Thursday, February 16, 2012

Kenya's Intervention in Somalia

The International Crisis Group (ICG) published a report on 15 February 2012 titled The Kenyan Military Intervention in Somalia. It points out that the intervention in October 2011 into Somalia's Juba Valley marked a radical departure for a country that has never sent its soldiers abroad to fight. Military leaders were apparently convinced it would be a quick campaign, but the Kenyan Defense Forces quickly ran into difficulties in unfamiliar terrain.

The ICG believes the Kenyan government is unlikely to heed any calls for a troop pullout; it has invested too much, and pride is at stake. The ICG urges that Kenya avoid a prolonged occupation of southern Somalia, lest it turn local Somali opinion against the intervention and galvanize an armed resistance that could be co-opted by al-Shabaab.

There is a real prospect, says the ICG, that Kenya will find itself with unpredictable allies, enmeshed in a protracted counter-insurgency campaign against a resilient and experienced enemy. Al-Shabaab is trying to exploit Kenyan-Somali grievances against Nairobi and making pan-Somali appeals, although without much success so far.

The ICG concluded that Kenya's hasty, insufficiently prepared decision to intervene militarily in Somalia will have profound consequences for stability in both countries. Al-Shabaab now clearly intends not only to destabilize the North Eastern Province, but also to undermine Kenya's social harmony. Unless there is a settlement in southern Somalia, Nairobi cannot expect stability in its own border regions; indeed, instability might also reach the center.

No comments:

Post a Comment