NARCO Analysis: Pirates of Barbary

May 5, 2015

Will piracy reappear along Libya's coast?

Back in 1805, US Marines led an attack on Darna, in what is now Libya. Darna is, of course, back in the news, having become the stronghold of the Islamic State in North Africa. Two centuries ago, the US attack was part of a broader offensive - the First Barbary War - to combat piracy in the Mediterranean Sea. With the collapse of the state in Libya in 2014 and 2015, piracy and the Barbary Coast could be coming back. Mediterranean piracy’s revival would not only jeopardize maritime commerce, but could also provide an additional revenue source for violent non-state actors in Libya, including the Islamic State. And the more revenue violent non-state actors have, the harder it will be reckon with them whenever some semblance of a state is restored.

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