Kenya – ‘Terror in Nairobi: The Full Story behind al-Shabaab’s Mall Attack’ (Guardian, 2013) – By Timothy Holland (2016-17)

By Timothy Holland (2016-17)

Analysis of ‘Terror in Nairobi: the full story behind al-Shabaab’s mall attack’ (The Guardian, 4th October 2013)

The chosen news item for this essay is an article written in the Guardian by Daniel Howden entitled ‘Terror in Nairobi: the full story behind al-Shabaab’s mall attack”. The focus of the article is the September 2013 attack by the Islamic militant group al-Shabaab. The attack consisted of numerous gunmen opening fire in the Westgate shopping mall in an upscale part of Nairobi, Kenya. 67 people died and 175 were injured in the attacks, making it one of the deadliest al-Shabaab attacks in Kenya.[1] This essay aims to explain why a Somali militant group is committing violent acts against innocent civilians in Kenya.

In order to achieve this aim, this essay will firstly analyse the chosen news article, and demonstrate how it has provided a poor explanation of the causes of the attack and has failed to situate the attack in any wider context. This essay will then provide a background to the al-Shabaab group and the political situation in Somalia. Following that, this essay will examine the motives that drive al-Shabaab to commit such acts. From this, the essay will be able to classify whether the group can be defined as terrorist, and if so which category of terrorism would best describe it.  Additionally, this essay will look specifically at the Westgate attack and analyse why it was chosen as a target by al-Shabaab. Before concluding, this essay will look at the potential legitimacy of the act using the Just War Theory and the counter-terrorist response to the attacks.

Despite being titled “the full story” behind the attacks, Howden’s article in the Guardian does little to provide any background to the attacks and fails to shed light on any underlying issues or motives. The article only mentions al-Shabaab once – the rest of the article is an overly dramatic timeline of the events that transpired. The article reads more like a fictional novel than a news article, a good example being “12.50pm: Summoning his courage, Hakim approached one of the men, who was wielding an assault rifle in each hand.”[2] What is missing from the article is any mention of why al-Shabaab committed this terrorist attack, or even who al-Shabaab are.

Anderson & McKnight classify al-Shabaab as a “Salafist jihadi Islamic movement.”[3]  Shinn states the group’s main aims are “seizing power throughout Somalia, incorporating Somali-inhabited areas of Kenya and Ethiopia, and creating an Islamic caliphate.”[4] To fully explain who al-Shabaab are it is necessary to examine the recent history of Somalia. The state has had a troubled history with militant Islam – Shinn states that such a militant Islamic influence has existed in Somalia for decades. He goes on to suggest how the influence was restrained by the dictatorial rule of President Siad Barre, but began to flourish once again following his overthrow in 1991.[5] This was exacerbated in 1993 when Osama bin Laden ordered “a team of al Qaeda veterans to conduct operations in Somalia.”[6] Osama bin Laden saw Somalia as a safe haven for its operations in Africa.

Somalia turned out to be less of a haven than al Qaeda originally planned, but the group did find a foothold and supported the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC). The UIC controlled considerable amounts of territory in Somalia up until 2007 when they were pushed back by the Ethiopian army.[7]  Following this defeat some UIC fighters fled across the border into Kenya but were captured and sent back to areas in Somalia not controlled by the UIC where they faced punishment for their actions.[8]

In the following months, the UIC split into moderate and extremist groups – the extremists in part becoming known as al-Shabaab. In 2012 it was formally announced that al-Shabaab had pledged allegiance and had joined Al-Qaeda.[9] This allowed the groups to share strategies, tactics and ideologies and Al Qaeda formally became a source of mutual support for al-Shabaab.[10]

Up until 2011 al-Shabaab were successful in Somalia and held significant amounts of territory. At the time, they were battling with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG). The TFG was supported by the United Nations, African Union and the Arab League – it was therefore widely regarded by the international community as the rightful sovereign government of Somalia.[11] It did however control very little territory and required a peacekeeping force from the African Union – crucially including Kenya, to hold what land it did govern.

