World View: Ethnic Massacre in Kenya Kills 41

This morning's key headlines from
  • Ethnic revenge massacre in Kenya kills 41
  • Syria's civil war versus Kenya's civil war
  • President Obama nominates John Kerry as Secretary of State

Ethnic revenge massacre in Kenya kills 41

At least 41 people, including many women and children, from the Christian Pokomo tribe in southwest Kenya were massacred while they slept in a 3am by the Muslim Orma tribe. The attack was in revenge for a attack by the Pokomo against the Orma in August, where 52 people were hacked to death with some being burnt alive, and hundreds of cattle were mutilated. 

Although the two tribes have adopted different religious faiths, this is actually the same issue that began the Darfur conflict. (See "13-Dec-12 World View -- Darfur war may explode again soon into full-scale genocide"

The Darfur war began with violence between two ethnic groups, one of farmers and the other of herders. There were similar conflicts in the United States in the 1800s, although those conflicts didn't lead to war. What happens is that the farmers are infuriated when herds of animals trample their crops. They respond by building fences, and that infuriates the herders.

Exactly the same dynamic is occurring between the nomadic Orma herders, who have frequently had violent conflicts with the Pokomo farmers. However, Friday's violence is the worst incident in a while, and it raises fears of a repeat of the massive ethnic violence that followed the 2007 presidential, in which more than 1,200 people were killed, and many thousands were driven from their homes. I wrote about this in January, 2008, in "Post-election massacre in Kenya raises concerns of tribal war"

In that article, I described the recent generational history of Kenya. The country's last crisis war was the Mau-Mau Rebellion, which climaxed in 1956. In my 2008 article, I pointed out that it was just 51 years since the climax of the Mau-Mau rebellion, making it unlikely that a new crisis war would begin at that time. So I indicated that the violence at that time was likely to fizzle (which it did), but that violence would return, and the probability of new violence triggering a major crisis war increases with each year.

Today, another five years have passed, and it's now 56 years past the end of Kenya's last crisis war, so the probability of triggering a major new genocidal crisis war is much higher. In examining hundreds of wars throughout history, it has turned out that the peak year for a new generational crisis war is 58 years past the climax of the previous crisis war. Apparently, this is exactly the point where the generation of survivors of the previous war, who have devoted their lives to making sure it doesn't happen again, become too old to be effective in preventing a new crisis war.

The conflict between the Pokomo and the Orma seems to be highly localized, so the current skirmish seems likely to fizzle. But Kenya is headed for a major new genocidal ethnic war, almost certainly within the next five years. Standard Media (Kenya) and The Nation (Kenya)

Syria's civil war versus Kenya's civil war

This is a good opportunity to contrast the civil wars in Syria and Kenya. People constantly ask me whether the war in Syria is a generational crisis war, and I've written dozens of times in the last two years that it is not -- it's a civil war in a generational Awakening era, and it's going to fizzle. 

A crisis war comes from the people, while a non-crisis war comes from the politicians, and nothing illustrates this better than the contrast between Kenya and Syria. The war in Syria is driven entirely by president Bashar al-Assad, and it would fizzle quickly if al-Assad stepped down. Syria is still several decades away from a full-scale generational crisis war. But in Kenya, there are no politicians driving the war. It's a war between two ethnic groups, farmers and herders, and it could spread and envelope the entire country at any time.

President Obama nominates John Kerry as Secretary of State

When Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was running for president in 2004, I was wondering how it would be possible for someone who thought that the U.S. Army was worse than the Nazis could be president and lead the country in the war against terror. 

In 1971, Kerry said that American soldiers were committing war crimes "on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command." These atrocities included rape, torture, and cutting off ears, heads and limbs. He compared the actions of our armed forces to those of Genghis Khan. I wondered if Kerry still believed this in 2004. I didn't get answer then, but I did get an answer in 2006, when Kerry appeared on Imus and reaffirmed that he had "told the truth" in 1971. ( "John Kerry and Seymour Hersh trash the armed forces."

In 2006, Kerry also made his famous statement indicating that he thought that people in the American armed forces were stupid: "You know, education -- if you make the most of it, you study hard and you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

With his contemptuous view of America's armed forces, by nominating Kerry to be Secretary of State, President Obama has insulted every American soldier and, indeed, every American.

And I honestly have no idea how this guy is going to represent the United States. If he condemns a terrorist act in some other country, how will he answer the question: "But according to what you said in 1971, American soldiers are worse rapists, torturers and terrorists than al-Qaeda. Why does America have the right to criticize anyone else?" Washington Post

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