Term Paper: Piracy Maritime Terrorism

Pages: 35 (9854 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 20  ·  Topic: Terrorism  ·  Buy This Paper

Maritime Piracy and Terrorism in the Atlantic and Caribbean Oceans - a Methodology to Counteract

More than six years after the attacks of September 11th, 2001 showed the United States to be a nation deeply vulnerable to the type of attacks which are favored by terrorist organizations, the security policies and approaches to protecting the American people and America's friends and interests remain deeply impeachable. Security responses relating to the combat of foreign wars, the bureaucratic consolidation of American security agencies, the enhancement of surveillance freedoms to be used against the American people and the selling of America's port security to a state-run firm in the United Arab Emirates are all suggestive of a government which has not taken the proper steps to address the specific threat of terrorism in ways that are valid or effective.

This draws the attention of the discussion here to the issues of America's maritime safety. Using the events of the bombings of the U.S.S. Cole, the attacks of September 11th and the emergency management breakdowns of Hurricane Katrina, this research examination will show the United States to be unprepared for the threat of a significant maritime attack and that emergency management resources are woefully insufficient to prepare for the economic, infrastructural and human tolls of such an attack.

With the focus directed on the crucial Caribbean trade route through which so much of America's imported petroleum flows, we can see that the threat and vulnerability of an attack in which a terrorist organization used an inbound oil-tanker as a weapon of mass destruction are substantial. Recommendations to be drawn on the discussion of America's core security shortcomings will suggest that greater coordination between the U.S. And other states must be implemented in order to reduce piracy, that America's port security must be returned to American-based security groups and that America's approach to the War on Terror must be generally reoriented.

Introduction:

On the morning of September 11th, there appeared only a singular meaning to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. While indefinable in any concrete terms, it was embodied in the shared experience of shock, horror and helplessness that shadowed Americans. The at first incomprehensible notion suggested on live television by the black plumes that cut through the New York skyline, that the World Trade Center and its inhabitants were no more, has since become the subtext to our times. The hijacking of four commercial airliners, and the subsequent attempted targeting of various strategic locations on continental U.S. soil, marked the first of such incidences to succeed on such a broad and grim scale. Though a group of al Qaeda operatives had been connected to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, it still seemed in the clearing smoke and debris omnipresent in the first days after 9/11 that such a plot as that which was executed to a degree of terrifying success would have been previously unthinkable.

In the years which have passed since, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the likelihood that this is a deliberately projected mischaracterization of what really took place in the months and days leading up to September 11th. While the Bush Administration has been most forthcoming, many might even suggest unconstitutionally draconian, in its allotment of retribution for the deaths of nearly 3,000 on 9/11, it has been most reluctant to accept any internal responsibility for the security failings which facilitated the attack. However, a serious consideration of accounts from within the administration, which tend to contradict one another with alarming frequency and unrepentance, tell a story which deviates from what the mainstream media portrays. What has been perhaps most telling about the Bush Administration's unwillingness to confront the factual details surrounding September 11th is the nonsensical contrast between the implications of the event and the opportunistic, internationally despised responses which the administration has been unwavering in applying. What is implied by this is a misdirection of efforts and a misappropriation of resources as the administration has foregone the proper steps at orienting America's security. Its focus on the abstractions of foreign war and privacy invasive policy initiative as will be further explored in this account denote an administration that has failed to recognize the core qualities of attack innovation, opportunity exploitation and vulnerability penetration which could be seen on 9/11.

Such is to say that this discussion is based on the current failures and shortcomings in Americas security as they relate reciprocally to the incapacity of the U.S. federal government to meaningfully construct obstacles to terrorist initiative. The focus here will be on the maritime theatre, and through the Caribbean trade route which plays an absolutely vital role in America's trade economy. Across this route, where tankers carrying Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) or petroleum or both bound for the United States and markedly vulnerable to seafaring piracy, is presented a threat to the United States which would mirror in these qualities of innovation, exploitation and penetration the events of 9/11. In the opportunity and potential scale of a maritime attack by such a method as rendering an LNG tanker as a Weapon of Mass Destruction, as well as in the inherent vulnerabilities of the United States in this context, there is cause for the focus on categorical improvements by the U.S. As will be argued for here.

As this discussion proceeds upon this premise, it must be acknowledged that much as with the scale and effectiveness of the 9/11 attacks, no prior precedent currently exists for assuming that our capabilities are up to par with the degree of the threat of the extensiveness of its catastrophic outcome. Indeed, "although this mode of attack has not yet been used by terrorists, it is not without precedent. The British used the obsolete destroyer, HMS Campbeltown, loaded with explosives to attack the heavily defended dry dock of the St. Nazaire in occupied France during World War II. They rammed the dock and then detonated the charges onboard. This demonstrates the feasibility and effects of such an 'improvised weapon of mass destruction (WMD)." (Mitchell, 2) the very prospect of this makes many of the conditions today contextualizing America's defensive and securities strategies concerning the nation and its ports essentially and deeply flawed.

Statement of Problem:

The imperative surrounding this examination is the legitimate threat of maritime terrorism, based on precedent, demonstrated intent and current vulnerability. Such is to say that for the United States in particular, and its friends and allies, the threat of a maritime terrorist attack on a seafaring vessel or a port is extremely high. Conditions are in many ways favorable to this method for terrorist, whom this examination will demonstrate have comparably fewer levels of scrutiny to penetrate in order to achieve their aims.

At the heart of this danger is the prospect of a major attack on an American port, or along an American trade sea route that directly mirrors the attacks of September 11th. Namely, just as airplanes were used as missiles to make key strikes at civilian and military structures on United States soil, so too can it be considered a real prospect that American bound sea vessels could be used in the same way. The attraction to U.S. ports as a potential target is manifold and parallels in many ways the attractions which drew terrorists to the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Namely, the certainty of extensive civilian casualties, infrastructural damage, economic loss and strategic emergency management breakdown as had occurred in midtown Manhattan on September 11th could in some way be anticipated as the result of an attack on any major American port.

This is especially true in direct consideration of the Caribbean trade route which remains essential to the United States economy. The Eastern Seaboard, through which much of America's economic lifeblood is pumped also serves as the point of entry for a significant portion of America's imported petroleum, and much of that comes from this nearby region. In spite of this, security attention has been fixed in regions more notorious for terror activity, demonstrating a failure to acknowledge the patterns of innovation and unpredictability amongst evolving terror cells. Indeed, "while all eyes are placed on the area surrounding the Malacca Straits, the world oil bottleneck, and on the Indonesian coast off Aceh, very little attention is placed on the U.S. underbelly of the Caribbean and the softer targets in the region closest to America's back yard: Trinidad, Venezuela and the Bahamas. These Caribbean countries are among the short list of natural gas producing countries and liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) exporters." (Kelshall, 1) Within the boundaries of this trade route, there still persists a great vulnerability, even more than five years after the September 11th attacks which are said to have shifted the attention of America's defenses to the prevention of terrorism. America's ports are still notoriously porous and susceptible to the creative forces of terrorism.

And the particular concept of using a tanker as a potential… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Piracy Maritime Terrorism.  (2008, May 13).  Retrieved June 18, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/piracy-maritime-terrorism/695925

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"Piracy Maritime Terrorism."  Essaytown.com.  May 13, 2008.  Accessed June 18, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/piracy-maritime-terrorism/695925.