Somalis are at the front in the fight against terror. The Kenyans’ view, however, according to the Newsweek article, “After Garissa, Kenyans and Somalis Face Divided Future,” of putting the entire blame on Somalis is both unfair and unhelpful. Many Kenyans including the Newsweek interviewee misread the situation politically. Al-Shabab members are brutal Muslims with a political agenda which would pit Kenyans against each other on religious lines in order to ease the pressure on the Kenyan forces in Kismayo. They want us to go into their trenches because the rest of the world considers Somalis to be fair game. I urge you to not buy this.
Al-Shabab was waging small-scale “Jihads” in Kenya long before Kenyan armed forces ever set a foot on Somali soil. The government sent troops to Somalia to root out Al-Shabab or at least to avert further attacks in Kenya that severely harmed its tourism industry. The decision was right.
Al-Shabab is an enemy to both Kenyans and Somalis and must be viewed in that way or we play into Al-Shabab’s hands.
“Kenya, a bulwark against the spread of Islamic terrorism in Africa, has received billions of dollars in foreign funding for its security services,” according to Newsweek. Kenya is waging someone “else’s war” for a song and the Kenyan government has done so in response to attacks from Somalia. That’s clear.
The ruling party struggles to save face domestically for the prolonged “crusade” in Somalia and recurrent attacks by the terrorists. The recent one in Garissa might have diminished Kenyans’ support for the war but Kenyans, despite the horrors of soft targets, need to be resilient until the last terrorist is either killed or captured alive. We shouldn’t let terrorists feel victorious nor should we feel vanquished. As Winston S. Churchill said, “Never, never, never give in!”
President Obama’s tour to the Horn of Africa region is timely. Although it may not bring about a breakthrough, it will boost the declining morale of the peacemakers in Somalia and those who have suffered military setbacks.
All-out war is a must until they or we prevail, no compromise except one that leads to peace.
Maintaining military means may not be enough because NATO has failed to improve the security situation in Afghanistan for close to two decades. Other solutions ought to be tried. Maybe hiring sheikhs to act as bulwarks against the radicalizing of youth? The Blair Faith Foundation of Imams ought to be dispatched.
Talking directly should not be off the table. The IRA and Afghanistan provide examples.