Al-Qa'eda targeted Kenya not because it's a banana republic, but because it's a symbol of African success

28 September 2013

9:00 AM

28 September 2013

9:00 AM

If Al-Shabaab was behind the terrorist attack in Nairobi, then the group has come a long way since its foundation in a derelict shampoo factory called Ifka Halane — ‘Clean and Shiny’ — in Mogadishu in 2006. I know a little about the group because I am the only westerner to have met its founder, Aden Hashi Ayro, before he was killed in a US air strike. In those days Al-Shabaab was a small militia providing muscle for the Islamic courts in Mogadishu. For a brief spell the courts did a good job of bringing a degree of law and order. Then Washington foolishly backed an Ethiopian invasion of the country.

For Al-Shabaab, this was a godsend. Afghan-trained Salafists don’t enjoy fixing drains or street lights. Insurgency is much more worthwhile. Extremist Somalis who had been laughed out of jihadi conferences because they lacked the courage to embrace martyrdom set out to prove themselves with IEDs, suicide-jacket detonations, truck bombs, and spectacular multiple attacks. And when Al-Shabaab did control territory, they were an African Khmer Rouge, banning vaccinations and precipitating a polio outbreak, starving children to death or desertifying Somalia by running a massive export trade in charcoal. Most Somalis are good people who loathe the extremists.

Amisom, an African Union peacekeeping force, has pushed Al-Shabaab back with 18,000 troops — though it needs at least 40,000 plus air power, more drones and intelligence resources. Overall, however, this must be a Somali-led process in which we sign the cheques. Last year Somalia appointed its first legitimate government for 22 years under President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. But despite shows of support from Britain and other donors, the government urgently needs help to fulfil its functions — even to pay its troops regularly and finance the process of bringing the world’s most spectacularly failed state back from the abyss.

For two years Al-Shabaab has been losing territory and engaging in bloody infighting — but under its emir, Ahmed Godane, it has reconfigured itself into an al-Qa’eda franchise that aims to migrate beyond the camel-speckled acacia scrublands of Somalia and take on the world. And so it may be that the terrorists fighting inside Kenya’s Westgate mall are Somali Al-Shabaab — although there is no evidence for this whatsoever, apart from claims made on a series of Twitter accounts.


The Westgate siege, for sure, is the first terrorist attack defined by Twitter. Victims’ families who look to me like worried passengers at an airport waiting for news of a plane crash poured their grief out on Twitter. Hacks standing about with no information on what was unfolding inside the mall tweeted unfounded rumours. Twitter accounts claiming to represent Al-Shabaab tweeted all manner of nonsense. Kenya’s government offices regularly tweeted that ‘the situation is under control’, only to be followed by bursts of gunfire and explosions.

But as security forces pursued terrorists up and down shop aisles and stairwells, what became clear was that the attackers must have positioned huge quantities of ammunition and firepower in advance. Their level of organisation suggested a level of training way beyond the capabilities of the bumpkins from Al-Shabaab. This is al-Qa’eda, the real thing. It’s my hunch that this gang included ethnic Somalis, ethnic Yemenis and a woman who was not the ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite that the British tabloids are so desperate to plant in this story. Beyond the fact that the attackers justified their murdering in terms of perceived crimes committed against them in Somalia — Kenyan troops invaded Somalia in October 2011, but only in response to kidnappings and to create a buffer zone — who knows who these people really are?

The hacks on the Westgate perimeter also want to suggest that in some way the attack was Kenya’s fault. One journo suggested that it might be a conspiracy by President Uhuru Kenyatta to deflect attention from his upcoming trial for crimes against humanity. And then there are the armchair experts who blame crime and corruption in Kenya, such as Giles Foden, who wrote in the Guardian: ‘These attacks are part of a spectrum of banditry, with corruption at one end, terrorism at the other, and regular robbery in the middle.’ This is as absurd as suggesting that 9/11 had to do with gun crime in the USA, or that 7/7 could be blamed on corruption under Ken Livingstone.

