[Dehai-WN] Pambazuka.org/en: Kenya: The Quixotic Invasion of Somalia Will Devastate Kenya

[Dehai-WN] Pambazuka.org/en: Kenya: The Quixotic Invasion of Somalia Will Devastate Kenya

From: Berhane Habtemariam <Berhane.Habtemariam_at_gmx.de_at_dehai.org>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 19:47:40 +0200

 <http://allafrica.com/kenya/> Kenya: The Quixotic Invasion of Somalia Will
Devastate Kenya

Onyango Oloo

28 October 2011



Kenya's military invasion of Somalia ostensibly to pursue the Al Shabaab
terrorists is unconstitutional and unnecessary, argues Onyango Oloo. The war
is part of a larger US/NATO geo-political agenda to 'stabilize' the Horn of
Africa in line with wider imperialist interests

Let me start with a warning: This link contains very graphic, gory and
disturbing images.

Those forlorn, bloated young corpses roasting in the scorching Somali sun
could very well be the remains of recently expired Kenyan combat troops.
There has been a lot of fervent flag waving, agitated anthem intoning and
cheesy chest thumping over the last few days all across the country.
Nairobi-based television anchors have exchanged their ill-fitting suits for
equally bizarre military fatigues in a pathetic attempt to reprise the
recurring martial misadventures of CNN and BBC superstars like Christiane
Anampour, Nic Robertson et al.

The hyped-up Kenyan jingoism, misplaced machismo and boisterous braggadocio
has left an overwhelming feeling ravaging through my body: A sense of nausea
and profound disgust.

As our preening neo-colonial chieftains, who get their talking points from
Washington, London ,Brussels and other capitals of the West, try to out-bush
Bush and out-blair Blair in banging the drums of war and clanging the
cymbals of foreign intervention , the hapless citizens are reduced to an
abject bleating national choir of meek sheep endorsing every propaganda
sound byte of the cynical warmongers in cabinet and the self-serving

But first things first. This war is unnecessary. It is illegal. It is fake.
It is doomed to fail.


What ostensibly 'provoked' the impulsive invasion of Somalia by armed-to-the
teeth Kenyan military troops was a criminal act involving the kidnapping of
a couple of foreigners by bandits who could even turn out to be Kenyans, the
assumption that they are definitely Somali born, bred and based Al Shabaab
militants notwithstanding.

The response which could have been apt was a police response; not an
uncalled for massive military operation for crying out loud! The details of
this suggested police intervention need not have precluded covert
coordination with our security organs - Kenyan and non-Kenyan.


The supreme law in Kenya is the constitution. What does the Kenyan
constitution say? On state of emergency: '58. (1) A state of emergency may
be declared only under Article 132 (4) (d) and only when - (a) the State is
threatened by war, invasion, general insurrection, disorder, natural
disaster or other public emergency."

Role of the National Assembly: '95. (6) The National Assembly approves
declarations of war and extensions of states of emergency.'

Term of Parliament: '102. (2) When Kenya is at war, Parliament may, by
resolution supported in each House by at least two-thirds of all the members
of the House, from time to time extend the term of Parliament by not more
than six months at a time.'

Functions of the president: '132. (4) The President may - (d) subject to
Article 58, declare a state of emergency; (e) with the approval of
Parliament, declare war.'

Everyone knows what happened. The minister for internal security flanked by
his ministry of defence counterpart informed Kenyans through a press
conference that Kenya was at war, in total violation of the constitutional


Because Kenyans have been lied to. Contrary to the impression that this is
an angry national reaction to a recent provocation, the fact of the matter
is that this military operation has been in the planning pipeline for quite
some time. According to impeccable sources who are quite familiar with the
inside workings of Kenya's military, intelligence and security machinations,
what is happening in Somalia is part of a detailed and coordinated
Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGAD) joint
intervention in Somalia with specific roles for Ethiopia, the Transitional
Federal Government in Mogadishu, the African Union troops and the Kenyan

A story published in the October 28, 2011 issue of the Africa Report cites
the Kenyan political leadership at the highest echelons admitting that an
earlier plan to go after Al-Shabaab covertly from Kenya using specially
trained elite forces recruited from the Kenyan ethnic Somali population
floundered after most of these recruits deserted after their training.

Far from this incursion into Somalia being propelled by a patriotic Kenyan
desire to defend the country it turns out that we are just pawns in the
larger US/NATO geo-political agenda to 'stabilize' the Horn of Africa region
in line with the wider imperialist agenda of consolidating world monopoly
capital which has of late been buffeted by a severe crisis in the United
States itself, the meltdown of the Euro in Europe and growing protests by
the burgeoning global Occupy Wall Street inspired citizen mass actions.
There is a connection between the Kenyan military foray into Oddo, Kismayu
and other towns and the NATO-led bombing of Libya and the ultimate brutal
slaughter of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his loyalists in Sirte.