In 2012 the TFG was disbanded and the Federal Government of Somalia was formed. It was from this point that al-Shabaab experienced a downfall – in 2014 a US airstrike killed Ahmed Godane, the leader of al-Shabaab, and a full amnesty was offered to all moderate members of the group.[12]  Despite the loss in territory and the killing of their leader, al-Shabaab continues to be a formidable violent group. As a consequence of losing its territory, al-Shabaab was freed of the responsibilities of government and became leaner, less restricted and stopped trying to contest a full-scale war that it could not win.[13] Their modus operandi was also adapted as a result of the new situation the group found itself. Anderson & McKnight state that the group has been transformed from an “overt, military and governmental force in southern Somalia to a covert, insurgent and anarchic force in Kenya.”[14] al-Shabaab exploits divisions among groups in its area of operation – it specifically targets Christians and non-Muslims while radicalizing Kenya’s Islamic youth.[15]

The intervention of the African Union armies in Somalia to push back the UIC was used by al-Shabaab as a rallying call to recruit members.[16] This sense of both current and historic foreign intervention in Somalia is one of the core motives behind the attacks perpetrated by al-Shabaab. AMISOM (The African Union Mission to Somalia) is the formal name for the 22,000 troops who were authorized by the United Nations to battle al-Shabaab in Somalia.[17] In 2011, as part of Operation Linda Nchi – the Kenyan name for its military operation in Southern Somalia, Kenya was involved in a yearlong bloody conflict to capture the port city of Kismayo. The assault was eventually successful and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) seized the city.

The taking of Kismayo was particularly damaging for al-Shabaab as port cities such as this were the sources of significant portions of funding for the group. According to Keatinge, in 2011 al-Shabaab’s annual revenue was between $70 and $100 million – largely stemming from “duties and fees levied at airports and seaports.”[18] al-Shabaab responded to the seizing of the city of Kismayo by “taking the struggle back into Kenya.”[19]  al-Shabaab sought revenge for the seizing of this important city and within days bomb attacks were launched against Kenya. This eventually grew into a full-scale al-Shabaab insurgency within the country.[20]

Alongside the retaliation against Kenya, religion is a key component of what drives al-Shabaab. It is important to note that Somalia has an extremely high percentage of Muslims as part of its population – around 98%.[21] According to Mwangi, militant Islamists have historically not had high levels of support in Somalia. He goes on to suggest however that this has changed with the external military intervention of the African Union.[22]  This intervention coupled with the US’s post 9/11 counter-terrorism strategy led to the radicalization of a group of dedicated jihadists which provided the base for the rise of extremism in Somalia.[23] al-Shabaab grew as a result of this new extremist mindset in Somalia and the group has called for the full implementation of Sharia Law and the creation of an Islamic caliphate in what they call Greater Somalia – along the borders of the Horn of Africa and including Kenya.[24]

al-Shabaab is inherently anti-Christian, and sees the religion as going against their beliefs and therefore classified the religion as an enemy to their perceived caliphate. As a result, al-Shabaab specifically targets Christians in their attacks – including the Westgate attack where the militants checked ID’s and shot anyone with a Christian sounding name.[25]  This targeting of Christians also explains why al-Shabaab specifically targets Kenya rather than other countries involved in AMISOM. Kenya has an abnormally high Christian population for the region – US State department estimate that 80% of the 43million Kenyan population is Christian.[26] In comparison, Ethiopia, another highly active participant of AMISOM has a Christian population of under 50%.[27] Both these Christian populations are much higher than the almost non-existent Christian population in Somalia, and contrasts to the states 98% Muslim population.

This essay has shown that there are two main motivations of al-Shabaab. Firstly, al-Shabaab seeks revenge for the involvement of foreign forces in removing it from power and intervening in the domestic politics of Somalia. Secondly, al-Shabaab has a religious motive of targeting enemies of the Caliphate, specifically Christians. This essay will now discuss why al-Shabaab chose the Westgate mall as the specific location for the attack.

