In one of the Bush administration's last major foreign policy initiatives, the United States circulated a draft UN Security Council resolution seeking international authorisation to hunt pirates on land with the cooperation of Somalia's weak UN-backed government.
The draft on Wednesday proposes that all nations and regional groups cooperating with Somalia's government in the fight against piracy and armed robbery "may take all necessary measures ashore in Somalia," including its airspace.
Presumably that could involve the US military; if so, it would mark a remarkable turnabout from the US experience in Somalia in the final days of President George H W Bush's administration in 1992, leading in late 1993 to a deadly US military clash in Mogadishu and the humiliating US withdrawal.
The US-drafted resolution is to be presented at a session on Somalia next Tuesday with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
It proposes that for a year nations "may take all necessary measures ashore in Somalia, including in its airspace, to interdict those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate or undertake acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea and to otherwise prevent those activities."
The draft resolution also notes that Somalia's government - whose president wrote the UN twice this month already seeking help - suffers from a "lack of capacity, domestic legislation, and clarity about how to dispose of pirates after their capture.