mercredi 25 septembre 2013

Éclairages : Kenya, Shebab et jihad

Sonia Le Gouriellec, Libération - Affaiblis en Somalie, les shebab ont porté la terreur au Kenya : « Les shebab ont perdu le contrôle de Mogadiscio, la capitale de la Somalie, en 2011, ainsi que celui de plusieurs villes importantes du sud du pays face aux troupes de la force africaine (Amisom) et des forces armées kényanes. Par ailleurs, ils sont victimes d'incessantes querelles internes. Leur affaiblissement est réel. Alors que le jihad local s'essouffle, ils ont sans doute trouvé un autre moyen d'action en portant la terreur dans un pays voisin. Mais soyons prudents: ce n'est pas la première fois qu'on les dit durablement affaiblis et qu'ils redressent la tête. [...] On peut être inquiet pour la communauté somalie au Kenya, de confession musulmane dans un pays majoritairement chrétien. Elle a toujours été mal intégrée. Les Somalis sont traditionnellement mal vus au Kenya. Beaucoup les surnomment «les Bandits», c’est dire... L'opération terroriste va sans nul doute alimenter des tensions intercommunautaires. »


Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchen, Foreign Affairs - Jihad Comes to Kenya : « Kenya, which is dominated by a large Christian majority, has a history of religious tolerance, and its Muslim population is no exception. [...] But tensions between the Christian majority and the Muslim minority are building. There are many reasons for this, but they include the growth of confrontational Salafi groups and the economic and political marginalization of Muslims. Those problems have been exacerbated by attacks on churches that are specifically designed to provoke communal anxiety.[...] Not all of those who left Somalia to return home have rejected al Shabaab. In fact, many fighters are being pushed out of Somalia into Kenya as al-Shabaab loses control of its territories there to AMISOM. They are bringing with them their guns, grenades, and ideas. In July 2012, Kenyan police issued a number of warnings about individuals who they believe have returned to Kenya under instructions from Ali to carry out attacks on civilian and military targets. It is likely, therefore, that in the coming months Kenyans will suffer more homegrown violence. »


Mwaura Samora, World Policy - Kenya and the Somali Question : « Al-Shabab and its supporters have been carrying out attacks in Eastleigh and other parts of Kenya in retaliation for the country’s invasion of Somalia. In a recent report, the group warned it may even shift its tactics to target high rise buildings in central Nairobi. The new security threat cannot be fought with the methods used to solve routine street crimes since its perpetrators are not common criminals but religious fanatics. Kenyan authorities need to retrain internal security agents to gather intelligence among Somalis without making them feel intimidated or estranged. The local Somali population needs to be recruited as informers and spies since they are the only ones who can identify al-Shabab elements in their midst. The system of localizing intelligence gathering is bound to be more effective than the indiscriminate large-scale police sweeps that net innocent people and sow seeds of hostility between the security forces and local Somali. »


Magnus Taylor, African Arguments - Westgate attack demonstrates Kenya’s continuing ‘Somalia problem’ : « That such a violent and abhorrent act should take place in Westgate was no accident – it was carefully chosen by people who knew how they could have the greatest impact on Kenya and get the most coverage internationally: strike where the rich and the foreign hang out. This is a place that symbolises the country’s confident new wealth : The growing economy, the two-fingers-to-the-west election of ICC-indicted Uhuru Kenyatta, the evident, but incomplete, ‘Africa rising’ narrative. But it also demonstrates the extent of the Somalia-shaped problem Kenya has on its doorstep. [...] Kenya has a genuine security problem with Somalia which is unlikely to be addressed by the withdrawal of Kenyan forces from the country. Hallake, again, describes the Westgate attack as being “a case of a systemic intelligence failure which is a function of intelligence aligning itself with politics rather than being a professional outfit… the case for an enhanced and deepened security sector reform has never been this urgent.” Stig Hansen says that Kenya is “not even close” to disrupting Shabaab’s capacity to carry out sophisticated attacks of this nature. To fight this threat Kenya is going to need more international support with its intelligence and counter-terrorism strategy. This is something western countries are well-qualified and capable of providing. No one wants East Africa’s most important city to descend further into fear and paranoia given its key role as a regional hub for business, diplomacy and the development sector. Kenya should also avoid a knee-jerk crackdown on its Somali population, something that has the potential to stimulate yet further violence, which is no doubt what the attackers intended. »

Ken Menkhau, Thinkprogress.org - What The Deadly Attack On A Kenya Mall Was Really About : « Yet for six years, the jihadi group opted only for a series of relatively small-scale attacks in Kenya, most of which appear to have been free-lance actions inspired by, rather than directly launched by, Shabaab. What was constraining Shabaab, even at the height of its power and popularity in Somalia in 2007-08, from taking the war to Kenya? The answer, we surmised, was that Shabaab did not want to disrupt the interests of hundreds of thousands of Somalis living and investing in Kenya. Since the collapse of the Somali state in 1991, over a million Somalis have fled to and through Kenya, and many now have extensive business and real estate investments there. [...] Many of us also warned that Shabaab’s reluctance to attack soft targets in Kenya (or elsewhere, including in the US) was contingent on the group’s continued success in Somalia. Were the group to weaken and fragment, it would be more likely to consider high-risk terrorism abroad. Paradoxically, a weakened Shabaab is a greater threat outside Somalia than a stronger Shabaab. And make no mistake – Shabaab is weakened. It is still one of the strongest armed groups in south-central Somalia, and still capable of daily assassinations and terrorist attacks in Mogadishu, but it is in a state of serious decline. »

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