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Somalia, on the tip of the Horn of Africa, has been inhabited as far back as 9,000 BC. Its history is as rich as the country is old. Caught up in a decades-long civil war, Somalia, along with Iraq and Afghanistan, has become one of the most dangerous countries in the world. Getting there from North America is a forty-five-hour, five-flight voyage through Frankfurt, Dubai, Djibouti, Bossaso (on the Gulf of Aden), and, finally, Galkayo. Somalia is a place where a government has been built out of anarchy. For centuries, stories of pirates have captured imaginations around the world. The recent bands of daring, ragtag pirates off the coast of Somalia, hijacking multimillion-dollar tankers owned by international shipping conglomerates, have brought the scourge of piracy into the modern era. The capture of the American-crewed cargo ship Maersk Alabama in April 2009, the first United States ship to be hijacked in almost two centuries, catapulted the Somali pirates onto prime-time news. Then, with the horrific killing by Somali pirates of four Americans, two of whom had built their dream yacht and were sailing around the world (“And now on to: Angkor Wat! And Burma!” they had written to friends), the United States Navy, Special Operation Forces, FBI, Justice Department, and the world’s military forces were put on notice: the Somali seas were now the most perilous in the world. Jay Bahadur, a journalist who dared to make his way into the remote pirate havens of Africa’s easternmost country and spend months infiltrating their lives, gives us the first close-up look at the hidden world of the pirates of war-ravaged Somalia. Bahadur’s riveting narrative exposé—the first ever—looks at who these men are, how they live, the forces that created piracy in Somalia, how the pirates spend the ransom money, how they deal with their hostages. Bahadur makes sense of the complex and fraught regional politics, the history of Somalia and the self-governing region of Puntland (an autonomous region in northeast Somalia), and the various catastrophic occurrences that have shaped their pirate destinies. The book looks at how the unrecognized mini-state of Puntland is dealing with the rise—and increasing sophistication—of piracy and how, through legal and military action, other nations, international shippers, the United Nations, and various international bodies are attempting to cope with the present danger and growing pirate crisis. A revelation of a world at the epicenter of political and natural disaster. From the Hardcover edition.
For centuries, stories of pirates have captured the imagination of people everywhere. But the recent gangs of daring, ragtag pirates off the coast of Somalia, hijacking huge ships owned by international conglomerates, have brought the scourge of piracy into the modern era. The world sees nothing but opportunistic bands of local bandits, but Jay Bahadur, the only Western journalist to venture so deeply into this world, truly sees how it operates. In The Pirates of Somalia, Bahadur ventures to Puntland, a region in northeastern Somalia, and tells of the pirates' lives beyond the attack skiffs: how they spend their money, how they conduct business, how they think and why they risk their lives in often suicidal missions. In the remote pirate havens of Somalia, Bahadur sits down and talks with some of the pirates, their cheeks bulging with khat (the local drug of choice), their cellphones ringing as the men conduct their business. Bahadur also talks to some of the security personnel tasked with combating piracy, as well as with former pirate hostages who lived on their ships for months while awaiting news of a ransom. The Pirates of Somalia is a major first book by a young freelance journalist who talks his way into one of the world's most dangerous places.
In this remarkable book, Jay Bahadur ventures to the troubled mini-state of Puntland, a self-governing region in northeastern Somalia, to expose the lives of the bandits beyond the attack skiffs: how they spend their cash, how they conduct business, how they think and why they risk their lives in often suicidal missions. During his travels, Bahadur talks not only with the pirates, but also with the security personnel tasked with combatting their plundering. Whether chewing khat with the locals, accompanying Puntland’s president or meeting with former hostages who had been confined to their ships for months while awaiting news of a ransom, Bahadur has unparalleled access to all the major players, from government officialsto some of the most wanted outlaws in one of the world’s most dangerous places.
What are the lives of modern day pirates like outside of the attack skiffs? How do they spend their money? What clothes do they wear and what is their drug of choice? Deadly Waters takes us to the heart of Somalia, where Jay Bahadur, the intrepid 25-year-old author has ventured where most journalists fear to tread. As the 'go to' journalist for all major media, and with unparalleled access to all the major players, from government officials to local residents - and of course the pirates themselves - Bahadur sets out to discover who is behind the masked menaces who appear on the news.Exploring the politics and history of the self-governing region of Puntland, Bahadur looks at the challenges facing this troubled mini-state as piracy rises - and examines how the UN and other bodies are attempting to deal with the scourge of every sea-faring nation. Evocative and incisive, Deadly Waters is a highly original analysis of the international pirate crisis.
Providing a timely and never-before-seen perspective on the ever-increasing menace of Somali pirates, this account shows how the cargo ship and oil tanker hijackings and ransoms in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean have turned one of the world's busiest shipping lanes into one of the most dangerous. By way of one-on-one interviews with pirates, their associates, their victims, and those who police them, the book reveals piracy's origins, tactics, and increasing links to terrorists in Somalia, East Africa, and the Middle East, including Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. These sources point to a scenario in which Somali pirates might not just be out for themselves; they may be a part of a larger, more sinister infrastructure of global financiers and Islamic extremists that--if not dealt with soon--could greatly destabilize the region and perhaps threaten United States national security.
"I share the country's admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans." --President Barack Obama It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, the United States-flagged cargo ship which was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn't expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day stand-off, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors. "It never ends like this," Captain Phillips said. And he's right. A Captain's Duty tells the life-and-death drama of the Vermont native who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia's anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking--the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.
Rear Admiral Terry McKnight, USN (Ret.) served as Commander, Counter-Piracy Task Force-Gulf of Aden. He wrote the first draft of the Navy’s handbook on fighting piracy while serving as the initial commander of Combined Task Force 151, an international effort to deploy naval vessels from several nations in a manner designed to prevent piracy in the Gulf of Aden and farther out into the Indian Ocean. McKnight personally commanded operations that disrupted several hijackings in progress, and resulted in the capture of sixteen Somali pirates. That’s when he ran head-on into the bizarre U.S. policy of catch-and-release, and realized that there’s a lot more to fighting piracy than just catching some skinny youngsters armed with AK-47s and RPGs. After his tour in the waters off the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, he retired from the Navy and began seriously researching the subject. As a result, he and his co-author, journalist Michael Hirsh, have put together a very readable book that serves as a comprehensive introductory course on the subject. Pirate Alley includes a behind-the-scenes look at the SEAL Team 6 takedown of the pirates who had kidnapped Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama. It also reveals what a young Ph.D. candidate from Duke University found during three months on the ground in Somali pirate villages. Pirate Alley explores every aspect of Somali piracy, from how the pirates operate to how the actions of a relative handful of youthful criminals and their bosses have impacted the world economy. The book examines various answers to the question “How do you solve a problem like Somalia?” It explores the debate over the recently adopted practice of putting armed guards aboard merchant ships, and focuses on the best management practices that are changing the ways that ships are outfitted for travel through what’s known as the High Risk Area. Readers will learn that the consequence of protecting high quality targets such as container ships and crude oil carriers may be that pirates turn to crime on land, such as the kidnapping of foreigners. The work also focuses on the worldwide economic impact of piracy, noting that despite claims that piracy is costing as much as $13 billion a year, one of the largest commercial shipping companies argues that over-reaching national and international shipping regulations have a significantly greater negative effect on the world’s economy than does piracy. In the book’s conclusion, McKnight contends that, in the interest of justice, nations need to beef up their ability to prosecute and imprison captured pirates. And that the United States has no choice but to continue to hew to a policy that was first stated in Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution: The Congress shall have Power…to define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.

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