- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
For the first time, EU forces are attacking pirate bases within Somali territory:
European helicopter gunships attacked a pirate base on the Somali coast on Tuesday, destroying five speedboats, in the first such airborne strike on land by the anti-piracy force.
The Somali-based pirates responded by threatening to kill crew being held on more than a dozen hijacked vessels if they were attacked again.
The EU Naval Force (EU Navfor) said it had carried out the overnight raid on pirate targets using helicopters and surveillance aircraft with the agreement of the beleaguered, Western-backed Somali government.
There are concerns that this new tactic could put the more than 300 hostages being held in Somalia at risk, or drive the pirates to more desperate tactics. I also wonder, if this becomes a regular thing, whether it will have larger security implications. Frequent European bombing raids on Somali territory with the consent of the Western-backed government in Mogadishu, no matter the intended target, seem like something a group like Al Shabaab could easily exploit for propaganda value.