Poverty, poaching and pirates: Geopolitical instability and maritime insecurity off the Horn of Africa
The significant recent increase in acts of piracy and attacks against shipping off the Horn of Africa has resulted in unprecedented attention being focussed on the region and Somalia in particular. It is the case, however, that piracy represents only one consequence of the lack of meaningful maritime security in the region and especially off the Somali littoral. These threats are considered against the region's complex geographical, historical and geopolitical context. Key underlying causes for the lack of maritime security in the Horn of Africa are explored. The paper concludes that there is a fundamental need to restore law and order ashore in order to deliver security offshore and that, consequently, the prospects for success of the significant international maritime cooperation that has been engendered to combat the maritime security threats discussed, are bleak. © 2010 Indian Ocean Research Group.