World View: U.S. Embarrassed by Results of Kenya Presidential Election

This morning's key headlines from

  • Kenyatta is declared Kenya's controversial presidential election winner
  • Kenyatta's criminal charges provide dilemma for Obama administration
  • Violence continues in Egypt's canal city, Port Said
  • Egypt's army on high alert in Sinai
  • Report: Hizbullah has chemical weapons

Kenyatta is declared Kenya's controversial presidential election winner

Kenyatta supporters celebrate victory on Saturday (AFP)
Kenyatta supporters celebrate victory on Saturday (AFP)

Kenya's election commission on Saturday announced that last week the deeply ethnically divided nation had elected Uhuru Kenyatta to be the new president by a narrow margin. Everyone's mind is focus on the fear of new violence similar to what happened after the December 27, 2007, elections, when inter-ethnic killings, rapes and amputations triggered by dissatisfaction with election results killed thousands of people. In his acceptance speech, Kenyatta said,

"I would especially like to acknowledge the Kenyans who lost their lives on the eve of the elections. They made the ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives, in the name of democracy.

To the families of those who lost their loved ones- I offer my sincere condolences and I assure you that I, and the people of Kenya are standing with you in prayer.

The incidents that took the lives of our officers are a reminder that security remains one of the biggest challenges to our nation. It is unacceptable to see the lives of Kenyans lost so senselessly.

As we move forward, I pledge to keep the issue of national security high on our agenda."

However, Raila Odinga, the candidate who lost the election, is not very happy with the results. In his speech, he listed "massive irregularities" in the voting process. Billions of dollars had been spent on new technology -- electronic voter identification kits and electronic voter tallying systems -- that all failed completely, forcing a count of the paper ballots, according to Odinga:

"Two days after the vote, the electronic tallying process was discarded and counting began afresh, manually. That too turned out to be flawed exercise in which, among other things, there was massive tampering with the IEBC voter register. ...

Democracy is on trial in Kenya. It is clear that the process of electing a new set of leaders has been thwarted by another tainted election.""

Odinga's supporters believe that these failures were intentional sabotage to give his opponent a victory. However, Odinga asked his supporters to remain peaceful:

"Any violence now could destroy this nation. ...

Let the Supreme Court determine whether the result announced by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission [IEBC] is lawful. We are confident the court will restore the faith of Kenyans in the democratic rule if law."

The Supreme Court will then have 14 days to hear the dispute and make a ruling whether to call for a new election. Odinga has made it clear that he expects to win a victory in court. Whichever way the court decision goes, it's going to make a lot of people very angry. Standard Media (Nairobi) and All Africa

Kenyatta's criminal charges provide dilemma for Obama administration

The fact that Kenya is Barack Obama's ancestral homeland only complicates the diplomatic dilemma over the fact that winning candidate Uhuru Kenyatta is under indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity, stemming from his alleged involvement in the bloodbath that occurred after the December 2007 elections. He's accused of organizing and funding the death squads that killed more than 1200 people, and caused many atrocities. Kenyatta's trial is scheduled to begin this summer, and many people inside and outside of Kenya are wondering how he's going to be able to govern the nation while he's standing trial in the Hague.

Western nations, including the United States, are going to be reluctant to have ordinary diplomatic relations with a man who allegedly committed such these atrocities. In fact, prior to the election, the U.S. State Department’s top diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson, issued a thinly veiled warning to Kenyans that "choices have consequences."

This remark caused a huge outcry in Kenya, where the U.S. was accused of trying to interfere in Kenya's election process. As it turned out, Carson's remark proved to be a big benefit to Kenyatta. He portrayed himself as a victim of both the ICC and the United States, and was able to rally his supporters with those charges. In many ways, the election turned into a referendum on the ICC itself.

Kenya is extremely important to US interests, according to the Council on Foreign Relations:

"The fact that the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi is the largest in all of sub-Saharan Africa reflects the country’s centrality to a number of U.S. priorities. Kenya is a significant counterterrorism partner and an important point of military and humanitarian access in the region. Kenya has been a vital diplomatic partner in efforts to bring stability to Sudan and Somalia. The country is also a regional hub for U.S., international, and nongovernmental programs as well as the linchpin for private sector activity in East Africa. Trouble in Kenya can quickly infect neighboring countries, as the economic spillover effects of the current crisis have already made plain."

From the point of view of generational theory, Kenya's last generational crisis war was the Mau-Mau rebellion that climaxed in 1956, and so a new round of violence has a moderate probability of spiraling into a full-scale ethnic war. Toronto Star and Council on Foreign Relations (2008)

Violence continues in Egypt's canal city, Port Said

An Egyptian court on Saturday reaffirmed most of the death sentences for 21 Port Said soccer fans, triggering off new rounds of violence in Port Said and in Cairo.

Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi declared a state of emergency in Port Said in January after days of violent anti-police riots followed the sentencing by an Egyptian court of 21 people to death for participating in a riot in Port Said on February 2 of last year, where 74 young people were killed, and over 1,000 injured at a football (soccer) match. ( "27-Jan-13 World View -- Egypt in crisis after two days of violent clashes") Port Said residents claimed that the police had sided with the supporters of the visiting Cairo team, and were furious that the court had let the police go free. In this new ruling, two senior police commanders were giving prison sentences.

On Saturday, angry crows targeted police offices and a police officers club in both Port Said and Cairo. Evidence presented at the trial showed that the police had locked the gates, allegedly to allow the Cairo supporters to kill as many Port Said supporters as possible.

Violence and instability have been increasing in Egypt since the election of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi. There are increasing fault lines between the government and the army, between the police and the army, between the Islamists and secularists, and between the Muslim Brotherhood party and the Salafist al-Nour party. McClatchy

Egypt's army on high alert in Sinai

Egypt's military commands have ordered troops to be on "high alert," after receiving information about plots for terrorist attacks in Sinai. Violence in the Sinai has increased substantially in the two years since the Egyptian Revolution began, and Hosni Mubarak was deposed. Islamist militants have been stepping up attacks on Egyptian securities forces near the Gaza and Israeli borders. Egypt Independent

Report: Hizbullah has chemical weapons

According to Israeli intelligence researchers, Hizbullah is already in possession of chemical weapons from Syria. However, Syria is afraid to use them against Israel because it fears the backlash. The greater fear is that they'll fall into the hands of al-Qaeda linked terror groups, who have no particular fear of a backlash.

With instability growing throughout the Mideast, there's a fear that a Mideast war is just around the corner, and that Syria's chemical weapons play a substantial role.

According to Debka, which sometimes gets things wrong, is quoting its military intelligence sources as saying that al-Qaeda linked Syrian rebel militants have laid hands on sufficient chemical bombs, shells and warheads - together with missiles and other launching systems - to conduct strikes against seven targets: Assad government centers, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, Iraq and Lebanon.

According Debka's report, U.S. officials say the following:

  • Al Qaeda's affiliates may also be setting their sights on US strategic and military targets in the region.
  • They have transferred chemical weapons from Syria to armed Al Qaeda bands lurking just 40 kilometers from the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
  • Al Qaeda is funneling poison chemicals to its armed groups on Iraq's borders with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for strikes against those countries.
  • The trail of chemical weapons from Syria through Turkey has been picked up in Jordan, where they have reached Islamist groups fighting the monarchy. Some bands have infiltrated Amman, the capital, and await orders to go on the offensive; others have fanned out across northern Jordan and are poised to hit the US, British, French, Czech and Polish special forces deployed there.
Whether or not Debka is right about the fact that Syria's chemical weapons have already been dispersed to al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups, there's little doubt that the Mideast is becoming more and more unstable by the day, and al-linked terrorist groups believe that the way to turn the Mideast in a region of strict adherence to the most radical form of the Sunni Muslim faith is to trigger an all-out war in the region, leaving them behind to pick up the pieces and forge a new Sunni Islamic revolutionary nation. Israel National News and Debka and Debka

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