Going On the Account: Against All Flags, or The Enemy Of My Enemy…

Today, we had one of those strange stories about the rescue of the Al Mulahi by the USS Kidd.  Ends up that one of the destroyers that are part of the battle group accompanying  the USS John C. Stennis  came to the rescue of 13 Iranian fisherman seized by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Oman.  Yes, the same USS Stenis that was told not to come back through the Straits of Hormuz by the Iranian defense forces.  Yes, a destroyer that was part of a battle group which proceeded to save 13 nationals from a country that threatened their existence just two days before.


I don’t know if there is a fully developed concept of “piracy diplomacy,” the same way that there was the concept of “earthquake diplomacy” that allowed the Greeks and Turks to exchange help back in 1999, or the way the west helped Armenia in 1989 after their quake disaster.  Admittedly, the concept of pirates being “against all flags” which technically made them at war with all civilized powers since the concept of piracy began, making it the eighth or ninth oldest profession, should have been enshrined before now.  And considering that we have the US, the NATO forces, and most of the BRIC countries actively engaged in anti-piracy efforts off the west coast of Africa, you would think there’d be something in place.


Admittedly, some folks (including the Lovely and Talented Susan) might assume that the regime in Iran might blame us for having seized the crew in the first place and might tell their peoples that we had somehow put the fishermen in danger ourselves.  I’d like to hope that the Iranians are not so easily induced to believe a load of hogwash of that magnitude.  Any people with a coast would hopefully be aware of where the bad waters are and would not buy into such blatant stupidity; considering the tensions between the president and the mullahs, though, it’s not hard to imagine one side going to extremes on this one…
But back to the main point:  Wouldn’t it be something if it ends up that pirates are what bring together states that would otherwise be against each other.  Admittedly, the mutual animosity most of the world had against the Barbary pirates did not allow warring states during the Napoleonic Era to find ways to avoid from going to war with each other.  If history is any guide (and admittedly, she’s not been the greatest of guides as of late), we will still find reasons to take arms against each other even if the Brethren of the (African) Coast are against all of us.


Which is a shame; the idea of being able to grant a pirate a Nobel Peace Prize by accident does have some appeal…


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