Kenya’s not doing much to help itself. It’s Somali adventure is stuck in the mud, tensions are increasing at home and now the country has gone and made its biggest foreign policy blunder to date – allying with Israel, a move that will only make Somalis hate them more. By SIMON ALLISON.
Kenya’s incursion into Somalia has been met mostly with silence from the international community, most of whom are thought to be tacitly behind the military operation to destroy Al Shabaab. But, wary of getting themselves bogged down in a notoriously complex country (something Kenya does not appear to have thought through), no one is giving Kenya much in the way of direct support.
Until this week, when a deal was announced to help Kenya secure its borders and train its police against threats of an Al Shabaab attack on Kenyan soil. Ironically, the deal came from the one country whose involvement is likely to increase the probability of any such attacks: Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a meeting with his Kenyan counterpart Raila Odinga, said, “Kenya’s enemies are our enemies. We have similar forces planning to bring us down.” Netanyahu added that the alliance between the two countries was the first step in building an international “coalition against fundamentalism”.
Israel isn’t very popular in Somalia, not even among the various moderate groups. So bringing in Israel is only likely to inflame Al Shabaab, possibly encouraging more attacks against Kenyan targets, and is likely to increase public support for the militants. The enemy of my enemy is my friend after all and, in Somalia (as in most of the Arab world), Israel is public enemy number one. DM
- Israel pledges support for Kenya’s operation against terror group in Kenya’s Daily Nation.