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The real origin of the bloodbath at Nairobi's wealthy shopping mall

The indiscriminate killing on September 21, 2013 at the affluent Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, Kenya has left at least 72 dead, over 100 injured and several dozen still considered missing at the time of this writing.

Reported among the dead were soldiers from the Kenyan army and police, as well as Kenyan civilians.

Mbugua Maina, who is Uhuru Kenyatta's nephew, was also killed at the shopping center for the rich. Ghanaian world-renowned poet, Kofi Awoonor, along with Africans from South Africa, also died in the carnage.

Foreign nationals from Britain, France, The Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Peru, India and China were also among the dead.

The world capitalist press’ narrative has persistently emphasized that this massacre was the work of the Somali militant group, Al-Shabaab, and that the problem is radical Islamism.

However, the bourgeois media cannot give us the overall context that gave rise to the Westgate Mall killings. It is not in their interests to educate oppressed people to grasp the dynamics at play.

When Westgate Mall, which is identified with the wealthy and corrupt and powerful Kenyan ruling class, was attacked with military precision, the poor people of the slums of Kenya did not shed tears.

Why the Westgate Mall in Nairobi?

Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of the late Jomo Kenyatta, the African petty bourgeois leader that the British released from prison and handed neocolonial state power to (similar to Nelson Mandella in South Africa), won the most recent presidential elections held this year. William Ruto, who is now Kenyatta's deputy, ran on the ticket with him.

Before the carnage at Westgate mall, Kenyatta and Ruto were both being pressured to answer to indictments from the International Criminal Court (ICC) charging them with crimes against humanity for their role in the political violence surrounding the bloody 2007 Kenyan presidential elections.

The ICC pressure on Kenyatta and Ruto, and using Al-Shabaab as the “boogey man,” are two constructs used by white imperialist powers to justify their intervention in African affairs in Kenya and Somalia.

They need these two constructs to hide the real material interests they are pursuing in this African region, i.e., access and control of African resources, trade, and trades routes, and to challenge the rise of China in the region, who is competing for access to the vast African resources and market.

According to an August 20 article on, “Last year, for example, Kenya’s exports to the European Union were valued at Sh42 billion (€388 million), while EU exports to Kenya were Sh51 billion (€491 million), Kenya’s exports to the U.S. were valued at Ksh33.6 billion ($387 million) while U.S. exports to Kenya were Ksh50 billion ($580 million), China’s exports to Kenya were valued at Sh249 billion ($2.8 billion) in 2011. This is two and a half times higher than 2008 when the value was Sh79 billion ($909 million). On the other hand, Kenya’s exports to China remained low at Sh4.6 billion ($52 million).”

Kenyan tourism was a likely target of this attack, as tourism represents ten percent of GDP and nine percent of Kenya’s active workforce. When we look at the statistics, tourism itself is another area of rivalry, and tools of achieving influence between old and new imperialists: the United Kingdom was leading in terms of arrivals with 174,051 followed by the United States with 107,842 while Italy and Germany took third and fourth positions at 87,694 and 63,011. France took the fifth position with 50,039 visitors, but following a very recent trip of Uhuru Kenyatta to China, the “Kenyan Tourism Board talks of having over 100,000 plus Chinese visitors from 2016.” Indian and Russian tourists are also on the increase.

When it comes to Al-Shabaab, certain elements inside the white ruling class expected them to be active in Kenya as reported by the bourgeois London-based The Economist newspaper on November 28, 2011, “Some degree of escalation is almost certain. Kenyan victories in Somalia are likely being met with a Shabaab bombing campaign in Kenya and beyond. Vigilance of security guards in Kenya is already faltering in the face of the country's happy-go-lucky outlook. The best chance of averting carnage in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi looks to be luck and jihadist incompetence. At least incompetence is possible after Western and Ethiopian intelligence campaigns of recent years have successfully targeted Shabaab bomb-makers and commanders; several would-be Shabaab ‘martyrs’ have accidentally blown themselves up this week. Then again, other bombers have succeeded in setting off blasts in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Besides, such thin hopes are no consolation for tourists and investors who want to visit Kenya.”

The militants of Al-Shabaab

According to Al-Shabaab propaganda, there was no negotiation with the Kenyan government. The attack was in retaliation for Kenya's military intervention in Somalia where the Kenyan army is known to have killed Muslims, and there will be no peace in Kenya as long as Kenyan troops are occupying Somalia.

The insurgents, who attacked with military precision, spared the lives of those who could recite the Shahada, the Muslim profession of faith, according to media reports.

The Israelis, the British and the United States military services were the first to respond to the call for help from the Kenyatta government. The mall is reportedly owned by Israeli citizens.

The rescuing police which intervened was made of British, Israeli, and the U.S. Intelligence services, all specialize in counterinsurgency warfare against all oppressed peoples.

