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ISBN: 978-9948-04-393-5

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11 Jul 2022
Strategic Trends Series (12)

DEFUSED BUT NOT ERADICATED: SOMALI PIRACY AND THE EU COUNTER-PIRACY STRATEGY

Leonardo Jacopo Maria Mazzucco

Abstract

The waters off the Somali coast represent a strategic passage on the global maritime map and a critical intersection for sea routes connecting ports worldwide. With criminal networks weaponizing the global maritime lanes, the direct and indirect material costs of piracy have highlighted that it is as much a problem for littoral states as it is for the entire globe. In an effort to create a stable and secure water space, the European Union (EU) has taken the initiative to curb piracy off the Somali coast. The EU counter-piracy approach based on three sister missions enabled Brussels to balance between value-based concerns and utility-based justifications, proving that it can be a security provider without denying its normative responsibilities. Though the number of attacks on vessels crossing the Somali water basin has visibly decreased during the last decade and piracy has been brought back to a security challenge of a more manageable proportion, the safety of navigation off the Somali coast still lies on shaky foundations. The fate of maritime security off the Somali coast is deeply intertwined with stabilizing the country’s political turmoil and neutralizing regional tensions. The multifaceted nature of the piracy file requires the definition and implementation of comprehensive strategies integrating military efforts with initiatives specifically tailored to address the root causes of piracy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leonardo Jacopo Maria Mazzucco is a Researcher in the Strategic Studies Department at TRENDS, Research & Advisory. He is also a Research Assistant at Gulf State Analytics (GSA), a Washington-based geopolitical risk consultancy. Mr Mazzucco has an MA degree in Comparative International Relations from Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. He has also completed a second MA degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the Graduate School of Economics and International Relations at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan, Italy.
Mr Mazzucco's papers have been published by numerous outlets, such as the Middle East Institute, Inside Arabia, the Middle East Institute - National University of Singapore, and the Arab Gulf State Institute in Washington (AGSIW). His research interests focus on geopolitics and maritime security in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, with a particular interest in security affairs of the Gulf region."