ARMED INTERVENTION AND THE CHALLENGES OF MARITIME SECURITY IN THE GULF OF ADEN, 2008-2011
The economic collapse and civil war that ensued in Somalia after President Siad Barre gave rise to piracy, armed robbery and dumping of toxic wastes in and around the Gulf of Aden. The attendant humanitarian crisis attracted the intervention of the international community. This study evaluated armed intervention and the challenges of maritime security in the Gulf of Aden between 2008 and 2011. The objectives were to: (i) determine whether the application of the principle of political neutrality by the international community enhanced the intervention; (ii) explore whether the divergence in the interests of members of the international community undermined the task of combating piracy and armed robbery in the Gulf, and (iii) ascertain whether the intervention improved maritime security in the Gulf. The study was based on the ex-post-facto research design, and adopted qualitative method of data collection and analysis, using the social production and reproduction variant of the Marxian political economy approach. The study found that the application of the principle of political neutrality by the interveners did not enhance the intervention as it worked only in traditional armed interventions where the role of the intervening force was to police existing truce or settlement arrangements agreed to by both parties. Conflict of interests of the international community undermined the armed intervention as it provided the pirates the opportunity to pick and choose who and when to attack because of the lack of collaboration amongst the intervening forces. Finally, the armed intervention did not improve maritime security in the Gulf as the decline in the number of successful pirate attacks were due to the application of the Best Management Practices for Protection against Somalia Based Piracy (BMP4s), the use of private armed security guards on ships, and routing of ships away from the Gulf of Aden.