Los Angeles Times
Kenya military chief suggests Somalia incursion could be long
By Robyn Dixon
Published: October 30, 2011
Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya— The commander of Kenya's defense forces declared Saturday that his troops would remain in neighboring Somalia until the threat from the militant Islamist militia Shabab is eliminated and Kenyans feel safe.
Given the messiness of other countries' incursions in Somalia, the vow by defense forces chief Gen. Julius Karangi suggests that Kenya's first military adventure since independence nearly half a century ago could be a long one.
In 1992, U.S.-led forces launched Operation Restore Hope, which led to the "Black Hawk Down" catastrophe of October 1993, in which 18 U.S. troops were killed and the bodies of some of them dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 to defeat the Islamic Courts Union, a religious alliance that had taken power in the country. Ethiopian forces withdrew in 2009, only to see the rapid advance of Shabab, a successor to the ICU. Ethiopia claimed to have achieved its mission, but the situation in Somalia suggested otherwise.
Kenya's decision to get involved with one of Africa's most intractable war zones, a failed state that hasn't had a government for two decades, was a "spur of the moment" one, Karangi said Saturday.