Why Would Somali Militants Attack A Kenyan Shopping Mall?

I was going to write up a small essay on this topic, but economist Joe Salerno beat me to it. I’ll just reproduce it here:

The U.S. government and the establishment media are in a quandary.   How are they to explain  the heinous attack on a Kenyan shopping mall by Al Shabab a militant Somali group with links to al-Qaida which  left 59 innocent civilians dead and another 175 injured, with the victims ranging in age from  2 to 79 years old?  After all, since the horrific events of  September 11, 1991, U.S politicians of all stripes have repeatedly hammered home the message that  ”fundamentalist” Islamists  hate us and want to kill us simply because we are free and prosperous.  But Kenya is neither.  According to the  Index of Freedom in the  World that attempts to measure economic, civil, and political liberties, Kenya ranks 91 out of the 123 countries included in the index.   As for prosperity, based on the CIA World Factbook 2012, Kenya’s per capita GDP was estimated to be $1,700 per year which ranks 192 out of 225 countries.

Could it be that Al Shabab was telling the truth about the reason for its murderous assault yesterday when it tweeted: “For long we have waged war against the Kenyans in our land, now its time to shift the battleground and take the war to their land.”  After all 4,000 Kenyans troops invaded and have been occupying part of Somalia since 2011.  But then this raises the uncomfortable possibility  that terrorist attacks by militant Muslim groups on the U.S and its interests throughout the world were not motivated by envy and hatred of our freedoms and high standard of living.  Maybe, just maybe, Ron Paul was right and they were provoked by incessant U.S. meddling in the Middle East since World War 2  through numerous wars and economic embargoes including on  food and medicine and  the billions of dollars sent to payoff and prop up tyrannical and oppressive regimes that do U.S bidding, e.g., the Mubarak dictatorship in  Egypt.

3 thoughts on “Why Would Somali Militants Attack A Kenyan Shopping Mall?

  1. Freedom and prosperity have increased somewhat in Kenya. There is a growing middle class as witnessed by the fact that this upscale mall exists. So I think envy and hatred of (relative) freedom and prosperity may well be a factor.

    • Yes, it’s definitely a good thing that freedom and prosperity have been on the rise in Kenya (thanks to liberalization efforts) and it is, of course, imperative that we continue to acknowledge the savagery of the Islamist ideological paradigm, but the attack is a clear-cut case of reprisal for foreign occupation.

      Al-Shabab murdered scores of innocents in Uganda at an Ethiopian restaurant in 2010. Both of those states are currently occupying parts of Somalia. Burundi, another state with troops in Somalia, has been threatened as well.

      I am not excusing these atrocious acts, but only attempting to put them into perspective.

      On a fairly unrelated note, I noticed that many of the mall-goers had distinctly Indian or East Asian physical characteristics, which goes to show that liberalization means much more than just prosperity. With liberalization comes diversity of all kinds. I also seem to remember a fascinating conversation I had with Mark Brady about the cosmopolitanism of East Africa prior to the agrarian-socialist revolutions that happened there in the 1960s. Here is a fascinating anecdote about the expulsion of Indians from Uganda in 1972.

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