International Terrorism in East Africa: The Case of Kenya1

  • W Woldemichael


International terrorism is a significant threat to world peace and security, and as such remains high on the agenda within policy and intelligence circles. In Africa, the notion of terrorism itself can be traced back to   anti-colonial struggles whilst the more recent terrorist attacks in  Kenya  and Tanzania give some indication of the severity of the threat of    terrorism in the Horn of Africa. Terrorist attacks in Kenya, both those which may be described as ' domestic' as well as 'international ' appear to be associated with some of the country ' s Muslim population as well as with Kenya ' s political relations with the US and its aBies. Following the collapse of the Soviet block, the US re-oriented the obj ectives and course of its foreign policy. This reorientation helped the US to realize its contemporary interests and aspirations at the new global level in which it has become the world ' s only superpower. America 's new global foreign policy has brought it into Conflict not only with specific 'regimes of terror' such as Iraq or
North Korea but also with relatively amorphous groups/individuals whose attempts to chalIenge America ' s geo-political hegemony has led them to be regarded as the new menace of international terrorism. Kenya is closely allied to US and Israeli interests, acts of terror in Kenya appear to be an indirect way of attacking the US and Israel. Details of major terrorist threats and attacks in Kenya are described in the main body of this paper and in the light of this account; I suggest that in order to deal with  international terrorism in Kenya, its root causes must be addressed. In this paper I propose that we can best understand the problem of international telTorism as played out in Kenya, by looking at both the internal socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Kenya as well as the external situation of Kenya' s international relations. As a prelude to this I allude to the need for a common working definition of terrorism and in conclusion I give' some indication of fmiher lines of inquiry to be pursued in research of
this kind.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2520-582X
print ISSN: 1810-4487