Kenya at war: Al-Shabaab and its enemies in Eastern Africa

Journal article

Anderson, David M. & Jacob McKnight (2015) Kenya at war: Al-Shabaab and its enemies in Eastern Africa, African Affairs 114 (454): 1–27.

Read the article here (Open Access)

Kenya's invasion of southern Somalia, which began in October 2011, has turned into an occupation of attrition – while “blowback” from the invasion has consolidated in a series of deadly Al-Shabaab attacks within Kenya. This article reviews the background to the invasion, Operation Linda Nchi, and the prosecution of the war by Kenya's Defence Forces up to the capture of the city of Kismayo and the contest to control its lucrative port. The second section discusses Al-Shabaab's response, showing how the movement has reinvented itself to take the struggle into Kenya. We conclude that while the military defeat of Al-Shabaab in southern Somalia seems inevitable, such a victory may become irrelevant to Kenya's ability to make a political settlement with its Somali and wider Muslim communities at home.

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