Monday 3 September 2012


Kenya's first external large scale military operation kicked off in early October last year. Apart from foreign peace keeping missions and small cross border policing actions at maybe the company level against cattle rustlers,bandits or poachers,Operation linda nchi is to date the largest at over a reinforced brigade.
As soon as the first KDF infantry boots crossed the border Western 'experts' ,their media outlets and tame local NGOs immediately predicted doom and humiliation. Everybody from Museveni,Zenawi, Newsweek,Time,the Independent,to the Atlantic Monthly and even wailed wringing their hands about a poor,corrupt 3rd world country with an untrained unprepared army invading another 3rd world country.This unprompted media backlash informed the more thoughtful observers Kenya acted unilaterally without informing their 'development partners,'who were thus properly peeved.
The KDF brass actually planned such an operation just after Somalia's slide to the abyss in the early 90s with several supporting goals:stabilise the bordering NE Province,establish a friendly buffer state to be called either Jubbaland or Azania,end the endless river of war victims and IDPs who have now turned Dadaab refugee camp into the worlds largest and cut off the flow of illegal weapons flooding Kenya .
Contrary to the standard explanations it wasn't a  handful of kidnapped tourists but rather the start of Africa's biggest ever infrastructure project,a railroad/oil pipeline from Lamu to S.Sudan,with the rail link reaching the CAR and eventually Cameroon that forced the Kibaki government to act. Lamu is a scant 10 kms from the border and the 23 bn$ investment demanded cast iron security.

Casualties,to the dismay of numerous naysayers have been remarkably low at under 30 KIA for a force of roughly 1600,though ALS have lost hundreds which has not astonished those with regional military/security experience. The majority of these 'experts,'including Kenyans are unaware this is the army's second real shooting war,again with the same foe. Just after independence Kenyan Somalis clamoured to join their kin against the border. When attempts at amalgamation of the 90% majority Somali NEP were refused they began a secession attempt lasting 5 years that became known as the shifta war. Like all Somali attempts at armed aggression it was brutal but not a success.  After a peace treaty was signed in 1967 the defeated insurgents resorted to simple banditry causing a long running security problem throughout the NEP that only ended a decade or so ago.
As of now the KDF seems to be impatient with the political dictates of engaging putative Jubbaland leaders and is stepping up the pace. The entire border strip is under control along with upper and lower Jubba,an area of some 120,000 km2. Kismayu port,ALS HQ,the prize is surrounded with all nearby towns pacified. Piracy has declined drastically with 46 reported attacks this year against 222 the whole of 2011:In June Matt Hipple made his case in this blog that international naval operations had little or nothing to do with the current decline in piracy.  He argued that the Kenyan invasion of Somalia and continued operations by the multi-national forces of AMISOM, as well as armed private security forces onboard commercial vessels were the decisive factors behind the recent drop in pirate attacks.
The operation, still incomplete is in its final stages which will unfold as inevitably as Friday follows Thursday. The majority of Somalis in the south are tired of famine and bloodletting brought about by the ALS version of Islam who in a strange move even banned wearing of bras in their territory along with other medieval diktats beyond the scope of this post! In pacified areas the people themselves provide intel and often unmask enemy hideouts improving security which has seen the return of aid agencies who had long fled terrorist hegemony. In these areas at least,the KDF has definitely turned the corner.

Contrary to the 'expert' opinion about the dangers posed to the tourism industry by Al Shabab terrorists or the the Kenya government was 'ordered' into Somalia by the West here is the real reason. The Lamu Port South Sudan railway. As you can see  the implications are massive-it will develop the much marginalised North of Kenya and much much more. 

 The project has the same implications along its route. It will open up the CAR,one of the worlds most  remote places.

In fact  LAPSSET is actually of global importance. N America and Asia will access each others markets faster via the land bridge.

Dear Reader,who do you think will lose once the project is operational?


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