An un-named Muslim country is funding the creation of a well-armed and privately trained militia force in Somalia's north to fight piracy, the AP reports today. And behind the scenes consulting are the George W. Bush administration's former ambassador at large for war crimes, Pierre Prosper, and former CIA deputy station chief in Mogadishu Michael Shanklin. The force has already trained its first recruits (Saracen, a private security firm, is taking the lead) and recieved its first shipment of weapons. And most incredibly of all, it will have air support -- something that no military force in the country currently has, even the U.N. peacekeepers.
It would be interesting to find out who is funding this. Egypt stands to loose if less traffic pays for tolls through the Suez Canal. Dubai on the other hand has built a major port that offers little more than transshipment, the type of work that could easily be moved elsewhere to other routes. The Saudi kingdom ships most of their oil through the Gulf of Aden and up to Europe.