OLN, Operation Linda Inchi by Kenya; Ramifications on GeopoliticsJuly 13 | Posted by David Goldman | Geopolitik, Intelligence News
Since October 2011 when OLN was commissioned and KDF soldiers marched into Somalia, Kenya has remained in the international community limelight. This new interest on Kenya is based on two reasons; one, KDF has never been to war, this serves as a chance to identify weaknesses that would jump Kenya to more trouble including war crimes and human rights violations due to a poor history in war theaters. Two, the economic capacity of Kenya to sustain a war, besides measure/test the strength of president Kibaki’s hold on the government.
How do these two factors manifest? Last year, we pointed out that Kenya’s military operation in Somalia would provide windows of opportunity to destabilize the government, sabotage the republic economically, and incite civil unrest to destabilize the country’s governance structures. These scenarios played out quickly upon the media reports of war with Al-Qaeda’s Al-Shabaab.
The best time to bring down a government is during the time of war. This is when the country’s defenses are weak if the war is viewed skeptically.Bringing down the government of President Mwai Kibaki can be a great victory for both key global economies that have fallen out with his administration and back home where opposition within the grand-coalition still mulls this possibility. A critical analysis on events that followed upon the launch of OLN lays bare these events and their multifaceted effects.
Civil servants, doctors, teachers, nurses, university lecturers, the extremism of MRC (Mombasa Republican Council), and the Kenya police are some of the government departments that nearly crashed between October 2011 and April 2012. Doctors and nurses strike insisting on pay rises, led to deaths in hospitals. The ramification of such a catastrophic eventuality is not only dangerous but a panacea for civil unrest’s and subsequent civilian coup. These civilian coups were witnessed throughout 2011 and 2012, and Kibaki’s ouster would not be strange either.
To plan and execute such operations covertly starts with the moles in both the government and the intelligence community serving that particular government. The political class and its international back up orchestrates events through events such as these strikes to paralyze government operations and portray the president and his cabinet as not capable of handling office. Here, the planning and execution of the strikes followed a chain reaction order. The chain was yanked and the government of Mwai Kibaki hooped in despair. It was a time of war and the possibility of a military officer associated with the operation leading a coup are seconds away from reality. The efforts failed to materialize in both a civilian and military coup. The plotters failed.
President Kibaki weathered these storms besides, managed to increase Kenya’s geopolitical muscle. This is where the National Security Intelligence Service displays capability though still, president Kibaki and informal think tank/advisers contributed significantly in weathering these storms. The outcome of Kibaki’s grandiose is a very terrifying geopolitical and political muscle.
President Kibaki understands politics quite well and he is well aware of the emotions his silent muscle elicits across the Kenyan political class and in the global circles. To orchestrate sabotage with the hope of bringing his government down through deaths of sick fellow citizens, children who are at home not schooling, and a country at war, can only be blamed on his rival politicians who have enough/well placed connections with top members of government institutions such as hospitals and universities. Kibaki after neutralizing these internal threats massively re-armed his army which he is commander in chief.
KDF’s success in Somalia is Kibaki’s blatant insult to the international community and regional military players who have all along looked Kenya down besides dwarfing its military. Low causality levels and massive success in Somalia have yanked KDF to a respected military peak. While this fact is resisted, events that have played out since the launch of the operation in Somalia provides insight on KDF’s significance and central role in shaping the current speedy success in Somalia peace process.
AMISOM, before the entry of KDF was not making any inroads against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. The number of dead soldiers after ambushes by a strong Al-Shabaab kept them pinned down for years. Uganda for example has been in Mogadishu for more than half a decade without making any strategic gains against the militants until 2011-2012.
Ethiopia’s military personnel were also victim of serious Al-Shabaab onslaught that forced them into a hasty retreat. Today, the Al-Shabaab militia in the north of Somalia constantly attacks Ethiopian military personnel. However, the entry of KDF in October 2011 set in motion various events that have helped AMISOM to have a face. Africa for the first time can show off an effective peacekeeping operation.
KDF was able to cutoff economic and military supplies to the militants, severed its units from effective leadership and administrative centers, besides stopping subsequent/further training of recruits to effective militants. With most of these resources and facilities based in the south, KDF destroyed them with brute force. Bombing with the looked down F-5 freedom fighter jets, MD500 attack helicopters, artillery and Gun-Ship attack helicopters.
The outcomes have been executive, proved by a weakened and incapable to survive Al-Shabaab. These aspects of the militants are observed through its lack of resources confirmed by its efforts to raise funds using force. Kenya, though resisted, now has a geopolitical muscle that dwarfs the geostrategic significance of other economic and military players in east and central Africa. Nairobi is proud and a symbol of the regions center of economic and military power.
This geostrategic value has not gone down well with both neighbors and strategic partners in development.
However, the geopolitical ramifications of OLN, besides the opportunity to test Kibaki’s leadership strength consummated domestic national security threats such as the land militancy problem posed by MRC (Mombasa Republican Council). An assessment on the funding, support, and objectives of the MRC draws out the actual picture of how the geopolitical advantage Kenya has against other regional economic-military players such as Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Tanzania, CAR, and Ethiopia.
National Intelligence service reports of some regions members supporting the MRC with the objective being to degrade Kenya. This is one of the scenarios/events that OLN gave opportunity. The objective of such countries is analyzed as sabotage aimed at crippling Kenya’s geopolitical muscle. By destabilizing the coastal region through militant activities, Nairobi would be completely weakened. This would provide ample ground on Uganda and Sudan to squeeze concessions out of Nairobi and save their geopolitical significance.
The scenario economic intelligence agents deployed by foreign players want to structure is a Nairobi that has no value to the East and Central Africa. The Ethiopia-Somalia-Southern Sudan transport corridor fails to materialize, the Mombasa-Nairobi transport corridor crashes cutting off Nairobi to revenues gained from tax levied on Central and East African transporters, importers, and exporters, cut-off import and exports to Kenya, and most dangerous, kill the tourism industry which depends heavily on the Coastal region further crippling Nairobi to a shadow of itself.
President Kibaki’s geopolitical strategy has been that of economic growth that is protected by an equally strong and growing military. This is based on an economic-military analysis. Kibaki’s plan is to ensure he co-joins the East and Central Africa with Nairobi wherein the economy of the region heartbeat is felt through Nairobi while the rest are the veins and arteries. However, this position is strongly guarded by effective administration besides a very strategic regional and international support that ensures policy and administration of the Nairobi process is not compromised by the region.
In President Kibaki’s National security risk assessment, the government made judgments about the relative impact and likelihood of each risk in comparison with others. This involves consideration of the impact of an event (based on economic consequences, casualties and social/structural factors); and the likelihood of this event occurring over a determined time frame. This explains the interaction between economics & strategy and relates military conflicts to economic progress. How far is Uganda economically?
Wealth is usually needed to underpin military power and military power is usually needed to acquire and protect wealth, But if too much money is diverted towards military expenditures or if the state over extends itself by too many conquests, the results will not be satisfactory. As such, without Kenya assuming the position of the regional superpower, its aspects (economy, military successes) project so quite effectively. This is the reason why President Kibaki has been very consistent in economic development while in the sidelines, gradually grew his armed forces to protect this economy.