Slaughter in Nairobi

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Slaughter in Nairobi
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There's no doubt that the intensity of the news coverage in Britain about the attack by al-Shabab militants on the the Westgate shopping centre is reflective of the number of western victims and those that are close to elements of the Kenyan ruling class. The sort of numbers affected, 60 odd killed so far and 50 more still missing, is around the the almost daily casualties and wounded in terrorist attacks in Iraq, frequent attacks in Pakistan, not to mention the daily killings and destruction in Syria. But this doesn't at all mitigate the horror of the Westgate attack where men, women and children and a not insignificant number of workers (though no-one seems to be mentioning them) in a supposedly safe and benign environment had to face the deadly and frightening prospect of all hell breaking loose.

What this attack demonstrates is a further example of  how the greatest achievement of the "War on Terror" is the generalisation of terror, terrorists and terrorism. It's a further example of the how the Clinton/Bush/Obama policy of US imperialism directly contributes to aggravating and spreading the very problems that this policy is supposed to deal with. To that extent it's also illustrative of the growing historical weakness of US imperialism despite it being the most powerful military force on the planet by far. The whole region around the Horn of Africa and down into Kenya contains bases and special forces of western countries, the USA, Britain and Israel particularly. Given its geo-strategic importance this region must among the most heavily survielled and tracked over all the planet and still they were unable to pick up or stop this well-organised and ruthless attack.

The responsibility for the devastation of the whole region around Somalia and the rise of even more irrational forces lies entirely with the major imperialisms whose frequent actions and incursions here contribute to the growing instability and chaos which then demands further actions and incursions which contribute further to growing instability and chaos.... and so it spirals outwards and downwards. Of course it is mainly the poor and the masses that pay, Somalia holds the biggest refugee camp in the world where even the usually optimistic NGO's comment that the situation is hopeless. Amid all the misery, deprivation and poverty of the region are corrupt local bourgeois and western special forces bases bristling with the latest weaponry and technology. The US has set up its "Africa Command Post" in Kenya backed up by British and Israeli intelligence and forces.

Obama said yesterday that he was committed to "dismantling these centres of destruction" but the fact is that US actions and the poverty from capitalism creates them, spreads them and fosters a steady and growing stream of recruits, local and "international" to the jihadi causes. Since operation "Restore Hope" and the battle of Mogadishu in 1993 in which US forces had to retreat instability has spread through the entire region - there are some good articles on this website under the heading "Somalia". Even when it looked like there was a relatively stable government in Somalia, with "moderate" Islamists a few years ago, any attempt at stability was destroyed by the US "counter-offensive" in 2007 which contributed to the overthrow of the government and the descent into greater chaos and the rise of al-Shabab.

In the "you couldn't make it up" category, there's news that the corrupt politicians Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto and others, are to be freed from criminal charges at The Hague in order to "help their country in its time of need". It was these two gangsters who six years ago at the time of the Kenyan elections unleashed their own thugs killing at least two thousand people.

In another moment of irony,

In another moment of irony, there is speculation that several of the attackers hailed from the West, specifically the US and the UK. The supposed Americans among the crew are rumoured to have spent time in Minnesota, which boasts a large Somali population--82 percent of whom live in poverty (Minnesota Public Radio). Of course, just outside the relatively safe confines of Minnesota's Twin Cities (which elected the only Muslim member of the US Congress Keith Ellison) lie the increasingly bigoted exurbs, which sent Michelle Bachman to Washington. But, it is reported, Minnesota's Somalis live in relative isolation even from other Muslim immigrants, who tend to regard the mostly uneducated Somalis with suspicion. Just more evidence that it is not necessary to directly experience the growing chaos in the periphery in order to encounter the social conditions, the isolation, the bifurcations and cleavages that produce "radicalization."

militants in drag

There was supposed to be a woman among the Shabab militants too, and an English woman at that. But this was denied by another  Kenyan  government spokesperson who said that while there were people  in the group dressed as women, they weren't actually women at all!  I thought it was very haram for men to dress up as women in Islamic society, but perhaps this is permitted in jihadi circumstances. A woman's Islamic garb would certainly be convenient for the smuggling of arms, though not perhaps for the giant machine gun they are said to have.

 Somali women have a particular reputation and function in, for example, Saudi society, where they are "permitted" - expected? - to work as sexual outlets.  Like Yemeni men function as cleaners.  But, as jk says,  the Somalis tend to live in isolation.  A strict Islamic society is so tightly and admirably controlled and compartmentalized, isn't it?  Everyone knows their place and happily stays in it  knowing that its the Deity's wish they do so.  An absolute recipe for the happiness of all!  The west could learn a lot from it I'm sure.  

good post

good post baboon - almost an article there.....

"Misson accomplished"

US Secretary of State Kerry's warning to the terrorists "you can run but you can't hide" is in continuity with Bush's "mission accomplished" over the "evildoers" and Obama's "al-Qaeda is on the run" as empty bluster in the face of the increasing difficulties of the US  that relate to punctual problems that are indicative of the historical weakening of US imperialism overall. Kenya, a key US ally and military base, is now on the way to becoming a failed state as the cancer of decomposition spreads.

Two responses from the US talked up by Kerry yesterday were the aborted attempt to capture a key al-Shabab leader in a raid on the Somali coast - how the "Black Hawk's down" of 20 years ago continues to haunt the US - and the kidnapping of what's said to be a  senior al-Qaeda computer expert, Anas al-Libi, from the streets of Tripoli. The latter was neither running nor hiding but appeared to living his life with his family and going about his business quite openly. This says a lot about the state of Libya and the way the US, French and British "triumph" has plunged this country into even greater chaos and instability.

Also of interest regarding al-Libi is the fact that he was offered political asylum by the British in the mid-90's and lived quite openly in Manchester, where he was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police in the late 90's in relation to suspicions as to his involvement in the 1998 US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Tanzania, and released to carry on his life in Britain. Frank Gardener, the BBC's security correspondent said on the news last night that he'd left the UK for Libya in 2011. That story hasn't been officially contradicted but the news today is that he left the UK for Afghanistan. Who knows with these things, but there's no doubt that the British backed and gave succour to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the 90's to which al-Libi belonged.