Anyone think this might be a sign of Geert Wilders’ excellent influence in the Parliament of the Netherlands?
The Dutch navy will be allowed to fight pirates on Somali territory. A majority in Dutch parliament agreed with Defence Minister, Hans Hillen, today that the anti-piracy effort has to be upgraded. Minister Hillen guarantees, however, that the Dutch won’t be involved in the fight against terrorism that is currently being fought in Somalia.
Since 2008, the Netherlands participate in EU and NATO efforts to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia. It will ccontinue to do so in the foseeable future. The Dutch navy will us the existing UN mandate to perform pre-emptive strikes on pirates ashore. In the next few years the Netherlands will deploy several navy vessels and one sub-marine off the coast of Somalia, in order to prevent pirates from hijacking ships. “If we observe that people are loading a dhow (common pirate vessel, ed.) then I will not guarantee that forces won’t go there to prevent pirates to start their action”, says Hillen.
The Dutch ministry will not inform its Somali counterpart in Mogadishu in the event of a strike on land. According to Hillen, it is not a necessity to do so since the attacks will only be preventive.
Raymond Knops, MP for the Christian-Democratic People’s Party who supports the plans, says that the people living near the coast of Somalia shouldn’t be afraid. The rules of engagement that the Dutch troops have is confidential, so there is no information on whether Dutch troops can shoot at sight or only use arms in self-defense. But Knops assures that the Dutch have no hostile intent. “The people who live there won’t be affected at all. Just don’t co-locate with pirates, than you are in danger too.”
Minister of Defence Hans Hillen guarantees that the Dutch troops will not engage in the war against terrorism in Somalia. Currently, UN and African Union troops are fighting heavy battles with troops aligned with the Union of Islamic Courts, and Al Shabaab. MP Knops, however, thinks this stance is
- Dutch sailors and shipowners desperate for anti-piracy law
- No private security yet for Dutch merchant fleet
- Pirates to be tried in Dutch courts
contradictory: “I think there is a close relationship between terrorism and piracy. These guys are not the Pirates of the Caribbean as we know them in the movies, (…) we can’t rule out that we have to deal and fight with terrorists!”
The Royal Netherlands Shipowners Asscociation, KNVR, calls the parliamentary decision an ‘improvement’.