Kenya

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Snapshot,
Paul Hidalgo

Al Shabab has been pushed out of its strongholds and cut off from its financial lifelines. And that is why the group’s ability to so easily attack within Kenya is so puzzling. Kenyan leaders have long blamed Somalia-based fighters and the country’s minority Muslim population. But the truth is that the main culprits are the culture and policies of the government itself.

Snapshot,
Joshua Meservey

Al Shabab was once one of the premier terror groups in the world. Years before ISIS gobbled up sections of Syria and Iraq, al Shabab conquered and then governed most of southern Somalia. But the group has been in decline since its apex in 2010, and it is now fighting back through gruesome attacks in Kenya.

Snapshot,
Kip Hale

In 2002, the International Criminal Court (ICC) came into being. At the time, observers were hopeful that rule of law could help constrain humanity’s worst impulses, a sentiment that, today, may seem foolhardy. Yet, where else would victims turn? Ruthless tyrants and their henchmen have killed, raped, and tortured innocents, and few, if any, international institutions have been able to stop them or provide justice after the fact.

Snapshot,
Paul Hidalgo

Last week’s deadly U.S. strike on Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the Somalia-based Islamist militant group al Shabab, could be the group’s undoing. Even so, the region is not out of the woods.

Letter From,
David P. Sandgren

Kenya’s first postcolonial middle class is now in its mid-60s, retiring and settling into comfortable grandparenthood. Few would have predicted this outcome, especially for the Gikuyu, Kenya’s largest ethnic group, since this generation’s early years were filled with poverty and violence.

Snapshot,
Paul Hidalgo

The political upheaval and conflict in Kenya could not be better for the Islamist militant group al Shabaab. Its continued attacks have successfully pitted the country’s two top politicians against each other in a game of political brinkmanship that could plunge Kenya into a toxic ethnic conflict -- exactly the kind of environment in which a group like al Shabaab can thrive.

Snapshot,
Brahma Chellaney

East Africa is one of the world’s most water-stressed regions. Overexploitation of water resources there has been compounded by declining snowpacks on Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya. In this light, the discovery of two significant aquifers in mostly arid Kenya has been hailed as a potential game changer.

Postscript,
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens

The recent al Shabab attack on a Nairobi mall might have come as a surprise to Western observers, but it should not have. In form and motivation, the attack mirrored several others in the last few years.

Reading List,
Joel D. Barkan

An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Kenya.

Snapshot,
Leonard S. Rubenstein

For the second time in less than six months, polio vaccine workers in Pakistan have come under fire. For the gunmen, killing health care workers has been seen as a legitimate response to a nefarious extension of Western power. And, for the CIA, faux vaccine campaigns have sometimes been justified as part of the war on terror. Both sides are wrong: denying or providing health care should never be an instrument of statecraft.

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