The Westgate mall is in an upscale part of the Kenyan capital. This means that it attracted prominent Kenyans and was also frequented by foreign visitors to the capital. By attacking and killing foreigners al-Shabaab was able receive more media attention than they would have if it was a purely domestic attack. For instance, the attacks received considerable attention in British media as a result of the 4 Britons that were killed in the attack.[28] Further to this desire to kill foreigners al-Shabaab was aware that the mall was frequented by the Kenyan societies elite. For instance, the President of Kenya’s nephew was killed in the attacks and his son was present but managed to escape.[29] A spokesmen for al-Shabaab said that mall was targeted as it was frequented by “the one percent of the one percent.”[30]

The stated reason by al-Shabaab for the attack was as direct revenge for Operation Linda Nchi and the Kenyan military seizing the city of Kismayo.[31] It can therefore be seen as an ‘eye for eye’ attack – especially considering the importance al-Shabaab saw in Kismayo and Kenya saw in its tourism industry, which was badly damaged as a result of the attack.[32]

This essay thus far has avoided using the term terrorist when describing al-Shabaab. This was a deliberate decision owing to the highly contentious and pejorative nature of the term. Despite that, this essay will now demonstrate how the actions of al-Shabaab in the Westgate attack constitute terrorism by two academic definitions.

Bruce Hoffman defines terrorism as “the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence in the pursuit of change.”[33] The Westgate attack is a clear example of how the actions of al-Shabaab deliberately created fear in order to achieve their political aims of removing Kenyan soldiers from Somalia. The decision al-Shabaab made to target a mall full of civilians and not Kenyan infrastructure or military complex illustrates how their intent was not to physically affect the ability of troops to participate in the Somalia campaign but was to affect policy makers through the creation of fear in the population.

Walter Laqueur provides a definition of terrorism that reads “the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective when innocent people are targeted.”[34] The Westgate attack consisted of the illegal killing of 67 people, this would undoubtedly satisfy the illegitimate clause of this definition. Furthermore, the attack deliberately targeted the mall where the group knew innocent civilians would be – students, a pregnant woman and a 78-year-old man were all amongst the victims.[35] The attack also had the intention of achieving the political objective of removing Kenyan troops from Somalia.

Despite using only two of the many definitions available to describe terrorism, this essay has demonstrated how the Westgate attack is defined as terrorist by both. It is therefore the view of this essay that al-Shabaab is a terrorist group, and calling it such is fair and without prejudice. Further to the use of academic definitions, both the United States and United Kingdom governments have classified al-Shabaab as a terrorist organization.[36]

Since it has now been shown that al-Shabaab is terrorist group, this essay will now discuss which category of terrorism the Westgate attack would fall under. Gus Martin outlines four types of terrorism – state, dissident, religious and international.[37] This essay would contend that the Westgate attack would fall in the categories of dissident, religious and international terrorism.

Martin describes dissident terrorism as “terrorism from below committed by nonstate movements and groups against governments, ethno-national groups, religious groups, and other perceived enemies.”[38] Even at the peak of its power when it controlled significant amounts of territory al-Shabaab was not considered a state by the international community.  It therefore can only be classified as a nonstate movement. Its targets are the government of Kenya and the Christian religious group both of whom they consider to be a barrier to the spread of the caliphate. al-Shabaab therefore fits well with Martin’s definition of dissident terrorism.

On the topic of religious terrorism – Martin describes it as “terrorism motivated by an absolute belief that an otherworldly power has sanctioned.”[39] This essay has already established that al-Shabaab believes they are conducting a jihad against non-believers and have the intent to create an Islamic caliphate. Furthermore, it has been shown that al-Shabaab specifically targeted Kenya as a result of its high Christian population.  It would therefore entirely appropriate to designate al-Shabaab as a religious terrorist group.

The final of Martin’s categories which applies to al-Shabaab is international terrorism. He defines this as “terrorism that spills over onto the world stage. Targets are selected because of their value as symbols of international interests.” The Westgate attack was carried out in Kenya by a Somali militant group. It therefore crossed borders and as such must be considered international terrorism. In addition, and as mentioned earlier in this essay, the Westgate mall was frequented by international visitors and was specifically targeted by al-Shabaab as a result.

This essay will now analyse the success of the attacks which must be judged against the stated motives of al-Shabaab. This essay has found the motives of al-Shabaab to be two-fold. Firstly, revenge for Kenya’s involvement in the domestic affairs of Somalia and the desire for the troops to withdraw. Secondly, the group wished to specifically target the significant Christian population that reside within Kenya.

