Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique
Conselho para o Desenvolvimento da Pesquisa em Ciências Sociais em África
مجلس تنمية البحوث الإجتماعية في أفريقيا

US interventions in East Africa: from the Cold War to the ’war on terror’

Number of visits: 1849

Amrit Wilson

During the Cold War years, while British colonialists were being driven out of East Africa, the first US intervention in the region occurred in Zanzibar. It proved to be a model - many aspects of which are being repeated in the ’War on Terror’.
In Britain, the attack on the upmarket Westgate shopping mall in Kenya in which 130 people lost their lives, is rapidly fading from public memory, already ascribed to just another act of ’mindless violence’ perpetrated by Islamic terrorists. But many Kenyans see things differently. Some regard it as the result of Kenya’s involvement [8] in a proxy war being fought in Somalia on behalf of Europe. Others highlight Israeli or American involvement. The facts support these analyses: the EU provides 124 million euros [9] for peacekeepers in Somalia; a recent Israeli arms deal [10] with Kenya specifically mentioned fighting Al Shabaab; and as for America, its role is an overarching one, in the words [11] of the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, it ’leverages local and indigenous forces [for use] ...aggressively and surgically in Africa and the Arabian peninsula... in close coordination with, and in support of, geographic combatant commander and U.S. embassy country team requirements’.

December 6 2013