What I believe is that al-Qa’eda hit Nairobi precisely because Kenya is a successful country — with the economy expected to grow by nearly 6 per cent this year. During the last few days hundreds have died in terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq — but none of these stories was as big in news terms as Kenya. In some strange way, Kenya was attacked not because it is an ill-managed African banana republic but because it is an important, modern country,  with a booming economy and a bright future.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10

Show comments
  • Picquet

    …er, yes, Aiden. “it is an important, modern country, with a booming economy and a bright future.”. And one of the more corrupt leaderships on the continent.
    This was revenge, and a warning to the non-Muslims of Africa that they shouldn’t stand in the way of Islamic progress. The same has been going on for quite a while in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Mali etc. It’ll get much worse.

  • Pootles

    If the photo at the top of this piece isn’t a perfect image of applied, psychopathic, loonydom, then I don’t know what is. Mad b*****ds.

    • Advocatus_Diaboli_69

      It would be Pythonesque if it weren’t so serious

      ‘Good to see you again’
      ‘You’re looking well’
      ‘Has anyone seen my spare ammo?’

      • Pootles

        Yup, I’d be laughing, but it’s gone beyond that, hasn’t it? On the upside, the babes with the AKs seem to be having problems sighting the things – I wonder if they’ve got as far as zeroing them in?

  • Peter Stroud

    The obscene act of vile terrorism is just another example of the Islamic crusade to establish a universal Caliphate. We eagerly await the condemnation of the event by all major Moslem groups now in this country, and in Europe.

    • Icebow

      Islamophobia is only reasonable.

      • Aasiyah Sattar

        What does Islamophobia consists of again ? Ahh yes fear of Islam ? I don’t actually think that , that word is entirely correct tho..Its the muslims that you fear not their religion..

    • Bonkim

      Was it the Christians that started the blood feud first – and should it be their revenge on Christians – Islamade that is happening around the world now?

      • chan chan

        How on earth do you figure that?

  • Nick

    I take it that the top photo in this piece was taken in London?

    • chan chan

      Yes, it’s a meeting of Tower Hamlets Council. Dave is on the left, cropped out of the picture…

      • Nick

        I guessed it was up there somewhere although I was leaning towards Wembley High Street..;-)

  • Advocatus_Diaboli_69

    Earlier this week on Radio 4 they were discussing recent events in Kenya. A little later they moved on to another item which was about All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia and how it was trying to find out why Islam and Muslims are regarded with growing suspicion in the UK and how that might by addressed.

    * To investigate the forms, manifestations and extent of prejudice and discrimination against Muslims in the UK today.

    * To review the effectiveness of all legislation with a view to improving the rate of success in the prosecution of hate crimes.
    * To review existing mechanisms for the recording of anti-Muslim hate crimes both through police forces across the country and through third party reporting sites with a view to improving data quality and comprehensiveness.
    * To investigate and review the role of the media in fostering mutual respect and tolerance and guarding against misrepresentations of Islam and intolerance towards Muslims.”

    Given the weekly reports of Islamist atrocities, the ever increasing body count as a result of Sunni v Shia violence, the burning of churches in Egypt by Muslim mobs, and the fact that Britain is a safe haven for jihadists and their supporters, I wonder if by any chance the Group has been able to spot the connections?

    • Pootles

      The really odd thing is why do our Parliamentarians do this, why do they think like this? Are we, the great unwashed, missing something? It does genuinely puzzle me. Answers on a postcard …

    • Daniel Maris

      Those terms of reference are pretty sinister aren’t they? That’s why we have to guard against the doctrine of Islamophobia being spread across the land. The underlying purpose of the doctrine is to disable rational criticism of Islam and prevent the building up of legal safeguard against Sharia law being implemented in this coutnry.

  • Daniel Maris

    Here is the membership list.


