surface-to-air missile arsenal of ousted Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. The administration of President Barack Obama has approved a $30 million allocation to track and intercept SAM systems smuggled out of Libya. [...]

October 24th, 2011 | Posted in Exclusives,Libya,Somalia,Terrorism | Read More »

U.S. scrambling to find thousands of missing surface-to-air missiles

A Libyan rebel holding a complete SA-7 system. C.J. Chivers/ N.Y. Times

Special to Backgrounder, Compiled by Bill Gertz U.S. officials are stepping up efforts in North Africa and the Middle East to account for thousands of shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles that have been dispersed around the region as the result of the Libyan civil war.The officials said the missiles are beginning to show up on the [...]

October 18th, 2011 | Posted in Intel Brief,Libya,Somalia,U.S. Intelligence,U.S. Military | Read More »

Somalia’s horsemen of the apocalypse: Drought, famine, militias, global indifference

Somalis carry the body of a man killed at the scene of an explosion tied to an Islamist insurgent group in front of the Ministry of Education in Mogadishu, Somalia. / AP / Farah Abdi Warsameh

By John Metzler UNITED NATIONS — The four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are stalking Somalia and riding further a field into the impoverished Horn of Africa. Drought, famine, militias and global indifference plague this parched region at the mercy of weather, failed states, and donor fatigue. Today, over thirteen million people face a deteriorating food [...]

October 18th, 2011 | Posted in Africa / Europe,Columnists,John Metzler,Somalia | Read More »

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