According to a Washington Post story today Israel is making overtures to join East Africa nations in their fight against al-Shabaab. This past week saw renewed calls from Kenya for the United States to become more involved in assisting its battle against al-Qaeda allied al-Shabaab terrorists in East Africa. US drones had already been at work near Kenya’s boarder with Somalia, targeting suspected al-Shabaab hideouts. Kenya requested stepped up surveillance activities by the drones.
The Washington Post reported that Benjamin Netanyahu, met with leaders from Uganda and Kenya in Jerusalem last week. “Kenya’s leader went so far as to say Israel promised to provide security assistance to his country to help protect its borders Israeli officials say such claims are premature, but say an alliance with Kenya and other eastern African countries is natural.”
There is no doubt that Israel, one of the United State’s closest allies in the fight against al-Qaeda, has an interest in dealing with Muslim terrorist groups any where on the planet, but particularly in retribution to Muslim militants at work in East Africa. In 2002 Israel suffered when terrorists attacked an Israel owned hotel on Kenya’s coast leaving 13 dead. On that same day, Kenyan security forces foiled an attempt by terrorists to bring down an Israeli airlines near the Mombasa airport.
Overt Israeli involvement in East Africa’s fight against al-Shabaab will surely not be met with open arms by all people’s of the region. It could very well have the effect of giving the al-Qaeda linked terrorists more fodder for recruiting. Time will tell how far Israel is willing to go in aliening itself with the East African nations, but you can bet the rhetoric will begin to fly almost immediately.