    Some of the usual suspects.

    They include Lord Ahmed who some say threatened to bring 10,000 Muslims on the streets around Parliament to prevent Geert Wilders attending a meeting there. I don’t think he’s ever denied warning the then governement about what would happen if the meeting went ahead.

    Perhaps Democrophobia would be a better subject for this lot to look at. After all, if a democratically elected parliamentarian from a fellow EU country is banned from your own parliament, what hope is there?

    It would be interesting to find what motivates some of the others.

  • For those with bad eyesight, you’re looking at males pretending to be women, which explains this CIA/MI6 photo-op, since women are banned from any form of combat in Islam!

    I really should clarify that Moscow & allies tasked the CIA/MI6 to produce the photo above, which is why Western political parties refused to verify the “collapse” of the USSR; Western political parties were co-opted long before the “collapse” of the USSR.

    Take a look at these pictures out of Russia…




    Then for Russian Naval vessels, take a look at what’s still appended to the bows (enlarge picture)…


    Those pictures were taken in 2009, 2011 and 2001, respectively, not before the “collapse” of the USSR. As you can see, the Soviet era nationality emblem of the Communist Party…the Red Star… is still present. That political symbol of the Soviet government would have been immediately removed in early 1992 if the “collapse” of the USSR were genuine. As the legal emblem of the USSR and the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Red Star emblem can only be present if Communists are still in power in Russia and the other 14 republics that made up the USSR.

    Now, for the main paper of the Russian Ministry of Defense…


    “Krasnaya Zvezda” is Russian (no kidding!) for “Red Star”, the official newspaper of Soviet and later Russian Ministry of Defense. The paper’s official designation is, “Central Organ of the Russian Ministry of Defense.” Note the four Soviet emblems next to the still existing Soviet era masthead, one of which pictures Lenin’s head!

    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Moscow & Allies, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    Now you know why the hated Communist Red Star is still placed on the bows of NEW Russian Naval vessels (and the wings of Russian military aircraft), and why the “electorates” of the 15 republics that made up the USSR continue to “elect” for President Soviet era Communist Party Quislings. There have been 52 such Presidential “elections” since the “collapse” of the USSR, resulting in 40 Soviet era Communist Party member Quislings being elected. That’s 76.92%! If the “collapse” of the USSR were legitimate not one such Quisling would have been elected President. In fact, such persons would have been either arrested in the interests of national security or shunned by society. Remember, Communist Party members made up no more than 10% of the USSR, and it was they who for 74 years persecuted the remaining 90% of the population.

    Imagine it’s 1784 America. The Treaty of Paris (1783) was signed the previous year ending the revolutionary war with Britain. So who do the electorates of the newly independent 13 colonies elect for their respective governors? They elect persons who were Loyalists (American supporters of Great Britain) during the war for independence! Of course, in reality the persecution was so bad for Loyalists in post independence America that they had to flee the country en masse for Canada.

    Or try this one out: After the collapse of the South African Apartheid Regime in 1994, the majority black population reelect for their Presidents only persons who were National Party members before the 1994 elections!

    Now you also know why immediately after the “collapse” of the USSR the United States wasn’t given Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons, including delivery vehicles, for safe keeping! Imagine that, the freed Russian people not ensuring their freedom against a Communist counter-coup with the assistance of Chinese PLA ground and air forces backing up Soviet Special Forces and Airborne Guards. If the “collapse” of the USSR had been real, then a freed Russia, for national security reasons, would have ensured that its nuclear weaponry was secured by United States military elements. That no such actions were taken proves that (1) both American political parties were co-opted by Moscow & Allies; and (2) the United States Armed Forces were not co-opted, otherwise elements of America’s armed forces would have been deployed to Russia in order to pretend to safeguard Russia’s nuclear weapons.

