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Kenya pursues al-Shabab

A column of Kenyan military forces have entered southern Somalia to attack al-Shabab positions, according to the New York Times.  The article reports that fighter planes have been striking Shabab bases in the south, and that helicopters are backing the several hundred Kenyan troops who have entered Somalia in trucks and tanks.  The Kenyan government has sent signals to suggest that they will the number of troops will increase.

The Kenyan government has justified its actions, blaming the Shabab for a recent string of kidnappings of Westerners in Kenya. On Saturday, George Saitoti, Kenya’s internal security minister, announced that Kenyan forces would begin hitting back, even though many analysts have said that the kidnappings were not the work of the Shabab but of Somali bandits and pirates.

Somalia has been a quagmire for nearly every foreign force who have entered with the goal of creating security and stability. Maybe Kenya will have better luck.  It’d be interesting to know what role the US has, if any, in facilitating the Kenyan mission.

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