This alliance of white power imperialist states is what unites the different Somali groups which have vowed to fight against any occupation. Somali youth who are scattered throughout the world are showing their willingness to return to Africa to fight under what they believe is an anti-colonialist banner led by Al-Shabaab.

It is not an easy task to find out who is who in the fighting on the African continent, and especially the Westgate Mall fighting.

The white ruling class media would even have us believe that a European woman, whom they have deemed the White Widow (British citizen Samatha Lewthwaite), was the mastermind of the Westgate Mall attack. She continues to elude police although her alleged accomplish, James Grant, an African with British citizenship, is being held in Mombassa, Kenya on terrorism charges.

White power colonialism defines the borders in Africa

Firstly, the Somali population is in Kenya for two reasons; one, the colonial partition of Somalia which split, dispersed and locked the Somali population into what is now Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti.

Djibouti is now host to U.S. AFRICOM and the French Camp Lemonier military bases. These areas are what former Somali leader Siad Barre defined as Greater Somalia.

Secondly, with the collapse of the Siad Barre-led government in 1991, the civil war that followed and the successive aggressions of Somalia by Western imperialists and their neocolonial client States (Ethiopia and Kenya) has pushed nearly one million Somalis into neighboring colonialist-defined countries as refugees while having about two million others as internally displaced refugees living in what is effectively concentration camps.

The Kenyan petty bourgeoisie seek control of the oil on Somalia’s side of the border

The chaos in Somalia has benefited the African petty bourgeoisie in Kenya to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called international aid. In addition, many of the Africans from Somalia who reside in South Africa, Europe, North and South America also invest their money in the Kenyan economy.

From 2009 to 2011, figures from show that Kenya received $857.8 million in aid money for Somali refugees. In 2011 alone, Somalia received $1.3 billion in aid from Western imperialists. This war economy in Somalia does not make everyone poor!

Between 2012 and 2013, four major discoveries of energy resources have been made in Kenya. The discovery of low density light crude oil in North East Kenya, near the South Sudan and Uganda borders were made by the British company Tullow oil.

The same Tullow oil company found gas in offshore Kenya. This should not surprise anyone, since Tanzania’s and Mozambique’s offshores are bursting at the seams with oil. Light crude oil is more expensive than heavy crude oil.

A November 28, 2011 article on explores some of the imperialist interests in military action in the region: “In recent days, the South African newspaper ‘Mail and Guardian’, quoted in the New York Times, were first to raise the ‘coincidence’ of Lamu—where two tourists were seized [in October 2011], but which is, at the same time, the terminal point for a 3600 km pipeline that would connect Kenya to Southern Sudan.

“’The government of Nairobi—wrote the Times—has long had interests in the area that transcend tourism.’ This is a pipeline, the estimated cost of $16 billion, which would allow the infant state of South Sudan to extract and refine oil without having to depend on the infrastructure of the Sudanese government.

“The new project, which would also involve neighboring Ethiopia, is being observed with interest by the French oil giant ‘Total’, which has recently acquired a 40 percent stake in the exploration blocks in Lamu, joining ’Anadarko Kenya’ in becoming the main operator in the area.

“If it were to be developed, requiring the whole area to be pacified while large portions of the territory of Somalia would have to be taken over, says [professor of Political Systems in Africa at the University ‘L’Orientale ‘Naples Matteo] Guglielmo, ‘the pipeline would permanently isolate the regime in Khartoum, depriving it of valuable infrastructure that today makes it possible to export South Sudanese oil through the pipeline and the terminal at Port Sudan.’”

The other point of contention between Kenya and Somali is the attempt by the Kenyan government to modify the maritime borders between the two countries, which if maintained will give Kenya access to what Somalia considers as their territorial water. The colonial map from 1960 validates the Somali claim. The Kenyan government has already proceeded to distribute zones of exploitation in this disputed area to various imperialist companies.

Al-Shabaab is a direct creation of relentless assaults on Somalia by the U.S. and the opportunist African petty bourgeoisie in the whole region.

A December 18, 2011 article on states, “Since early 2009, the Kenyan government has implemented a military program called the "Jubaland Initiative" in blatant violation of the (UN) Somali arms embargo. The program was responsible for assembling, training and arming Somali proxy forces to carry out operations along the Somali side of the Kenyan border.

“The objective was to develop proxy militias capable of pushing Al-Shabaab out of Somalia's Juba Valley, a region that contains Kismayo and overlaps with the hydrocarbon-rich Kenyan-Somalia Lamu basin (which Kenya and its Western patrons are eager to exploit).”

Another major aspect of this unreported war against Somalia is the launch of operation Linda Nchi (protect the nation in Swahili). In October 2011, the Kenyan Defense Force escalated the aggression of Somalia by directly invading and occupying the southern part of Somalia.

