The privateers of Yemen

Yemen’s leaders are pushing the United States to increase its military aid roughly 40-fold for their country to fight al Qaeda — but Yemen isn’t just relying on aid to generate cash from the international security threats burgeoning on its lands and seas. For more than a year, Yemen’s financially pragmatic civilian and military officials ...

KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images
KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images
KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images

Yemen's leaders are pushing the United States to increase its military aid roughly 40-fold for their country to fight al Qaeda -- but Yemen isn't just relying on aid to generate cash from the international security threats burgeoning on its lands and seas.

For more than a year, Yemen's financially pragmatic civilian and military officials have been contracting with at least one maritime-security broker to hire out commissioned Yemeni warships and active-duty and armed Yemeni coast guard and navy sailors as private escorts for merchant ships and oil tankers crossing the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden. The cost for Yemen's escort service: up to $55,000 per ship, per trip.

Yemen’s leaders are pushing the United States to increase its military aid roughly 40-fold for their country to fight al Qaeda — but Yemen isn’t just relying on aid to generate cash from the international security threats burgeoning on its lands and seas.

For more than a year, Yemen’s financially pragmatic civilian and military officials have been contracting with at least one maritime-security broker to hire out commissioned Yemeni warships and active-duty and armed Yemeni coast guard and navy sailors as private escorts for merchant ships and oil tankers crossing the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden. The cost for Yemen’s escort service: up to $55,000 per ship, per trip.

Read more.

View Foreign Policy’s photo essay of the anti-piracy campaign in the Horn of Africa.

Ellen Knickmeyer is a former West Africa bureau chief for the Associated Press and a former Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post.

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