As the death toll from the current round of fighting in Somalia mounts, further evidence of the civil war’s destabilizing effects on Kenya and Ethiopia is appearing.
I’ve discussed al Shabab recruitment and incursions in Kenya before, and those trends have continued into September. Reuters warns that “chaos in Somalia is spilling over its borders, fuelling a climate of suspicion in Kenya’s remote northeast where recruiters have been seeking new jihadists to send into battle.”
Now, Kenya’s Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula is warning of a different source of destabilization: the US’s recent raid on wanted terrorist suspect Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan.
Asked about the U.S. raid, which analysts say risks further inflaming anti-Western opinion a region of growing concern, Wetangula expressed mixed feelings.
“To the extent that the United States has said that the operation had some limited success … if their operation has any value to add, we would welcome it,” Wetangula told Reuters in New York where he was attending the U.N. General Assembly.
“What I do not feel comfortable with is the fact that the U.S. would want to conduct operations in our neighborhood without information or cooperation or collaboration,” he said.
“That lone ranger behavior has often not succeeded in many places.”
Wetangula also warns of the dangers posed by foreign fighters flocking to Somalia.
While casualty counts in the battle for the border town of Yeed claimed headlines yesterday, one item must have been making Ethiopian authorities a little nervous: al Shabab did not attack Yeed on its own, but rather in a joint effort with the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a separatist faction in Ethiopia. The separatists have raised their profile again recently with threats to attack oil companies in the region. Would an al Shabab-ONLF alliance provoke another major Ethiopian campaign in Somalia?
With trouble spilling over Somalia’s borders into at least two countries, the situation is as dangerous as ever for regional stability.