This isn’t a movie starring Johnny Depp. It’s real life. Pirate “kingpins” in Somalia are reportedly helping warring terrorist groups associated with ISIS and al-Qaeda smuggle weapons — and possibly people.
According to CNN’s report, one of the pirate leaders helping terror groups is Mohamed Garfanje. Garfanje is thought to have kidnapped American-German journalist Michael Scott Moore in 2012.
“Garfanje should be in jail… If it’s true that he and Bakeyle (another pirate) are out catching ships again, then they should be rounded up by authorities and prosecuted.”
CNN’s exclusive story also cited an unnamed pirate kingpin who they say may be smuggling arms and people to an ISIS faction in Somalia. The news organization cites UN sources as saying this man “has assisted ISIS with logistics” and has a relationship with the ISIS leader in that region.
Somali pirates have been a problem for a long time, and we have seen evidence suggesting al-Qaeda has received funding from these operations, but this is the first time any formal investigation has been reported. It’ll be interesting to see if the United Nations and the United States are able to hold any of these people (infamous for avoiding legal consequences) accountable.
There might not be much anyone can do about these crimes. Here we have a number of pirates who have evaded the law for many years, and have been helping Islamic terrorists since at least 2009 when CBS News broke the story involving Sa’id Ali Jabir Al Khathim Al Shihri, a Saudi Arabian al-Qaeda operative who was calling on pirates to increase their attacks.
“To our steadfast brethren in Somalia, take caution and prepare yourselves… Increase your strikes against the crusaders at sea and in Djibouti… The crusaders, the Jews and the traitorous rulers did not come to the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden except to wage war against you in Somalia and abolish your newly established emirate, and by Allah, they shall be defeated. They shall bring a curse upon their people… We shall not leave them this time until we get to their own countries with the help of Allah.”
These reported links between Somali pirates and terrorist groups point to an interesting combination of monetary and religious motivations. Some want money, others want divine rewards, but they are all lawless enemies of the West. Terrorist tactics acquaint men with strange bedfellows, I suppose.
(Screenshot via CNN)