First off, the attacks were successful in the respect that they inflicted a significant number of casualties on Christian members of the Kenyan upper classes. The attacks also gained significant attention around the world and sent a vivid reminder that despite its loss of territory al-Shabaab is still able to “mount violent attacks of the kind that require time, planning and, critically, funding.”[40]

With that being said, and although the attack itself was successful, the response from the Kenyan people and government was not what al-Shabaab desired. Kenya still has its AMISOM headquarters in the city of Kismayo and has 3664 troops in Somalia.[41] There are no plans to remove the troops as a result of the Westgate attack or any of the subsequent attacks that al-Shabaab have carried out against Kenya.

Specifically targeting Christians in the attack has done nothing but increase the desire for Kenyans to show unity.  The phrase “we are one” was widely adopted on social media and news outlets following the attack and thousands of people queued to donate blood and counsel survivors.[42] The attack also strengthened the government of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who gave an impassioned speech denouncing the attack and calling for unity in the face of terror. Furthermore, the attack reinforced the resolve of the Kenyan people to continue the fight against al-Shabaab.[43] To that end, the attacks have been a resounding failure for al-Shabaab – not only have Kenya refused to remove troops from Somalia but they have redoubled their efforts to crush the group.

Mwiti argues however that while the attacks failed to achieve al-Shabaab’s aim of removing Kenyan troops from Somalia the repeated violent attacks have “eroded Kenyans confidence in the ability of their government to protect them.”[44] Mwiti goes on to suggest that this lack of confidence in the government is so serious that it must be considered a national security crisis.[45] It can be seen therefore that al-Shabaab has been successful in instilling fear in the Kenyan population, but as of yet this fear has not removed the will of the Kenyan people to keep up the fight against the group.

Using the Just War principles of Thomas Hurka, this essay will explain how there exists little justification for the al-Shabaab mall attack in Just War Theory. Hurka lists the jus ad bellum principles as Just Cause, Legitimate Authority, Reasonable Hope of Success, Last Resort and Proportionality.[46]

The Just Cause principle states the reason for going to war must not be simply to get revenge but as stated by Fisher must be to correct a grave evil.[47]  It has already been shown that revenge was a primary motive of al-Shabaab and so at the first hurdle of the Just War Theory the al-Shabaab Westgate attack looks difficult to justify. On the other had it could be argued that al-Shabaab was responding legitimately to an occupation by Kenyan troops in Somalia. It is worth noting however that AMISOM is an officially sanctioned UN mission and therefore commands much more legitimacy than the actions of a terrorist group.[48]

al-Shabaab lacks the legitimate authority for the attacks in Kenya. The legitimate authority principle states that a Just War must be “initiated by a political authority within a political system that allows distinctions of justice.”[49] al-Shabaab is not a democratically elected government but instead a militant group that seized power and governs what territory is does hold by fear.[50] al-Shabaab therefore lack the legitimate authority to declare a Just War.

The Reasonable Hope of Success principle arguably supports the actions of al-Shabaab. The principle reads “arms may not be used in a futile cause.”[51] This essay would argue that while the attack was ultimately unsuccessful in achieving its main aim of Kenyan withdrawal from Somalia, al-Shabaab did have some hope for success. As mentioned earlier in this essay – the group was successful in instilling fear in the Kenyan population and eroding the confidence the population has in their government. al-Shabaab have committed many more attacks against Kenya since the Westgate attack – such as the 2015 Garissa University attack that killed 147 people.[52]  Repeated attacks such as this could eventually erode the will of the Kenyan people so much so that their appetite for their countries’ involvement in Somalia ends.

The Last Resort principle states that “force may be used only after all peaceful and viable alternatives have been seriously tried.”[53] al-Shabaab is the violent split off group from the UIC and this essay has shown how it is a terrorist group. The group have revealed that they are unwilling to open dialogues for the peaceful end to the conflict. For instance, Davis mentions that al-Shabaab refused to cooperate in the Djibouti talks which aimed to pave the way for the end of the armed confrontation in Somalia.[54] The use of force and fear are the only methods used by al-Shabaab and the group subsequently fails this principle.

