Tuesday Map: Pirates

Thanks to the likes of Napster, modern-day piracy is often associated more with ripped files than riptides. But according to this week’s Tuesday Map, modern-day pirates still roam the high seas –- at least off the coast of Somalia. This integrated satellite map, created by UNOSAT (the Operational Satellite Applications Program of the UN Institute ...

595454_080415_pirates2.jpg
595454_080415_pirates2.jpg

Thanks to the likes of Napster, modern-day piracy is often associated more with ripped files than riptides. But according to this week's Tuesday Map, modern-day pirates still roam the high seas –- at least off the coast of Somalia.

This integrated satellite map, created by UNOSAT (the Operational Satellite Applications Program of the UN Institute for Training and Research) shows reported incidents of pirate attacks and hijackings off the coast of Somalia between January and November of 2007 (highlighted in red orbs) as well as incidents in 2005 and 2006 (not highlighted).

Thanks to the likes of Napster, modern-day piracy is often associated more with ripped files than riptides. But according to this week’s Tuesday Map, modern-day pirates still roam the high seas –- at least off the coast of Somalia.

This integrated satellite map, created by UNOSAT (the Operational Satellite Applications Program of the UN Institute for Training and Research) shows reported incidents of pirate attacks and hijackings off the coast of Somalia between January and November of 2007 (highlighted in red orbs) as well as incidents in 2005 and 2006 (not highlighted).

Somalia, ranked third in the 2007 Failed States Index, has been in a rough patch ever since the 1991 fall of President Said Barre. For more than two decades, it remained loosely governed and divided by warlords. Then, back in June 2006, a group of Muslim clerics, leaders, and businessmen called the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) took control of Mogadishu and installed an Islamic extremist leader, challenging the legitimacy of Somalia‘s U.N.-backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG). Seven months later, the TFG, with the help of neighboring Ethiopia, retook the capital city and much of the South. The TFG’s resurgence was also supported by American commandos, sent in to take out suspected al Qaeda terrorists.

Given this rocky track record, Somalia‘s coastal chaos would seem to reflect its internal instability. But according to UNOSAT’s figures (see the chart included in the pdf map), piracy actually subsided during the UIC period, a time otherwise reported as bearing a striking resemblance to the Taliban regime.

Perhaps there’s a fatwa against eye patches?

Lucy Moore is a researcher at Foreign Policy.

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