Sunday, 19 July 2015

Overview of the Anatomy of Jihad in East Africa – How Arabs and Somalis Endeavor to Subvert the Eastern Rim of Africa

Somalis and resident Arabs have unceasingly attempted to subvert, ruin and extinguish the nation-states of East Africa. Their failure led to the implosion of Somalia in the early 1990s thus necessitating them to beseech their Gulf Arab donors to create, support and sustain a long-term jihadist insurgency in the region. The result of this was the emergence of al-Shabaab, and the end of Somalia as a cohesive entity. Kenya has in turn bade for economic investment from its covert nemeses.
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Al-Shabaab terrorists in Somalia. The al-Qaeda affiliated terror group has received regular foreign support from Gulf Arab Countries.

Besides serving as the epicenter of jihadist insurgency in East Africa, Somalia also serves as the nucleic node for the exportation of Islamic terrorism in the region though the Somalia-based Islamist organization – Al-Shabaab. For this reason, Al-Shabaab continuously strives to extend is jihadist terror campaign across the East African region.
End of Arab Rule and Dominance
Pictorial of an Arab Slave Caravan. Arabs are presently attempting to restore their dominance in East Africa through Islamic Terrorism. Photo Credit: Wikipedia
In early 20th century, Arab invaders who had settled along the Eastern rim of Africa saw an end to their political and economic dominance in the region (and to some extent, in the East African hinterland) as European powers dissolved their city-states, outlawed human servitude (slavery), and introduced Christian civilization to the region. Likewise, Ethiopian emperor, Menelik II, military campaign to conquer Mombasa for the Ethiopian crown was stopped at Marsabit region of modern day Kenya.
During the 19th century, Somali clans and sultanates did launch incessant jihadist campaigns against Ethiopia, then a Christian empire; and also against non-Muslim communities residing in the coastal region of East Africa (in order to source for slaves and plunder). Somalis did sell most of their African slaves to the Arab confederacies established across the Arabian Peninsula. Even so, by 1920, Somali lands had been annexed by European powers and partitioned among the Italians, French and the British. Ethiopia defeated all the Somali jihadist campaigns on its eastern realm, and then annexed the region.
Existential Threat – Kenya Survives its Infancy
In 1960s, exasperated by the relative successes of the Christian cultures around them; Arab supremacists and their supporters planned to subvert the East African nation-states of Kenya, Tanganyika and Zanzibar.
The nascent Republic of Kenya faced an existential threat to its survival, in 1963-1964, as Somali irredentists launched a bloody and violent insurgent campaign in the North-Central, North-Eastern and South-Eastern (coastal) regions of the nation. The Somali insurgents massacred non-Somali populations, and the Kenyan government proportionately repressed the insurgency, and disloyal Somalis were justifiably marginalized in Kenya. Later on, the Kenyan government did commit massacres of its own against violent Somali clans. Nonetheless, the Arabs in Kenya did consciously support the expulsion and decimation of Somalis in the then Coast Province.
In Zanzibar, incensed Africans – led by a Ugandan Luo, John Okello - overthrew their Omani overlords, and in the process massacred thousands of Arab invaders alongside a significant number of Pakistani and Indian aliens who served as the quartermasters for the repressive Arab-dominated military and police forces.
Islamism Takes Root
Smarting from their loss of territories, political clout and economic dominance; and the relative successes of the non-Muslim administrations of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia (as compared to Somalia); Arab chauvinists premeditated a grand subversion of the region, while Somalis plotted to plunge Kenya and Ethiopia into perpetual civil wars. Both plots failed as Somalia imploded, while Arabs in Kenya failed to sabotage the Kenyatta and Moi governments.
In 1990s, Arabs and Somalis rekindled their sedition under the cloaks of Islamism. In Kenya, Arab subverts sponsored an Islamist political party which fronted Aboud Rogo – the foremost violent Islamist ideologue – as one of its candidate. In Somalia, al-Ittihaadi al-Islamiyya (AIAI, the grand forerunner of al-Shabaab) was established using Arab and Somali funds.
Jihad and Terrorism
Arab governments - mainly Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Sudan, Libya and Iraq - disillusioned by the failure of the Somali government to ruin East Africa, and the subsequent implosion of Somalia necessitated them to create, sponsor and sustain jihadist organizations in the region.
The epicenter of the jihadist insurgency and nexus for exportation of Islamic terrorism in the region became Somalia; and the jihadist organization that would emerge as the most successful was Harakat al-Mujahideen al-Shabaab (simply known as al-Shabaab).
Al-Shabaab - An Arab or Somali Front?
Al-Shabaab principal allies in the region are Arab and Somalis who plan to subvert the eastern rim of Africa, dissolve its national boundaries, and subject its populations to a chauvinistic Arab-inspired Islamist tyranny. Gulf Arab states have an interest in sponsoring an insurgent destabilization of the region, with Sudan and Eritrea (a non-Arab hermit state dominated, ironically, by Christians), serving as the vanguard of Islamist subversion.
