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Therefore, in looking at the locations where hijack-ransom piracy could spread, one of the key markers is the existence of actors who have network connections to Somalia’s pirate groups. These actors are the ones that Somali pirates interact with most frequently and are positioned to receive the tacit knowledge necessary to adopt Somali hijack-ransom piracy. There are two likely networks through which Somali piracy might diffuse: the Somali Diaspora and Al-Qaeda linked groups. The Somali Diaspora is global, though it has concentrations in East Africa, Europe and the U.S. There is anecdotal evidence of connections between Al-Qaeda (and affiliates) and Somali pirates, and there is certainly enough circumstantial evidence to assume that information passes between the groups. Additionally, the areas of southern Somalia under Al-Shabaab control represent the largest area “held” by an Al-Qaeda affiliated group, and have attracted a host of international militants.

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