NAIROBI, KENYA – When you decide, even for the best of reasons, to meddle in the affairs of a neighbouring nation you should not be too surprise if others meddle in yours.
Pity the country where the neighbours are not good. Whether it is a border dispute (hello China with pretty much all its immediate bordering states!) or a desire to right ‘historic wrongs‘ (again, a very common reason why some states go to war), knowing how to deal with the folks next door can be hard.
It would be so nice if we could all just get along, each side making concessions and thereby getting a partial ‘victory‘ instead of both adversaries insisting of walking away with the whole shebang. But then again, world history is rife with those will will not settle for less than everything.
What then to do when the nation on the other side of the fence harbours a terrorist group? Should you stay out of it, hoping that violent extremism does not leak into your backyard? Or should you offer to help your proximate roommates in the spirit of banding together to defeat a (common) enemy?
This is what Kenya has had to think about for some time. Its northeastern continental sharer, Somalia, has been riven by terrorist violence, most frequently in the form of Al Qaeda (AQ)-linked Al Shabaab (AS), for decades. And on occasion Kenya has offered its own assistance to deal with the terrorists, going so far as to contribute troops to an African Union mission known as AMISOM.
Well, that move just invited AS retribution.
On this day in 2012
We have sent more officers on the ground to ensure there is peace.Police chief Moses Nyakwama after protesters had taken to the streets to express their anger over the attack
In 2011 Kenya had sent its troops to fight al-Shabab in Somalia as part of the 18,000-strong AMISOM forces supporting the UN-backed government. And in turn it got attacked. No surprise there alas.
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