The Passionate Attachment

America's entanglement with Israel

Westgate — If Al-Shabab didn’t exist, Israel would have to invent it

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Maidhc Ó Cathail
The Passionate Attachment
October 7, 2013

Speaking at this year’s annual conference of the pro-Israel J Street lobby group, the self-avowed “Zionist” U.S. Vice President Joe Biden declared, “If there were not an Israel, we’d have to invent one.” VP Biden’s sycophantic assertion that the so-called “Jewish state” constitutes a strategic asset for the United States clearly flies in the face of more than six decades of evidence to the contrary. However, one could certainly imagine a more candid Israeli politician admitting after the murky attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, “If there were not an al-Shabab, we’d have to invent one.”

Indeed, as the sub-heading of a September 23 report in Haaretz observed, “Israel’s already intimate ties with Kenya [are] likely to deepen in wake of terror attack.” Describing the East African country as “Israel’s forward base in Africa,” Barak Ravid wrote:

On March 15, 2007, a diplomat at the U.S. embassy in Nairobi met with the director general of the Kenyan Foreign Ministry, Tom Amolo. The high-ranking Kenyan official said Kenya and Israel had maintained close security and intelligence cooperation for many years and were in contact at every level and in every field of endeavor.

“Israel is a key geo-strategic partner,” he told the American diplomat in the Kenyan capital, according to U.S. State Department cable that was leaked to WikiLeaks. “It is a suitable counterweight for us to those states in our region that do not share our values,” Amolo was quoted as saying. The American diplomat added in parentheses that Amolo appeared to be referring to Sudan.

Foreign media reports of Israeli advisers arriving in Nairobi on Sunday to help Kenyan security forces handle the hostage crisis at the upscale Westgate shopping mall in the city, where dozens of people were killed Saturday in an attack by Islamic militants, are in line with the intimate security and intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

In the aftermath of the attack, this cooperation is expected to become even closer.

And that’s clearly news that will help alleviate any “concerns” that an already booming Israeli export industry may have about the future. As Ravid further noted:

Kenya has also been a customer of Israel Military Industries. Israel sold Kenya a considerable amount of weaponry, but beyond that, Israel has provided military know-how. Hundreds of Kenyan soldiers in recent years have received training in combating terrorism in Israel or were trained in Kenya by official or semi-official Israeli instructors.

Moreover, the post-Westgate boon to Israel’s so-called “defense” industry is likely to extend far beyond the borders of its “forward base” in East Africa. In a laudatory commentary on the unabashedly pro-Israel interview Kenya’s Foreign Minister, Amina Mohamed, gave to Al-Jazeera during the mall siege, Gamal Nkrumah wrote in the Ghanaian state-owned Daily Graphic:

Mohamed likewise revealed that the first country to come to Kenya’s rescue was Israel. She indicated that Israeli security experts were the first to arrive at Westgate. A team from Israel’s elite counter-terrorism unit assisted Kenya with handling the hostage crisis. Likewise, the Israeli border police unit Yamam was also deployed at Westgate.

The Kenyan authorities conceded that Israel’s necessary harshness in dealing with the terrorists in Westgate was softened by the country’s close diplomatic relationship with Israel and highlights how Kenya and several other African nations, south of the Sahara, collaborate very closely in security matters. The close collaboration will set a precedence [sic] as several other African countries would increasingly come to rely on Israel for assistance in security matters.

Within hours of 9/11, the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presciently predicted that the hate-inducing attacks on the United States would be “very good” for Israel’s relations with its American “partner.” Just as Al-Qaeda appears to have done its purported Zionist enemy a major favor on September 11, 2001, twelve years to the month later its Somalia-based affiliate seems to have given Israel another expected boost.

UPDATE: Speaking of the post-Westgate boon to Israel’s arms industry being likely to extend far beyond the borders of its “forward base” in East Africa, Tablet Magazine has just published an intriguing article on the increasingly intimate Israeli-Indian “military romance,” and “How last month’s attacks in Nairobi, a reminder of the Mumbai siege, may bring them even closer together.” Writes the Bangalore-based Mark Bergen:

For India, the Shabab terrorist attack in Nairobi last month struck a nerve. It was eerily reminiscent of the siege by a militant group from Pakistan in Mumbai, five years ago, in which more than 160 people were killed, including the local Chabad rabbi and his wife. Since then, the Indian government has grown closer to Israel, which was one of the first nations to come to its aid in 2008.

Tel Aviv’s alacrity to help its terror-stricken partner has certainly paid off. As Bergen points out:

Last year, Israel topped the list of arms suppliers to India—just as India officially became the globe’s largest arms importer. And it’s not just missiles and drones: India has increasingly leaned on Tel Aviv for high-tech warfare, scooping up the Phalcon airborne radar and advanced electronic surveillance systems along with equipment to retrofit now-rickety Soviet-era weaponry.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military intelligence website DEBKAfile claims:

In private conversation, Israeli police and intelligence sources admit they fell down badly in Kenya, their failure all the more galling in view of Al Qaeda having targeted a center which houses many Israel-owned and managed businesses. Their most urgent task now is to find out how terrorist spies were able to conduct repeated surveillance excursions in the Westgate mall – and even smuggle in large stocks of ammunition for a long siege – undetected by Israeli security agents and without them sounding the alarm.

Oddly enough, every “failure” involving Israeli “security” only seems to enhance the industry’s bottom line.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

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Written by Maidhc Ó Cathail

October 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. […] Speaking of the post-Westgate boon to Israel’s arms industry being likely to extend far beyond the borders of its “forward base” in East Africa, Tablet Magazine has just published an intriguing article on the increasingly intimate Israeli-Indian “military romance,” and “How last month’s attacks in Nairobi, a reminder of the Mumbai siege, may bring them even closer together.” Writes the Bangalore-based Mark Bergen: […]


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