Note: This article is from the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.
Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, said his country is ready to “make everything available” to Kenya to secure its borders and boost its internal security as it continues its incursion into its [chaotic] neighbor [Kenya’s territory to fight al Shabaab].
Details of the deal were not immediately released.
Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister, said that increasing internal security threats “called for more advanced and improved security measures.”
Kenyan forces swept across the border into Somalia six weeks ago, with the aim of routing al-Shabaab, Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked Islamist insurgents.
“Israel can help Kenya police to build the capacity to be able to detect militants, know what kinds of arms they have and preempt and destroy the networks that recruit youths and kill inside the country,” Mr. Odinga said in a statement.
The recruitment of young men from Kenya to fight for al-Shabaab was also a threat that his government had to “deal with urgently,” he added.
Mr. Odinga, who is on an official visit to Jerusalem, also met with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, who echoed his president’s offers of support.
“Kenya’s enemies are Israel’s enemies so we should be able to help,” Mr. Netanyahu was quoted as saying after the meeting.
“We have similar forces planning to bring us down. I see it as an opportunity to strengthen our ties.”
Israel has in the past helped Kenya following al-Qaeda attacks on the US embassy in the capital, Nairobi, in 1998.
Four years later, al-Qaeda blew up a hotel on Kenya’s coast popular with Israeli tourists, killing 15 people, and tried to shoot down a holiday jet leaving Kenya for Tel Aviv.
The new agreement, announced on Monday, however risked further enraging al-Shabaab, Somalia’s jihadist insurgents, and was likely to temper [lessen] support for the Kenyans’ actions within Somalia, analysts warned.
“This move will give [al-Shabaab] room to push the perception that this is not just Kenya fighting for itself, but that it is a coalition of Christian or non-Muslims fighting against Muslims,” said Andrews Atta-Asamoah of the Institute for Security Studies in Nairobi.
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1. Before answering the questions, read the “Background” below to gain a better understanding about al Shabaab.
How is Israel going to help Kenya?
2. What help does Kenya’s President Raila Odinga want Israel to provide?
3. Why is Israel helping Kenya?
4. What is al Shabaab?
5. Analysts warned that the new agreement between Kenya and Israel risked further enraging al-Shabaab, and was likely to lessen support for Kenyans within Somalia. “This move will give [al-Shabaab] room to push the perception that this is not just Kenya fighting for itself, but that it is a coalition of Christian or non-Muslims fighting against Muslims,” said Andrews Atta-Asamoah of the Institute for Security Studies in Nairobi. (NOTE: The majority of Kenyans [75-80%] are Christian; 99% of Somalis are Sunni Muslims.) Al Shabaab is a violent, dangerous threat to Kenya.
Should the government of Kenya refuse Israel’s help in defeating al-Shabaab because it might anger Somali citizens? Explain your answer.
SOMALIA’S GOVERNMENT AND AL-SHABAAB: (The U.S. State Department has identified al-Shabaab as a terrorist organization.)
Activities: Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government, forcibly recruit new fighters, and kill activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue and reconciliation. The group has claimed responsibility for several high profile bombings and shootings throughout Somalia targeting African Union troops and TFG officials. It has been responsible for the assassination of numerous civil society figures, government officials, and journalists. Al-Shabaab fighters or those who have claimed allegiance to the group have conducted violent attacks and targeted assassinations against international aid workers and nongovernmental organizations. During 2010, al-Shabaab carried out multiple attacks, including a number in Mogadishu against the TFG and African Union Mission in Somalia. Among the most deadly were a series of attacks in March, which killed at least 60 people and wounded 160 more; and a string of attacks in late August, which killed at least 87 people and wounded 148. Also in August, al-Shabaab suicide bombers entered the Muna Hotel in Mogadishu and killed 31 people, including six members of parliament and four other government officials, when they detonated their explosives on the roof of the hotel. In the organization’s first attack outside of Somalia, al-Shabaab was responsible for the July 11 suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda during the World Cup, which killed nearly 80 people, including one American citizen. In total, al-Shabaab is estimated to be responsible the death of over 900 people in 2010. (from the U.S. State Department’s “2010 Country Reports on Terrorism)
For a map of Africa, go to worldatlas.com.
For an interactive map of the Horn of Africa, go to cfr.org.