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Has the tide turned in the war on pirates?

In recent days, the number of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia has started to fall. French troops arrested eight pirates on January 1st, turning them over to the Somali government. The EU mission also saved a Greek tanker from kidnapping on January 2nd. A Danish warship sunk yet another pirate vessel after warning ...

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In recent days, the number of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia has started to fall. French troops arrested eight pirates on January 1st, turning them over to the Somali government. The EU mission also saved a Greek tanker from kidnapping on January 2nd. A Danish warship sunk yet another pirate vessel after warning flares set that ship on fire (the pirates were rescued from the wreck, and remain onboard the Danish vessel). And a Chinese cargo ship flat out-maneuvered the pirates on January 2nd.

A round of applause might be in order. After a slew of hijackings last fall, the world’s navies finally seemed to get serious about fighting the pirates. Previously, many countries feared that arresting pirates could lead to awkward legal proceedings and even amnesty suits by suspects claiming they could be put to death at home if extradited. All good points. But then, so are the tens of thousands of ships that pass through the Gulf of Aden each year. From the looks of it, squeamish fighters once reluctant to pick up pirates are increasingly keen to do just that. Whatever they’re doing, it seems to be working.

On land, however, few are noticing the calm at sea. Ethiopian troops are at last pulling out of Somalia, as they promised to do late last year and the mortars are still flying in Mogadishu.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images

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