Monday, April 16, 2012

IONS Conference Ends

Friday 13th was the last day of  the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) Conference in South Africa. And the meeting ended with the confirmation that the members will, under the mandate of the UN, 'neutralise the camps and hideouts of the pirates in Somalia'.

IONS, composed of 35 countries, including Australia, Egypt, France, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Mozambique, Myanmar, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, the UAE, and Yemen, was also attended by many countries as observers. It was a large conference with the Chiefs of Navies from at least 50 countries present.

IONS is following the path of the EU, who towards the end of last year announced that they wanted to allow excursions on Somali land to hunt pirates. It was reported as if it was a completely new initiative, however what it is doing is legallising current practise.

In March 2012 the EU confirmed that Atalanta could now hunt pirates on the land, however for Germany to become involved in on-shore attacks a new mandate has to be passed in the German parliament.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Controlling the Resources

The Australian mining company, Jacka Resouces has just announced that it will be joining three other international companies: Ophir Energy, Asante Oil and Prime Resources, in setting up camp in Somalia. This announcement comes only a month after the much touted London Conference on Somalia.

The February London Conference was seen by some people as nothing more than another attempt to further carve up Somali resources. Jacka's announcement confirms it.

At the Conference there was little or nothing done to protect the Somalian coastline from either the international IUUs fishing boats or other vessels dumping toxic waste in the region. The focus of the Conference was on making Somalia and the waters around the Horn of Africa safer for international trade. It also focused on strengthening the presence of foreign forces in Somalia itself, building more prisons in Somalia to hold convicted 'pirates' and opening Somalia up to more trade.

Countries represented at the Conference agreed that more money and resources will be poured into expanding the forces already present in the Gulf region; the UN has already agreed that the role of AMISOM (the African Union Mission in Somalia) is to be expanded.

The Conference concluded with the call for 'all countries to coordinate activities against terrorism and piracy and to bring stability to Somalia'. Words that many see as an excuse to control the resources not only off the coast of Somalia, but also the purported reserves of natural gas, iron ore, tin, uranium, copper and other metals present in Somalia.

The Australian company Jacka Resources could be one of the first foreign companies to strike it rich. It would be interesting to see if Jacka is connected with Orica Limited, a publicly-listed Australian company that has been linked with the dumping of toxic waste off the coast of Somalia.