Saturday, 29 September 2012


As expected by informed observers the capture of Kismayu went off without a hitch.On Thursday night an airborne unit,the 40th Ranger Strike Force staged a night low level drop,while a company of KN marines deployed from the sole Landing Ship Personnel, KNS Galana early Friday supported by 4 gunboats and landed on the beaches on 11m rigid inflatables to scant resistance.
The first 30 seconds show Kenyan Marines practicing for the beach assault. Real footage will likely be released only after extensive debrief.

For those expecting a Hollywood style explosive entry into the port city complete with falling HE artillery rounds and hovering gunships,with guns clattering,accompanied by a corresponding collateral casualty count it was anti climactic. It was a slowly-slowly operation that incrementally increased forces in theatre til even ALS accepted reality and saw further resistance was pointless. The new Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud delayed the final assault,reaching out to Somali factions encouraging defections and surrenders while at the same time refusing point blank any negotiation with the foreign Islamist faction of ALS.
The endgame of the military phase has now begun. Though still rather early for a post script,some conclusions can be drawn. The winners are of course the Southern Somali people freed from terror who may now establish a new state,Azania,the Kenya government which has now protected its eastern flank (and the 23 bn$ trans continental Lamu port project a scant 10 km from Somalia) from terrorists and the KDF. They followed the basic maxim of any military force,viz,don't lose a war, receiving  praise from hitherto unimportant quarters;Kenyan civilians have never understood their role til this operation and in this new constitutional dispensation the KDF won't have to fight too hard to receive their allocations.
The losers are obvious,the international Al Qaeda and their Somali wanna bes,along with the Anglojews. Their pretensions as the sole bringers of peace and development have been shattered and both Uncle Sam and Johnny Brit are scrambling for relevance. Remember the sudden Somali Peace Conference in London in February?
The incursion took them totally by surprise as can be seen from the pique in their various semi official news agencies and think tanks.
 Faced with al-Shabab’s well-armed, experienced and more numerous guerrillas – fighters who two years ago saw off a far fiercer, better trained and bigger Ethiopian force – Kenya’s soldiers seem headed for deadlock at best and, at worst, bloody defeat

The Somali President has declared the invasion “not welcome”, and commentators have argued that it risks uniting the Islamists at a time that they were splintering. J Peter Pham of the Atlantic Council think tank stated that the operation appears to be based “merely on an emotional reaction,” and that despite recently waning popular support for the Islamists, this operation allows them “to once again rally Somalis around them under the banner of nationalism.”

 Considering the small size, poor condition and inexperience of Kenya’s fighter force, it’s perhaps surprising that the F-5s have been so busy over Somalia. But there are signs that the high operational tempo is taking a toll. Two F-5s reportedly collided and crashed near Kismayo last week. And an F-5 mistakenly bombed Somali refugees at a camp also near Kismayo, reportedly killing five civilians.

 Kenya’s air force is notoriously inexperienced and dilapidated, even by the modest standards of East African air arms. The air force possessed roughly 18 U.S.-built F-5 jet fighters dating from the 1970s, two of which have already been destroyed in the Somalia fighting.

But this takes the cake for sheer arrogance and neocolonial presumption!
  Western diplomats in Nairobi said they had not been informed of the decision to enter the port city.  !??
Basically amusing,insulting and contemptuous  dismissals of what was actually a well thought out campaign fought by a well equipped and led force. Few first world nations have had recent success in 3rd world counter insurgencies.Careful observers will also note London trying to insert itself into the successful narrative of the Kismayu capture,an unusually unsubtle attempt on their part,perhaps indicative of Foreign Office mandarins concerns,(we all know they fund the Aunt Beeb,don't we?).
 Checkpoints have been set up on the main road north of Kismayo, with one eyewitness telling the BBC that the AU forces appeared to include white troops

Already,informed observers are seeing a replication of the Somali operation further away in a more challenging environment of verdant jungles,myriad militias and mineral wealth of biblical proportions-an Eastern DRC incursion, pacification and an open ended occupation. The political processes involving local churches and civil societies,trying to catch Nairobi's eye to invite a robust military force and end the fighting which has killed at least 5mn since 1998, in what must surely be the most unlucky place in the world is well underway.
Watch this space.

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