Closer to home, the military misadventure in Somalia may provide the excuse
for some of these Kenyan political criminals in power to go for a horrendous
cash grab to bolster the 2012 war chest for their various presidential bids.

Think about it: What is the least transparent aspect of the Kenyan budgetary
process? Allocating funds to the military and national intelligence and
security services. Using the guise and pretext of safeguarding some
undefined 'national security interests', the mandarins in the Treasury, the
well-connected technocrats and 'securocrats' at the Department of Defence
(DOD), the backroom boys at State House, the apparatchiks at the various
party headquarters and the merchants of impunity in parliament and the
errand boys in the civil service could very well conspire to steal billions
of Kenyan taxpayers' money with the excuse that these funds are paying for
the operations in Somalia.

On a related note, a close friend of mine told me the other day that some of
the ICC connected players in PNU and ODM are blackmailing Prime Minister
Raila Odinga into being part of this Somalia circus because they hope to
delay or even postpone next year's presidential and general elections hoping
to buy time in case any of the Ocampo Six are confirmed for trial at the

By declaring a conventional military offensive against a loose militia with
a penchant for guerrilla tactics, it is apparent that the Kenyan government
has not learned anything from the last 50 years of contemporary conflicts -
from Vietnam, through Northern Ireland, Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Eritrea,
Uganda, Iraq to Colombia.

The Kenyan regime could prove very gullible ideologically to the
machinations of Al Shabaab. Remember, Kenyans in the north and among
sections of the country's Muslim population may be vulnerable and even
receptive to overtures from pro-Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab elements who may
portray the conflict with the Kenyan state in religious terms as a jihad
against pro-Western infidels headquartered in Nairobi. There have been
credible reports of Kenyans being recruited or acting as recruiters for both
Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda.

Tactically it might not be very wise to unleash all this machismo and
braggadocio with reckless talk of 'bring it on'. Remember the kind of people
who join outfits like Al Shabaab see themselves as martyrs to higher
spiritual causes who are quite ready and more than willing to strap
themselves with explosives and blow themselves up as suicide bombers, so it
will take more than threats of tanks and fighter jets to cow them into
abject submission.

Here is an excerpt from a Somaliland blog carrying an opinion piece by Dr
Dirrir Ali, which might prove interesting reading for Kenyans:

'Long before Restore Hope, the joint UN and USA humanitarian campaign in
Somalia in early 1990s, a consultant to the UN on Somalia advised the USA
administration to attempt everything else but not war with Somalis. In his
opinion, war is the thing Somalis know best. The USA did not heed that
precious advice and we all remember the way that campaign went wrong - it
ended with the famous Black hawk down and that was the last USA chapter of
waging war in Somalia - at least an open and all out ground war. That UN
consultant is called Mr John Drysdale. He knew the closing stages of the
campaign even before it was waged. He was not a fortune teller; Mr Drysdale
was some one who had firsthand experience of what Somalis are capable of
accomplishing in the war field. He was the British administrator of
Somaliland more than four decades prior to the debut of that campaign.

'The Ethiopians were not dissuaded by the US experience in Somalia. They did
not either learn much from their centuries-old wars with Somalis and with
the help of the US air power, they too attacked and captured Mogadishu, but
their victory did not last long and they were also compelled to a
humiliating withdrawal after Somalis taught them a lesson in urban and
guerrilla warfare.

'Now it appears that Kenyans did not learn much about the history of Somali
warfare. In my opinion they too have made very bad miscalculations and do
not understand that all Somalis are not the murderous Al-shabaab group and
the Transitional Federal Government. The Somali population is not the weak
and famine-devastated thousands that live in refugee camps in the old
Northern Frontier District (NFD), which it self is a Somali region given to
Kenya in the early 1960s, after Kenya gained its independence from Britain.
NFD is one of the five Somali territories represented in the star on the
Somalia flag. Besides NFD, the other four Somali territories are Somalia,
The Republic of Djibouti, The self administered Somali region in Ethiopia
and the Republic of Somaliland.

'If Kenyans fancy to believe that they could win a war and defeat Somalis,
it is passable for them to accept as true what they believe, but the truth
of the matter is they are playing with inextinguishable fire - a greater
Somali fire. Starting a war in this region can easily instigate Somalis to
reclaim their Northern Frontier District (NFD). Therefore, it is my
brotherly advise to Kenyans to withdraw immediately before Somalis beat the
drums of war. Believe me that will not be a good sign for the Kenyans. To
give you an example of what that could mean, the recent Kenyan civil unrest
will feel just like a picnic in warm summer day on Mount Kilimanjaro.

