WSJ story where chart caught my eye: pull out the Somali bump-up and the rest of global piracy is basically flat from 2005 through 2009. Because of Somali pirates, the total number of attacks has been increase by about 50%, meaning Somalia alone now accounts for roughly one-third.
The twist: al Shabaab, the youth militant successor to the Islamic Courts Union (kicked out of Mogadishu by the Ethiopian military three years ago) used to just tax the pirates, but now it fields its own boats and speaks of "sea jihad." This is viewed primarily as a revenue-raising effort, because few American-flagged ships pass by there (Maersk Alabama was a relatively rare passage). And with average ransoms paid now up to $2m (double the average of last year).
The good news? The booming market for pirates suffers a talent dearth, as multinational navy response officers are noticing a steep decline in proficiency.