This assault on Somalia, according to many observers and analysts, has become one of the best recruiting cards for Al Shabaab. Furthermore, the vast majority of Somalis are opposed to any invasion of Somalia.

Somalia, alongside Haiti and DR Congo, are probably the most aggressed African countries by imperialists in the world.

After the U.S. failed to occupy Somalia in the 1992 invasion codenamed “Restore Hope” to mean restore U.S. colonial direct control, they have resorted to the tactic of proxy wars, successfully being used in Congo, where since 1996, the U.S. and UK governments have funded Ugandan and Rwandan armies and to a lesser extent, the Burundi army to attack Congo, causing the genocide death toll of over six million people.

From 2006 to 2009, in another blatant violation of international law, the U.S. funded the Ethiopian army's invasion of Somalia, causing over 20,000 deaths and displacing two million people. This strategy was complemented by the creation of a more “legal aggression of Somalia” by sponsoring the creation of the so-called “African Mission in Somalia known as AMISOM,” which is made of soldiers from Uganda, Burundi and also Kenya, although the latter joined it reluctantly since January 2012.

AMISOM’s website give us some insight about its creation and role in Somalia: “The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. It was created by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council on 19th January 2007 with an initial six month mandate... AMISOM is mandated to conduct Peace Support Operations in Somalia to stabilize the situation in the country in order to create conditions for the conduct of humanitarian activities and an immediate take over by the United Nations (UN).”

The real concrete mission of AMISOM is to shore up the power of the transitional federal government of Hassan Schiek Mahmoud, the current president of Somalia, in its contest for power against Al-Shabaab and other forces.

The U.S. government attacks on Somalia has been relentless. In his July 15, 2011 article on, Jeremy Scargill wrote, “As part of its expanding counterterrorism program in Somalia, the CIA also uses a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shabaab members or of having links to the group are held. Some of the prisoners have been snatched off the streets of Kenya and rendered by plane to Mogadishu. While the underground prison is officially run by the Somali NSA, U.S. intelligence personnel pay the salaries of intelligence agents and also directly interrogate prisoners.”

A counterinsurgency policy of “the stick and the carrot,” is at play in Somalia, the U.S. with its drone and special forces attacks; AMISOM with its African troops provides the stick: They bomb and maim our people indiscriminately, locking us up in concentration camps that they nickname camps for the internally displaced, where women are raped, at the same time they organize conferences like the one recently organized in May 2013, in London by David Cameron, to raise funds to boost the neocolonial government of Hassan Schiek Mahmoud. In that conference, the U.S. and the UK pledges $40 million and $54 million, respectably, to stabilize neocolonial Somalia. This is the carrot.

Jeremy Scargill asserts that “Somali security officials told him that the U.S. agents (CIA) operate unilaterally in Somalia, but the French are embedded inside the African Union force known as the AMISOM...” 

The way forward

Revolution is the only way forward; the African revolution in Somalia starts from an international African revolution which requires an instant and simultaneous participation and collaboration of all revolutionaries in the African nation and in the region in particular.

The solution in Somalia is in the hands of the currently unorganized and oppressed African people of the world.

We need a Revolutionary Democratic Program, a common political project which speaks to every oppressed and exploited sector of the African nation in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, the U.S., UK, Yemen, Sudan, Eritrea, Uganda and everywhere African people are located, against all the imperialist wars of aggression and looting of the African nation.

Secondly, this program of opposition to imperialism must require the immediate withdrawal of all foreign and imperialist armed forces in any shape or form from Africa; this program must call for a unification of all our resistance against all collaborators of imperialism, until all power is wrested away from them.

A single African economic plan must be created. It must implement a nationalization policy to create a single and united African economy, which on one hand would be responsible for exploiting and commercializing African mineral and energy resources, and on the other hand, would be responsible for the rapid industrialization of Africa.

Most importantly, in order to create, implement and develop this program, we must first create an organization for an international African revolution, capable of organizing the impoverished and dispersed African workers everywhere, from Ghettos to concentration camps, to the mines where our children are forced to work in deadly conditions; we must build the African Socialist International.

We do not have a Kenyan or a Somali problem; we have imperialism in crisis in an era of neocolonialism in crisis problem. 

We must win Somali, Kenyan, Ethiopian and every other genuine black nationalists of today to African Internationalism as the highest expression of African nationalism anywhere in the world, where workers must lead and requires the complete liberation of the African continent and African communities scattered throughout the world, and the creation of a single African socialist State in our homeland, which is the whole of Africa.

This revolutionary State would be in solidarity with all oppressed peoples of the world against parasitic capitalism.

Under old or new imperialism, there is no peace in general anywhere on this planet for the dispersed and fragmented African nation. Genuine peace in Africa will always be a consequence of a complete African liberation and unification.

Build the African Socialist International!

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