World News and Trends: Pirates plague the Horn of Africa

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Pirates plague the Horn of Africa

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The Horn of Africa is a large peninsula of East Africa on which sits four countries: Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia. American soldiers are stationed in Somalia, a nation which has been in the international news quite a lot in recent times. This country has been plagued by the presence of some 1,000 pirates in the Gulf of Aden (situated at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula between Yemen and Somalia), one of the most important sea trade routes in the world. Nations such as Russia, France and India have sent naval forces to both protect and rescue cargo ships from Somali pirates, being specially authorized by the United Nations Security Council to enter these waters. But there are huge sums for the taking at stake, and these risk-taking pirates have proved very persistent—making these waters perpetually dangerous for merchant vessels. The Horn of Africa itself remains no stranger to violence and continual conflict. As the global affairs magazine North-South states, the Horn "is one of the most complex and deeply troubled regions of both Africa and the world and over the last 50 years it has suffered some of the continent's most brutal and enduring conflicts while the antagonisms aroused by these conflicts reach back generations and have become the basis for continuing rivalries and suspicions: They include wars between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Ethiopia and Somalia and civil wars in Ethiopia and Somalia" (North South, June 2010). (Source: North-South.)

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