The final principle of the Just War Theory is proportionality. This principle states that “the anticipated benefits of waging a war must be proportionate to its expected evils or harms.”[55] This principle is a matter of perspective and is therefore difficult to analyse. For al-Shabaab, the benefits of waging war would be the removal of the Kenyan military from Somalia which would enable it to take control and govern Somalia in line with its views. al-Shabaab would therefore see the harms caused by their actions as justified. For any group not sympathetic to al-Shabaab the harms are unjustified as there could be no possible benefit to al-Shabaab taking control of Somalia.

This essay has shown how al-Shabaab have failed all but one principle of the Just War Theory. Given that all principles must be met for a war to be considered just this essay is confident in describing the actions of al-Shabaab in the Westgate attack as unjust and not a component of a just war.

The essay will now examine the counter terrorist response to the al-Shabaab militant group. A RAND Corporation report states that despite the weakening of al-Shabaab from 2011 to 2016 the group is still not defeated and steps are required to “address the political, economic, and governance challenges at the heart of the conflict.”[56]

The RAND report has three main recommendations for the counter terrorism strategy against al-Shabaab. Firstly, the reopening of diplomatic ties to Somalia is important as to grant legitimacy to the new government and allow it to develop diplomatic and trade relationships with the rest of the world. The report specifically emphasizes that the reopening of the US embassy in Somalia is essential in allowing the Somali government to better develop strong relations with the US. This would further enable the US to exert its influence in the region, which is seen by RAND to be important for peace.[57]

Secondly, the report outlines the need for the increase in economic assistance to Somalia. Areas that have been decimated by al-Shabaab need to be rebuilt, and targeted economic assistance in such areas would allow for the state to retain control and ensure the areas do not fall back into the hands of al-Shabaab.[58]

Finally, the support of Western militaries to train and assist the Somali National Army is vital for the long-term security of Somalia and will enable the government to hold territory once AMISOM forces have withdrawn.[59] The RAND report also finds that the use of U.S. Special Forces to conduct targeted strikes and provide intelligence is vital to degrading the capabilities of al-Shabaab.[60]

The study found that any progress made against al-Shabaab is reversible if continued political, economic and social reforms are not made in Somalia.[61] al-Shabaab will not give up on its ambitions to control Greater Somalia and will seek to retake territory as and when AMISOM troops withdraw. This occurred in February 2016 when al-Shabaab retook the port city of Merka after AMISOM troops pulled out.[62] The overarching counter-terrorist strategy therefore is the US taking the lead in preparing the Somali government for the eventual withdrawal of AMISOM troops through diplomatic, economic and military means

In conclusion, this essay found the Guardian news article covering the Westgate attack failed to provide any context or explanation. This essay found the primary motive for the Westgate attack was Kenya’s involvement in the African Union’s mission in Somalia. Furthermore, the large Christian population in Kenya made it a particular target of al-Shabaab owing to the Islamic extremist views of the group. The Westgate mall was chosen as the specific target due to its upper-class clientele and the high probability of killing foreigners which provided media coverage for the group. The essay then illustrated that because of the Westgate attack al-Shabaab can be classified as a dissident, religious and international terrorist organization. The essay found the attacks were largely unsuccessful in achieving the aims set out by al-Shabaab. The attack was analyzed by using the Just War Theory that showed how the attack could not be considered a component of a just war. Finally, this essay showed how diplomatic, economic and military means were all required in the counter terrorism strategy against al-Shabaab.

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 Endnotes

[1] BBC, “Kenya’s Westgate Shopping Mall Reopens After Tragedy,” BBC Africa (BBC News), July 18, 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-33578890.

[2] Daniel Howden, “Terror in Nairobi: The Full Story Behind al-Shabaab’s Mall Attack,” The Guardian (The Guardian), October 4, 2013, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/04/westgate-mall-attacks-kenya.

[3] David M. Anderson and Jacob McKnight, “Understanding al-Shabaab: Clan, Islam and Insurgency in Kenya,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 9, no. 3 (July 3, 2015), 536. doi:10.1080/17531055.2015.1082254.