    In addition, the KGB agent Quislings that controlled the Russian Orthodox Church before the “collapse” of the USSR are to this day still in control! They were never identified and thrown out of that institution after the “collapse” of the USSR! The same is true for the other 14 republics of the USSR, including East Bloc nations.

    For those unfamiliar with this subject, the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991 was a strategic ruse under the “Long-Range Policy” (LRP). What is the LRP, you ask? The LRP is the “new” strategy all Communist nations signed onto in 1960 to defeat the West with. The last major disinformation operation under the LRP was the “collapse” of the USSR in 1991. The next major disinformation operation under the LRP will be the fraudulent collapse of the Chinese Communist government. When that occurs, Taiwan will be stymied from not joining the mainland.

    The “War on Terror” & Iraq War I and II:

    Regarding the “War on Terror”, Moscow and Beijing tasked America to conduct the operation to ensure that while the USSR was in a “liberalized” and therefore weakened state, such a war would (1) create enmity between Islam and the West; thereby (2) aborting any possibility for an alliance between Islam and the non-co-opted militaries of the West against their mutual and true enemy…World Communism; and (3) create the image that the United States is a rogue state, invading/attacking nations with impunity, thereby setting the stage for a future “democratic” China replacing United States preeminence on the world stage.

    Before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR in December 1991 Moscow tasked Washington, DC to ready the 1990 Gulf War with Iraq. Why? Because Moscow, after the “collapse”, was going to intentionally implode its economy to ensure foreign investments went to China instead. Russia could live on the relatively higher price that its oil exports (Russia is #2 behind Saudi Arabia in oil exports) would obtain thanks to the United States placing an embargo on Iraqi oil, thereby raising the world price of oil relative to the lower price the commodity would have fetched if the Iraq embargo hadn’t been in place. China has no such export market for oil, therefore would have to rely on foreign investments to build her military.

    Then by 2001 oil began getting too expensive due to India’s emergence on the economic scene, threatening China’s military buildup. To ensure China had the oil it needed, and at a lower relative price then what it would have been otherwise, and not exhaust Russian oil reserves, Moscow once again tasked Washington, DC to invade Iraq for the purpose of now opening up Iraq’s oil reserves once again to the world oil market. Hence the March 2003 Iraqi War, and why China is the major player that has benefited from Iraqi oil contracts.

    By the way, four months after the Ford administration took power in August 1974 the one man in the CIA leading the fight against the LRP was forced out of the agency, CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton. With Angleton gone, KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn became persona non grata at the agency too. Guess who President Ford’s first White House Chief of Staff was who oversaw the firing of Angleton? Donald Rumsfeld! Guess who Rumsfeld’s assistant was? Dick Cheney! The same two KGB moles that gave us the “War on Terror”, the purpose for the war being to (1) create enmity between Islam and the West; because (2) when the USSR “liberalized” it would be in a weakened condition vis-à-vis the West, and the last thing Moscow (and Beijing) needed was an alliance between Islam and the West against their mutual and natural enemy…Communism; and (3) destroy the United States Armed Forces via a never ending war.

    Notice that Washington, DC refuses to wage illegal wars against China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Burma, all nations that persecute their populations in one way or another. Only Muslim nations are invaded? Why would that be? Why is the United States funding the so-called “Arab Spring” movements, but not “Communist Spring” movements in China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos and Burma (Burma is also a Communist nation; in fact, the fake dissident Aung San Suu Kyi’s father founded the Burmese Communist Party in 1939, becoming its first General Secretary, which is why Aung San Suu Kyi keeps her silence as Burmese Muslims are being slaughtered. Didn’t know those facts, huh?)?

    For more on the “Long-Range Policy”, read KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn’s book, “New Lies for Old” (available at Internet Archive), the only Soviet era defector to still be under protective custody in the West.

    If anyone is interested in a list of “victors” names of those 52 “elections” that have taken place in the republics of the “former” USSR, let me know. I’ll post it. The list also includes the Soviet era Communist Party status of the “victor”.