One of the inherent goals of al-Shabaab is to ruin Kenya by agitating sedition across its Somali-dominated districts. Several Somali politicians –who share the same goals as al-Shabaab- in the region have joined the terror group, and presently serve as its pseudo-political (terror) front.
Starting from 2014, al-Shabaab abruptly changed its tactics in Kenya and resorted to ethnic cleansing signaling political objectives and political support to its activities within the nation. These actions precipitated the Kenyan government to launch nation-wide counter-terrorism operations in 2014, angering many Somali and Arab politicians who denounced the government. Majority of Kenyans did support the counter-terrorism operations thus prompting the political supporters of al-Shabaab (within the nation) to request al-Shabaab to modify its terror tactics in the Kenya, and start profiling Christians for mass killings.
In June 2014, al-Shabaab conducted its first major attack in the Lamu enclave of Mpeketoni. This attack was financed by wealthy Arabs and Muslim Indians residing in Mombasa and Lamu. The logistics for the attack were in fact provided by a prominent Indian-Muslim businessman who was later killed by al-Shabaab.
Somali politicians in Kenya, for instance, Billow Kerrow, still conflate Kenya’s anti-terrorism actions with persecution of ethnic Somalis, even though Kenyan Somalis dominate al-Shabaab cells in the North-Eastern region of Kenya.
To support al-Shabaab activities in Coastal Kenya, wealthy Arabs and several local politicians have enamored to bankroll and support an ethno-nationalist secessionist movement, the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC). Through MRC, al-Shabaab is now able to articulate its ideologies to the Coastal youth, besides using the organization as a vehicle for clandestine recruitment across the Coastal region of Kenya and Tanzania.
Mombasa Republican Council and Muslim NGOs
Inability to subvert and sabotage the nation through legal political processes has driven Arab Islamists to front MRC as the vehicle towards their total dominance of the coastal region.
The Kenyan government initially proscribed the movement and arrested most of its leaders. This prompted MRC to start a violent campaign to further their agenda in the region, but its campaign was contained by the government.
The inherent incapacity of MRC to gain popular support in the Coastal region, accompanied by its fledgling finances, in addition to, its official proscription; convinced Arab Islamists that they needed to create Muslim non-governmental organizations (NGOs) – in particular “Human Rights Organizations” -  as a legal front for their subversion and promotion of Islamist violence in Kenya.
Such Muslim NGOs provide legal representation to apprehended Al-Shabaab terrorists (in Kenya) as well as stymie the legal aspects of counter-terrorism operations in the country. Some of these NGOs also provide covert support and sustenance to established  al-Shabaab cells, in addition to linking al-Shabaab elements to MRC operatives thus, security-wise, creating a combustible environment at the Coast Region. Several Muslim NGOs worked hand-in-hand with MRC during its court battle against the government.
Ethiopian Jihad
Jihad in Ethiopia was predominantly fronted by the outlawed Islamic rebel group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). Nonetheless, Al-Shabaab has attempted to infiltrate Ethiopia from Somalia but its infiltration attempts were nullified by proportionate response by the Ethiopian military. Unable to infiltrate through Somalia, al-Shabaab resorted to penetrate Ethiopia’s border defenses via the Kenyan county of Mandera. Nonetheless, these attempts have so far been quashed by the Ethiopian military.
Jihad in Tanzania
Tanzania is particularly prone to a jihadist insurgency due to its predominant Muslim population, which is largely impoverished, besides, the rapid spread of toxic Wahhabi-takfiri sectarianism among its Muslim population. Al-Shabaab has recruited a substantial number of non-Somalis from Tanzania, especially its North-Eastern region.
Somalis to Al-Shabaab as Arabs to ISIS
Despite their constant support to the al-Qaeda affiliated terror group, al-Shabaab; Arab Islamists residing in Kenya and Tanzania are still wary of al-Shabaab due to its predomination by non-Arabs (Somalis). Moreover, al-shabaab has consciously and continuously refused to appoint Arabs to significant and noticeable top positions within the terror group, due to the fact that Somali mujahedeen have suffered discrimination within Arab-dominated Islamist organizations.
As an alternative to al-Shabaab, Arab jihadists from East Africa have embarked to join the Islamic State (commonly known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Confirmed reports have revealed that several of them have been killed in Iraq (at Ramadi, Tikrit, Suleymaniyah and Mosul) and Syria (Deir ez-Zor, al-Raqqah and Hasakah region). An Arab from Somalia is known to have conducted a suicide attack in Ramadi during ISIS drive into the town.

Even so, ISIS has repeatedly refused to acknowledge the innate differences between Arabs and Somalis; and has consistently declined to accord its Arab mujahedeen preferential treatment, thus presenting itself as an equal opportunity terrorist organization. It is this reason that has enabled ISIS to entrance the Somali mujahedeen fighting under al-Shabaab in Somalia, as well as initiate contact with the Somali terror organization besides sending a group of fighters to fight alongside al-Shabaab in Somalia.

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