Securitising piracy: A maritime peace mission off the Horn of Africa?
Piracy forms part of a wider array of maritime threats and vulnerabilities that are seeping into the African security landscape. While landward peacekeeping by the United Nations (UN) and other regional organisations dominates the literature - particularly with regard to Africa - piracy has become a maritime threat that has drawn significant international attention since 2007 and has become the object of international securitisation activities. Securitisation as speech acts by interested parties articulating the threats piracy hold, communication of the threat to several audiences and calling for their support and actions, as well as responses by member states, galvanised international cooperation against piracy off the Somali coast. By 2008 the UN played a prominent role in the securitisation process by creating a more conducive operating environment against piracy through four UN Security Council resolutions. The deployment of scarce naval platforms by member states in response to the UN call for action poses the question of whether a UN maritime mission is taking shape off the Horn of Africa. However, the naval response serves both UN peace support activities in the Horn of Africa and significant national and other economic interests. It appears that the naval cooperation off the Horn does not reflect an emergent UN maritime mission in support of the Somali debacle, but the question of an emergent UN maritime mission does offer fertile ground for further research. © 2011 Institute for Security Studies.