[4] David Shinn, “Al Shabaab’s Foreign Threat to Somalia,” Orbis 55, no. 2 (January 2011), 204.  doi:10.1016/j.orbis.2011.01.003.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid, 205.

[7] Ibid, 206.

[8] Ibid.

[9] BBC, “Somalia’s Al-Shabab Join Al-Qaeda,” BBC Africa (BBC News), February 10, 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16979440.

[10] David Shinn, “Al Shabaab’s Foreign Threat to Somalia,” Orbis 55, no. 2 (January 2011), 206.  doi:10.1016/j.orbis.2011.01.003.

[11] David Shinn, “Al Shabaab’s Foreign Threat to Somalia,” Orbis 55, no. 2 (January 2011), 203.  doi:10.1016/j.orbis.2011.01.003.

[12] SOMALIA: President Says Godane Is Dead, Now Is the Chance for the Members of al-Shabaab to Embrace Peace,” RBC Radio, September 5, 2014, accessed December 14, 2016, http://www.raxanreeb.com/2014/09/somalia-president-says-godane-is-dead-now-is-the-chance-for-the-members-of-al-shabaab-to-embrace-peace/.

[13] Tom Keatinge, The Role of Finance in Defeating al-Shabaab, (London: RUSI, 2014), https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201412_whr_2-14_keatinge_web_0.pdf..

[14] David M. Anderson and Jacob McKnight, “Understanding al-Shabaab: Clan, Islam and Insurgency in Kenya,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 9, no. 3 (July 3, 2015), 536. doi:10.1080/17531055.2015.1082254.

[15] Ibid, 538.

[16] David Shinn, “Al Shabaab’s Foreign Threat to Somalia,” Orbis 55, no. 2 (January 2011), 206.  doi:10.1016/j.orbis.2011.01.003.

[17] David M. Anderson and Jacob McKnight, “Understanding al-Shabaab: Clan, Islam and Insurgency in Kenya,” Journal of Eastern African Studies 9, no. 3 (July 3, 2015), 537. doi:10.1080/17531055.2015.1082254.

[18] Tom Keatinge, The Role of Finance in Defeating al-Shabaab, (London: RUSI, 2014), https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201412_whr_2-14_keatinge_web_0.pdf.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Oscar Mwangi, “State Collapse, al-Shabaab , Islamism, and Legitimacy in Somalia,” Politics, Religion & Ideology 13, no. 4 (December 2012), 517.  doi:10.1080/21567689.2012.725659.

[22] Ibid, 518.

[23] Ibid.

[24] “What Is al-Shabaab?,” Tony Blair Faith Foundation, September 6, 2016, accessed January 5, 2017, http://tonyblairfaithfoundation.org/religion-geopolitics/commentaries/backgrounder/what-al-shabaab.

[25] “Terrorists Target Christians in Nairobi Mall, Killing More Than 60 Shoppers,” Christianity Today, September 22, 2013, accessed January 6, 2017, http://www.christianitytoday.com/gleanings/2013/september/al-shabaab-nairobi-kenya-westgate-mall-somalia.html.

[26] “Kenya 2012 International Religious Freedom Report,” United States Department of State, 2012, accessed January 6, 2017, https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/208372.pdf.

[27] “Ethiopia 2007 International Religious Freedom Report,” United States Department of State, 2007, accessed January 6, 2017, https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/2007/90097.htm.

[28] BBC, “Nairobi Attack: British Death Toll Lower Than Thought,” BBC UK (BBC News), September 26, 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-24287270.

[29] “Kenya: A Different Country,” The Economist, September 28, 2013, accessed January 6, 2017, http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21586851-national-politics-has-shifted-response-attack-somali-terrorists/.

[30] Ibid.

[31] The Real Reason Al-Shabab Attacked a Mall in Kenya,” Defense One, September 24, 2013, accessed January 5, 2017, http://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2013/09/real-reason-al-shabab-attacked-mall-kenya/70780/.

[32] Simon Busch, “Mall Attack Another Blow to Kenya’s Tourism Industry,” CNN (CNN), September 24, 2013, http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/23/travel/mall-attack-kenya-tourism/.

[33] Bruce Hoffman, Inside Terrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2006), 43.

[34] Gus Martin, Essentials of Terrorism: Concepts and Controversies, 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2010), 9.

