Desperate to demonstrate salience and predominance, the Al-Qaeda branch in Somalia Harakat Al-Shabaab Mujahideen (HSM) suffered significant setbacks after their relatively narrow objective at Dusit D2 Hotel Complex in Nairobi, besides, the inferiority of the actors, was spectacularly stymied by Kenya’s Special Forces. The audience of the theatrics, besides the Government of Kenya and its citizens, included Palestinian youths and adherents of radical Islam in the volatile Middle East and Africa, a tactical shift from old tactics that confirms a shrinking reputation in Somalia.
The Dusit D2 event, a case of politically motivated violence against noncombatants, was orchestrated by grassroots jihadists (brainwashed locals in their early adulthood mainly from Kenyan highlands, radicalized in both Uganda and Somalia). All died attempting to achieve coercive leverage for the extremist organization, a commonplace outcome of terrorist acts.
Perhaps it was Harakat Shabaab Mujahideens’ (HSM) watershed event, and in retrospect, designated to turn around the prolonged spell of sustained kinetic operations by the Kenya Army (KDF) in Gedo and Juba regions of Somalia. The ‘Mujahideen’, a retronymic euphuism for brainwashed low-lives who kill and maim unarmed civilians in circumstances that hardly lead to any meaningful battlefield victory will grapple with chagrin after the mortification by Kenya’s elite security units, who demonstrated a combination of tactical proficiency in promptly countering and preempting the hegemony of terrorist skills during attacks in complex structures packed with innocent unarmed civilians.
In sharp contrast with previous terror events, the level of tactical expediency demonstrated, is a vital sign that the group is significantly degraded. Another notable is that, the faces of the cell members remained frowned with fear while their maneuvers largely reflected amateurs. Despite managing to make it to the target, tactically, the bombing was executed but was an innocuous activity, another indicator of panic-stricken cells. While the devices functioned as intended, were timed to instill maximum casualties and the Dusit D2 and the entire Capital to a halt. This psychological impact did not manifest. The cell members throughout the attack drew out a picture of fear-stricken, regretful, and absolutely subdued persons, another indicator of declining salience.
These events demonstrates a catastrophic tactical and strategic loss to the Somali terror group. In fact, these losses will have far reaching psychological setbacks on the group members (loss of inspiration and a decline in morale). Worse, the potential recruits immediately fallout with the group afraid they’ll amount to nothing when they physically join the terror groups. The spectacular operation by Kenyan commandos at the Dusit D2 Complex bespoke the country’s ability to, respond to equivalent threats promptly, stymieing the tactical and strategic implications of terrorist attacks, and most importantly, prevent attacks on human lives and property besides keep these violent extremists from upending political processes.