'Since its independence from Italy, Somalia is wounded by civil war, famine,
terrorism and corrupt incompetent consecutive regimes, but Somalis are far
from dead and are strong enough to inflict everlasting damage to an
aggressor. They are also blessed with Muslim and Arab brethren, who will not
hesitate to assist them to rebel all enemies from all Somali territories.

'Kenyans have no business crossing the borders to Somalia; it is illegal
under international law and it is morally wrong. If they have beef with
Al-Shabaab then they must fight them in their own territory and not inside
Somalia. Kenyans must not arrogantly over estimate their economic and
military power and must keep in mind that only Somalis are capable of
defeating Somalis and no body else. They must bear in mind that their
country is very easily susceptible to fractures along ethnic lines. By
starting a war with Somalis, the Kenyan economy and tourism industry can be
devastated within hours. It must realize that it can not win the wars lost
by super powers. Kenya must not be fooled by the guys who call themselves
the TFG of Somalia; these guys lack morality, education, experience and live
their lives under the protection of the Ugandan forces in their home -
Mogadishu. They can be bought and sold in a junk yard. If the Kenyans trust
the strategic analysis of these TFG guys then they are deficient in

'Somalis know too well the illegal Somalia territorial waters concession
made to Kenya by the illegal and morally corrupt TFG. Somalis are aware of
the Azania project that is established by Kenyans through a mercenary force
headed by Mr. Gandi, a power hungry opportunist. Somalis quite appreciate
Kenya's geopolitical ambitions, both short and long term strategies. By
looking at realities on the ground, these Kenyan dreams are far from
becoming true. Kenyan politicians must clear their heads of the myths and
wrong assumptions. They are not able to conquer more territories from
Somalis, but instead the Northern Frontier District might go back to the
hands of Somalis.

'In recent years Kenya has been enriched with the looting of Somalia in the
pretext of international assistance through the NGOs mafia who consider the
humanitarian assistance, war and drought confounded Somalis as their
personal spoils of war. Not only that, but Kenya is also benefiting from
Somalis who bring with them capital, technical and business expertise to
that corruption-ridden East African country. Somalis have both directly and
indirectly created jobs for millions of Kenyans. Thus, Kenya has benefited
from Somalia more than any country in the world. For those simple reasons,
Kenyans should be grateful to the Somalis and must not try to slaughter the
goose that laid the golden eggs.

'Kenya, and for that matter any other neighbouring country, must think twice
before venturing to play with the Somali fire; it will never die out easily.
Somalis might consider moving their businesses and investments from Kenya to
neighbouring Republic of Somaliland and the Republic of Djibouti. Both
Somaliland and Djibouti are eager to receive their Somali brethren and their
investments with open hearts. The United Nations and the donor countries
might also consider moving their offices to the more peaceful and
politically stable Somaliland, since Kenya is not able to provide security
to the foreign diplomats, expatriates and tourists in its country.'

On the broader geo-political front, the announcement by Saitoti, Haji and
the warmongers in the Kenyan cabinet could be a stratagem signalled at the
fascist US and NATO military-industrial complex that the Party of National
Unity (PNU) side of the grand coalition government is gung-ho about the much
discredited 'war on terror' with a view to gaining traction with the so
called 'international community' (a convenient nickname for the Western
powers) as a defender of 'security' and 'stability' of the restive East
Africa and Horn of Africa region.

But this could backfire if the zealots in Al Shabaab appeal to their
extremist allies in Pakistan, Afghanistan and nearby Yemen that they are
under threat from a hostile client-regime in Nairobi, triggering a
devastating wave of urban terrorist reprisals targeting civilian populations
in places like Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Eldoret, Nairobi and the like, not
ignoring business, infrastructure and military targets.

There are those who will react with shock at my views in this essay. Some
will find me ,unpatriotic'. Some will scream that I be prosecuted for
treason. Well, I am in good company.

The Chief Justice of Kenya Willy Mutunga was once detained without trial
allegedly because he was deemed 'unpatriotic' by our retired dictator. Prime
Minister Raila Odinga was almost hanged after being accused of treason. I
was among dozens of peaceful pro-democracy social justice activists who
spent long years behind bars on sedition charges because we dared to speak
the truth to power.

We counterpoise our genuine love for our Motherland Kenya to the fake
nationalism of the warmongers. Our commitment to the freedom and
emancipation of all Kenyans from neo-colonialism and imperialism preceded,
and will outlast, these synthetic screeches covering up the local elite's
attempt to be the slaves of Uncle Sam and her NATO cousins in this part of
Africa and the world. We will continue fighting for peace, democracy,
equality, social justice and pan-African liberation in the spirit of
internationalist solidarity and third world liberation.

Alutta continua!

Onyango Oloo, a Kenyan social justice activist, writer and former political
prisoner and exile


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Received on Fri Oct 28 2011 - 13:54:34 EDT
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