[35] BBC, “Nairobi Westgate Attack: The Victims,” BBC Africa (BBC News), September 26, 2013, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24195845.

[36] Home Office, List of Proscribed Terror Organisations, (London: Home Office, 2016), https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/578385/201612_Proscription.pdf.

[37] Gus Martin, Essentials of Terrorism: Concepts and Controversies, 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: SAGE Publications, 2010), 10.

[38] Ibid.

[39] Ibid.

[40] Tom Keatinge, The Role of Finance in Defeating al-Shabaab, (London: RUSI, 2014), https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201412_whr_2-14_keatinge_web_0.pdf.

[41] “Kenya – KDF,” AMISOM, accessed January 6, 2017, http://amisom-au.org/kenya-kdf/.

[42] “Kenya: A Different Country,” The Economist, September 28, 2013, accessed January 6, 2017, http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21586851-national-politics-has-shifted-response-attack-somali-terrorists/.

[43] Ibid.

[44] Lee Mwiti, “al-Shabaab’s Greatest Achievement Could Be Remaking Kenya into a Soft Military State,” MG Africa (MG Africa), December 7, 2014, http://mgafrica.com/article/2014-12-05-al-shabaabs-greatest-achievement-could-be-the-remaking-of-the-kenyan-state.

[45] Ibid.

[46] Christopher Toner, “The Logical Structure of Just War Theory,” The Journal of Ethics 14, no. 2 (February 27, 2010), 82.  doi:10.1007/s10892-010-9072-0.

[47] Thomas Fisher, The Planner Handbook (United States: Lulu.com, 2014), 22.

[48] “United Nations Security Council Resolutions,” AMISOM, accessed January 6, 2017, http://amisom-au.org/key-documents/united-nations-security-council-resolutions/.

[49] Thomas Fisher, The Planner Handbook (United States: Lulu.com, 2014), 24.

[50] Mary Harper, “Somalis Sent Back Home in Fear of Al-Shabab,” BBC Africa (BBC News), June 16, 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-27817431.

[51] Thomas Fisher, The Planner Handbook (United States: Lulu.com, 2014), 25.

[52] BBC, “Kenya Attack: 147 Dead in Garissa University Assault,” BBC Africa (BBC News), April 3, 2015, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-32169080.

[53] Thomas Fisher, The Planner Handbook (United States: Lulu.com, 2014), 24.

[54] John Davis, Terrorism in Africa: The Evolving Front in the War on Terror (New York, NY, United States: Lexington Books, 2010), 16.

[55] Thomas Fisher, The Planner Handbook (United States: Lulu.com, 2014), 24.

[56] Seth Jones, Andrew Liepman, and Nathan Chandler, Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Somalia: Assessing the Campaign Against Al-Shaba AB (United States: RAND, 2016), IX.

[57] Ibid, 59.

[58] Ibid.

[59] Ibid.

[60] Ibid.

[61] Seth Jones, Andrew Liepman, and Nathan Chandler, Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency in Somalia: Assessing the Campaign Against Al-Shaba AB (United States: RAND, 2016), X.

[62] Ibid.

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One thought on “Kenya – ‘Terror in Nairobi: The Full Story behind al-Shabaab’s Mall Attack’ (Guardian, 2013) – By Timothy Holland (2016-17)

  1. This is an excellent essay which demonstrates very good understanding of the case study and perceptive critical thinking. It builds on a very wide range of relevant sources which it deploys well. It is very well structured, very well written, and very well referenced.

    The one significant weakness is on counter-terrorism. For some reason, the essay only discusses it through US-centric prism of RAND, and ends up only making recommendations that concern primarily Somalia, not Kenya (where the particular act of violence took place). This is all the more surprisingly narrow and out of focus given how well the essay had sustained the focus on the case study so far. That aside, perhaps the early stages of the essay – those that go through a lengthy (though admittedly very well written) background history – could be shortened and sharpened somewhat.

    Still, on the whole, this is an excellent analysis, reflecting originality, insight and mastery of the topic, demonstrating critical enough reading of an extensive range of texts, built on independent research, and putting forth a persuasively articulated argument.

    Like

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