World View: Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Claims Responsibility for Religion-Based Kenya Attack

World View: Somalia’s Al-Shabaab Claims Responsibility for Religion-Based Kenya Attack

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Somalia’s Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for religion-based Kenya attack
  • China creating an island with an airstrip in South China Sea
  • Obama expands the U.S. mission in Afghanistan for 2015

Somalia’s Al-Shabaab claims responsibility for religion-based Kenya attack

Al-Shabaab terrorists forced a bus in Mandera County carrying60 passengers to stop. They asked the passengers to recite Koranicverses, and those who were unable to do so were lined up and thenkilled. Twenty-eight people were killed, 19 men and nine women.

The Mujahideen successfully carried out an operationnear Mandera early this morning, which resulted in the perishingof 28 crusaders [Christians or non-Muslims], as a revenge for thecrimes committed by the Kenyan crusaders against our Muslimbrethren in Mombasa.

Early this week, police in Mombasa shot a man dead and arrested over376 others when they searched four mosques in the largely Muslimcoastal town of Mombasa that they said were used to recruit militantsand store weapons.

Kenyans have not yet recovered from the horrific three-day attack onthe Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in September of lastyear (“23-Sep-13 World View — Minnesota link to Kenya shopping mall attack raises U.S. fears”)Sixty-eight people were killed and hundreds injured.

After Saturday’s attack, President Uhuru Kenyatta called for calm, ashe did after the Westgate mall attack. Kenyatta’s own nephew waskilled in the Westgate mall attack, as was the nephew’s fiancée.Abdikadir Mohammed, a senior adviser to Kenyatta, said:

The aim is to create conflict between the Muslims andthe non-Muslims in this country. The aim is to create a religiouswar, religious strife, in Kenya.

We have had a lot of the Muslim leaders come out today [Saturday]and strongly condemn this and call on Kenyans of all faiths andcreeds to stand together against these heinous crimes andcriminals.

The perpetrators are al-Shabaab, a Somalian offshoot of Al-Qaeda inthe Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Al-Shabaab have been terrorizingSomalia, the country next door to Kenya, for years. Starting in 2011,Kenya’s troops and African Union troops have been fighting al-Shabaabin Somalia, and have significantly reduced al-Shabaab’s influence.However, since then, al-Shabaab has launched about 135 terroristattacks inside Kenya. The Westgate Mall attack was the worst so far,but Saturday’s attack has been a new major shock to Kenya. Standard Media (Kenya) and BBC and AP.

China creating an island with an airstrip in South China Sea

China has been using a “salami-slicing” technique of using militaryforce to annex one portion after another of regions of the South ChinaSea historically belonging to Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia,Taiwan, and the Philippines.

Now China is using an even more aggressive military tactic. China isbuilding its own island on a reef in the Spratly Islands large enoughto accommodate an airstrip. The island on Fiery Cross Reef, which waspreviously underwater, is at least 3,000m long and 200-300m wide,and is being occupied by China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).China has previously built new islands at Johnson South Reef, CuateronReef, and Gaven Reefs, but none are large enough to house an airstripin their current form.

China has a massive military advantage over the other countries in theregion, and appears determined to annex every other country’sterritory in the South China Sea. Building an airstrip in the SpratlyIslands has no other apparent purpose but to further this militarytakeover at a more rapid pace. Jane’s Defence Weekly and Reuters.

Obama expands the U.S. mission in Afghanistan for 2015

President Barack Obama has quietly approved guidelines to expand themission of U.S. troops remaining in Afghanistan in 2015, although thenumber of troops remains the same at 9,800. According to previousguidelines, U.S. forces could only attack the Taliban or al-Qaeda inself-defense, if they were being attacked. The new guidelines permitattacks on the Taliban if they are preparing to attack Americantroops. However, U.S. troops can’t conduct offensive operations onany Taliban forces they locate. Those forces have to be threateningU.S. troops. The new guidelines also permit additional airstrikes insupport of Afghan forces–but only when they’re in serious trouble.

President Obama has suffered a number of recent setbacks in hisannounced plans for fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISor ISIS or ISIL), forcing him to escalate American troop involvementfrom 300 to 800 to 1500 to 3000.

Now a similar escalation process might be occurring in Afghanistan.In the last few weeks, the Taliban have been launching a lot moreaggressive attacks, and a lot more successful attacks. As in Iraq, itmay be necessary for Obama either to admit defeat in Afghanistan or toreturn thousands of additional troops. Obama has had one foreignpolicy disaster after another, and this has to count as an additionalone. CBS and CNN

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Somalia, al-Shabaab, Kenya, Mandera,Westgate Mall, Nairobi, Uhuru Kenyatta, Abdikadir Mohammed,Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, African Union,China, South China Sea, Spratly Islands, Fiery Cross Reef,Afghanistan, Taliban
Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail