World View: Fears of Tribal and Ethnic Violence in Kenya Continue

The Associated Press

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Germany fears wave of xenophobia after arson attack on refugee home
  • U.S. begins daily aerial refueling for Saudi warplanes in Yemen
  • Fears of tribal and ethnic violence in Kenya continue

Germany fears wave of xenophobia after arson attack on refugee home

Neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD)
Neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD)

Early Saturday morning, criminals broke into an apartment building in the town of Tröglitz in the state of Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany and set the building on fire. The building was being remodeled to accommodate 40 asylum-seekers, starting in May. It’s feared that this may signal new xenophobic attacks across the country.

Tröglitz was first established in the 1930s to provide housing for workers at a local coal mine, but after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the mine closed and some 4,500 jobs disappeared, leaving few work opportunities. This has provided an effective recruiting backdrop for parties like the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), for which some politicians are calling to be banned.

Asylum-seekers have been putting a strain on municipalities across Germany. It is estimated that 250,000 refugees will arrive from Germany this year, an increase of 80,000 over 2013. Many come from Syria and the Balkan states. Deutsche-Welle and Der Spiegel and TheLocal (Germany)

U.S. begins daily aerial refueling for Saudi warplanes in Yemen

For Wednesday’s Yemen war escalation du jour, the United States has started aerial refueling for warplanes in the Saudi-led coalition carrying out airstrikes in Yemen. The refueling flights will take place daily. However, all US flights will remain outside Yemen’s air space.

On Tuesday, the US announced that it was stepping up intelligence sharing with the Saudi-led coalition and expediting the delivery of precision-guided bombs to the Saudis and their Gulf allies.

Iran has condemned the Saudi-led intervention, and sent two warships to the Gulf of Aden Wednesday, saying they would protect Iranian shipping from piracy. Daily Star (Beirut)

Fears of tribal and ethnic violence in Kenya continue

About 2500 of Kenya’s residents, both Muslims and Christians, marched in the town of Garissa on Tuesday to protest al-Shabaab, the Somali terrorist group responsible for the slaughter of 148 people, most of them Christian students, last week at Garissa University College. The raid, the deadliest since al-Qaeda bombed the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Nairobi, in 1998, was at least the fifth massacre by al-Shabaab since it stormed the upmarket Westgate shopping mall less than two years ago.

The protesters were also critical of Kenya’s security forces for not doing enough to prevent such a massacre, and then for not responding quickly enough as news of massacre spread. There had been material previously circulating on social media warning about the attacks.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Somalis of Kenyan descent marched in Eastleigh, a suburb of Nairobi, once again to protest Al-Shabaab.

Initially it was feared that these protests would lead to communal violence between Kenyans and Somalis, but those fears are subsiding now as no such violence has occurred.

Communal violence is not new to Kenya. Following the national elections in December 2007, there was massive violence, particularly in Rift Valley, killing over 1,100 people and leaving over 600,000 homeless.

Communal violence in the northeast regions of Kenya killed hundreds of people last year. Two ethnic groups, the Turkana and the Pokot, have been responsible for the communal violence in the far north of Kenya. For years, the two groups have been fighting over the usual kinds of things — water resources, land, cattle rustling, and so forth.

But two years ago, a find of 600 million to one billion barrels of oil was discovered in Turkana’s land, right next to the Pokot land. This oil has the potential to bring wealth to both tribes, but the Turkana are claiming it for their own, and the Pokot are threatening to kill the Turkana and take over the oil wells. As a result, the two tribes have been locked in a cycle of ever-increasing retaliatory violence, with whole villages burned to the ground and unarmed civilians killed.

Caught in the middle is the Anglo-Irish exploration company, Tullow Oil. According to a spokesman:

People live off their land, the way they lived hundreds of years ago, in most cases. Here you have big industry and technology coming in with pastoralist communities. There are always going to be challenges. We are not going to agree on everything.

However, the government in Nairobi is saying that the oil wealth doesn’t belong to either the Turkana or the Pokot — that it belongs to the government of Nairobi.

When I wrote about the communal violence that followed the December 2007 election ( “Kenya almost — but not quite on the brink of genocidal ethnic war”), I pointed out that Kenya’s last generational crisis war was the Mau-Mau Rebellion, that climaxed in 1956. By 2008, only 52 years had passed, which is usually not enough time for a new generational crisis war to begin. (Usually, at least 58 years are needed.) Based on that analysis, I concluded that the communal violence at that time would soon fizzled out, which is exactly what happened.

But now 7 more years have passed, and we’re 59 years past the climax of the Mau-Mau Rebellion. So Kenya is well past the time when a new generational crisis war can start. So the fears of new communal violence today are well founded, and any occurrence could spiral into a wider war. The Nation (Pakistan) and International Business Times and United Nations and VOA

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Germany, Saxony-Anhalt, Tröglitz, National Democratic Party of Germany, NPD, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Gulf of Aden, Iran, Kenya, Somalia, al-Shabaab, Garissa, Eastleigh, Rift Valley, Turkana, Pokot, Tullow Oil, Mau-Mau Rebellion
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