Sunday, December 21, 2008

Somalian Passage, Belgians are Waffling

In what part of the world are Iran, China, the US and other countries all working together? They have all send ships to patrol the waters off the coast of Somalia, trying to guard their country's cargo ships from pirates. This past year pirates have abducted over 100 ships, and still are holding 15 for ransom.

From the Christian Science Monitor:While their countrymen suffer through another political crisis and the looming threat of famine, pirates are splashing hundred-dollar bills like play money around the nowhere towns of northern Somalia.

Residents say the pirates are building houses, buying flashy cellphones and air-conditioned SUVs, gifting friends and relatives with hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, and winning the attention of beautiful women, who seem to be flocking to pirate towns from miles around.

Somalia is a very dangerous place right now. There has been no formal government since 1991, when warlords overthrew the elected government, and then turned on each other like a pack of rabid jackals. Two years ago a small peacekeeping force came in from members of the African Union, but nobody took over the leadership role in fighting the various groups of Islamist extremists in southern Somalia. Ethiopia sent troops in to help stabilize, but now they are going to have to withdraw their forces because of internal political problems of their own.

The fishing industry has almost been depleted, thanks to huge factory ships like the ones from Japan that ignore territorial rights. Also, many countries have been dumping 55 gallon containers of nuclear waste, which have been breaking up and contaminating the water.

So, being a pirate doesn't seem so bad. You get to run around shark infested waters, dodging war ships from at least three different countries, and now the UN has sanctioned that troops can chase you back up on land. Yo, ho, ho!

We really ought to adopt the Parliamentary form of government instead of our own inept copycat version. From the BBC: Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme has offered his government's resignation amid a growing row over the break-up and sale of the stricken bank, Fortis.
King Albert II has deferred the decision on whether to accept it, and has begun talks on how best to proceed.

Fortis is a victim of the US's economic crisis and has been left desperately short of cash. Its part owned by the government and they tried to sell it off quickly, but a freeze was put on the sale until it was determined more extensively what its problems were. The government tried to intervene, and because charges of corruption are now being bandied about, the Prime Minister has threatened to take the ball away and go home in no confidence. But, the King is the final arbiter, and if he rejects the resignation, like he did once before, the Prime Minister and his government stays around and get to do  pretty much whatever they want.

Gee, I wonder if President Bush would have gotten a vote of no confidence, and would have had to dissolve his government. My big question is, who would have been the king? Besides Dick Cheney...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi! Thanks for commenting. I always try to respond...