Political Conflict

Stable Seas: Somali Waters

Author(s): Curtis Bell, Ben Lawellin
Date: May 1, 2017
Publication Type: Research Report
Research Topics: Political Conflict

Overview:

This report shows how complex issues like illegal fishing, coastal violence, and human trafficking intersect to create a uniquely insecure maritime environment in Somali waters. Regional conflicts have shifted human migration flows, and this has further accelerated the smuggling of both trafficked persons and arms across the Gulf of Aden. Poor fisheries management contributed to the emergence of Somali piracy. Poor governance and weak economic conditions contributed to the emergence of violent non-state actors like ISIS and al-Shabaab, and now these groups are further undermining political and economic systems. Maritime insecurity has enriched these non-state actors, further weakening governance onshore. Peace will be difficult to achieve without better maritime security, and maritime security will continue to be evasive as long as the region remains so unstable.

Key Findings:

  • The strategic location of the Somali region and its poor governance capacity makes it a central hub in several illicit transnational networks with connections across much of the Western Indian Ocean.
  • Criminal networks are adaptive, seeking new ways to profit from poor maritime governance.
  • Maritime security, free from all forms of criminal profiteering, can only be obtained through building the capacity to manage and patrol Somali waters over the long term.
  • Undermining criminal networks and addressing their root causes requires an all-inclusive approach that issue-specific methods are unlikely to resolve.

Related Publications

Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Business Participation in the Responsibility to Protect

Written by Conor Seyle on April 26, 2013

Past research on business engagement with human rights, peace, and security has identified specific reasons why national and transnational companies may be interested in participating, as well as how they have contributed to protecting human rights

Read more

Governance, Democracy and Peace: How State Capacity and Regime Type Influence the Prospects for War and Peace

Written by Conor Seyle, David Cortright, Kristen Wall on April 26, 2013

This white paper offers a synthetic review of empirical evidence on the elements of state governance that affect interstate and intrastate armed conflict. In the first part of the paper we examine state capacity and institutional quality.

Read more
Criminal Court and Torture

Does the International Criminal Court Deter Torture?

Written by Eamon Aloyo, Yvonne M. Dutton, Lindsay Heger on March 8, 2013

Despite widespread commitment to the international human rights regime, human rights abuses persist and go unpunished.

Read more
Terrorism and Political Violence

Organizing for Resistance: How Group Structure Impacts the Character of Violence

Written by Danielle Jung, Wendy H. Wong, Lindsay Heger on November 15, 2012

How does the way in which a group organizes change the lethality of the group's attacks? In this article, we argue that groups organized vertically as hierarchies are likely to conduct more lethal attacks.

Read more
Failures in Somalia

Twenty Years of Collapse and Counting: The Cost of Failure in Somalia

Written by John Norris, Bronwyn Bruton on September 19, 2011

This paper explores the staggeringly high costs of the crises response rather than the crises prevention approach by looking at the case of Somalia.

Read more
Maritime Piracy

Maritime Piracy

Written by Roberta Spivak, Robert Haywood on August 19, 2011

Maritime Piracy is now a pressing global issue, and this work seeks to provide a concise and informative introduction to the area.

Read more

Pages