The Kenyan war against Somalia is producing alarming ramifications that would worsen instability, animosity and misery rather than peace and prosperity in the region. The post invasion shuttle diplomacy of the Kenyan Officials did not allay the deep opposition against its invasion of Somalia.
Facts indicate that Kenya planned since 2009 to take control of Jubba-Land (Gedo, Lower Jubba, and Middle Jubba) after it become convinced that the post independent Somalia will not recover as a State and will disintegrate definitively into 100 small clan Lands. The preparation and implementation of the Jubba-Land project has been in the hands of the Kenyan Minister for Regional Administration and Internal Security Affairs, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Defense, the Chief of the National Security and Intelligence Services, and the Chief of Staff of the National Army. These leaders discussed the project several times with US Government.
Kenya has linked its war goals with IGAD’s destructive process against Somalia. The belatedly articulated goals of Kenyan invasion are to liberate the Jubba-land from the militant Organization Al Shabab and to hand liberated areas over to the forces of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for control until the United Nations peacekeeping forces will take over the operation from AMISOM. The withdrawal of AMISOM or Kenyan forces will depend on the arrival of UN peacekeeping forces. Local Administrations to be established later will support Kenyan and AMISOM forces. The foreign imposed Kampala Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (K-TFG) or its successor after August 2012 must comply with the IGAD’s domination.
The Communiqué recently signed in Nairobi by PM Abdiweli M Ali Gas of K-TFG with PM Raila Odinga of Kenya recognized Jubba-Land as a territory not part of Somalia. Article 1 of the Communiqué states the Kenyan security operation inside Somalia is in accordance with article 51 of the UN Charter. The article 51 permits the use of force as a self defense by a UN Member State when there is overwhelming imminent armed attack that threatens its sovereignty and independence. The forces of Jubba-land (Al Shabab) are the imminent aggressors.
Article 2 of the Communiqué labels Al Shabab as a common enemy (not armed opposition) to Somalia, Kenya and the entire region. However, K-TFG is allowed to negotiate with Al Shabab while Kenya wants to eliminate them. This contradicts the common enemy argument.
On the basis of article 51 of UN Charter, the Kenyan politicians and military commanders responsible for the success of the “operation protect nation” have no obligations to their baby (K-TFG) or to a ragtag Somali militia. It is playful to say that inexistent K-TFG forces will lead the Kenyan forces fighting inside Somalia.
The first two articles of the Communiqué make immaterial all of its other provisions. For example, there is no evidence about the support of the Government of Somalia to the activities of Kenyan forces in Somalia as mentioned in article 4, because, aside the general public and the parliament, the President has made clear his opposition against Kenyan invasion without retraction and the Speaker remains silent until now. In accordance with Kampala Accord, K-TFG power is shared by the President and Speaker. The PM Minister serves at the pleasure of both leaders.
K-TFG leaders are less concerned to think through on the implications from the course of complex actions underway in the context of the Kenyan invasion. The Speaker and the PM who had returned from a one month long trip in US, Europe, Ethiopia and UAE for their public relation left for Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for personal Hajj (the pilgrimage). The President travelled to Kampala, Uganda, while the PM was in Kenya for the Communiqué. This is not the behavior of leaders of responsible government.
The majority of Somalis would like to see Al Shabab defeated and national government established, but the Kenyan invasion creates more grave ills. Here are some of the alarming ramifications:
- Renewal of usual infighting between K-TFG leaders in competition to satisfy foreign interests and for their self preservation in power.
- Violations of Kenyan new constitution which will set a dangerous constitutional precedent for Kenyans. This action could pervert the advancement of democratic system in Kenya and the protection of minority rights in Kenya.
- The quick erosion of the safety and hospitability Somali refugees enjoyed in Kenya.
- Rise of human suffering in Somalia, especially in the regions under the military operation. Many civilians were forced to leave their homes and livelihood places when the Kenyan government announced the bombardment of 10 Somali cities.
- Growing mobilization of marginalized clans hailing from Jubba-land against the creation of regional State under leaders of Azania or Raas-Kambooni or nameless pro-government militia. Ethiopia makes known that Raas-Kambooni is its preferred ally.
- Deadly attacks in Kenya for retaliation by Al -Shabab or by their Kenyan supporters. These attacks have further scared tourists, a situation the Kenyan invasion was to eliminate.
- Many innocent people were arrested or suspected after each terrorist attacks. Security roadblocks and personal searches have restricted public movements. Somalis and Somali Kenyans become natural suspects by non Muslim Kenyans. All these have increased the number of disaffected Kenyan citizens who will feel anger against their abusers.
- Kenya has wittingly or unwittingly become part of the Somali civil war because Somali ethnic Kenyans share clan genealogy with their brethrens in Somalia. The botched Jilib airstrike and the planned bombardment of 10 Somali cities have touched Somalis.
- Divestiture of Somali investment in Kenya for increased risks.
- Distortion of truth and reality by the war propaganda engaged by warring parties.
- Economic deterioration as a result of the war. Perceptibly, that deterioration sullies the public sentiment and perception and gives way to social animosity towards others.
Kenya needs an alternative realistic plan that ensures its security and reasonably prevents threats from Al Shabab. This will also enable Somalia to regain sovereignty and progress for stability. Kenya should stop becoming part of IGAD’s machinations and of the intractable Eritrea and Ethiopia conflict. The prolonged destabilization of Somalia will produce the emergence of unseen urchins and outfits probably worse than Al Shabab or Joseph Kony of Lord’s Resistance Army.
Mr. Mohamud M Uluso