El Shabab and the Shopping Mall

The breaking news is that an Islamic terror group has shot up -- and is still shooting up -- a shopping mall in Kenya.  The news reports say "non-Muslims" were targeted. And guess who's helping the Kenyans break the al-Shabab siege of the Nairobi shopping mall? The Mossad, as a Kenyan senator explains in the video below. Wait for it at 3:50. Almost 40 people have been confirmed killed in the attack on the mall so far.

Shopping with al-Shabab Shopping with al-Shabab

One of sources of al-Shabab's arms, according to the Telegraph, is Libya. "Libyan arms that went missing during the fighting to remove Col Muammar Gaddafi are now spreading ever further afield, being used in conflicts as far apart as Niger, Somalia, Gaza and Syria, a UN report says."

The new report by a special UN security council committee suggests that they have now travelled even further, with Libyan ammunition showing up in the continuing war being waged by al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda offshoot in Somalia.

This is the very same group believed to have attacked the Nairobi mall. Never fear, the AFP news agency reports that the "Shebab Twitter account [was]  suspended after Kenya mall attack claims".  I guess any moment now their Facebook account, if it exists, will be similarly sanctioned. That'll learn 'em.

One reason the Mossad may be so interested is that Iran is reportedly supplying weapons to al-Shabab as well. Reuters covered the little noticed seizure of a ship back in July.

(Reuters) - An Iranian ship laden with arms seized by Yemeni authorities in January may also have been bound for Somalia, according to a confidential U.N. report seen by Reuters on Monday. ...

Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for Iran's U.N. mission, rejected the suggestion that Iran could be connected in any way with arms supplies to al-Shabaab.

"These are some baseless allegations and ridiculous fabrications about the Islamic Republic of Iran," he said. "This alleged report by the Monitoring Group on Somalia on arms shipments from Iran carries no basis or the minimum rationality."

A Western diplomat said that the fact that there were 16,716 blocks of C4 explosive on the Jihan 1 suggested a potential connection between Iran and al-Shabaab in Somalia, as Huthi rebels, unlike al-Shabaab, were not known to use C4.

A feller could have a pretty good Fourth of July with 16,716 blocks of C4.

President Obama is scheduled to meet with the Iranian leader to discuss that country's nuclear arms. Some days before that meeting Benjamin Netanyahu is due in the US to talk about his concerns regarding a nuclear Iran.  Perhaps these developments are merely coincidental. But there is usually a political dimension behind a major terrorist attack? So why Kenya? Why al-Shabab? And what about Benghazi? Well never mind. Let's wait for Susan Rice to explain things.

From what I can make out there are reportedly still hostages in the building and the incident continues unresolved. Other reports, however, suggest that the assailants are isolated in a single location and there are no live hostages in their power. The Kenyan cops are clearing the mall methodically to ensure that no more civilians are left in jeopardy and then they have a clear battlefield.

In an unintentionally curious turn of events, a news story said that "President Barack Obama urged supporters on Saturday to "go back at it" and pursue gun-control measures after mass shootings in Washington and Chicago..." The timing of that proposal is bad. It must be obvious, even to advocates of gun control, that disarming the population creates another sort of risk as illustrated by the Nairobi mall attack. Once such attackers get past the border and into an building packed with unarmed civilians, it'll be like a fox in a henhouse.

Armed groups which infiltrate and attack civilian targets, as in Beslan, Maalot, Mumbai and now Nairobi are the modern day equivalent of parachutists, who were so feared in the early days of World War 2. The British population, which we now think of as anti-gun, clamored to be universally armed during the height of the fear of the 5th column and paratroop attack.

Fears of an invasion rapidly began to grow ... of a fifth column operating in Britain which would aid an invasion by German airborne forces. The government soon found itself under increasing pressure to intern suspect aliens ... and Josiah Wedgwood, a Labour MP, wrote to the Prime Minister asking that the entire adult population be trained in the use of arms and given weapons to defend themselves. Similar calls appeared in newspaper columns; in 12 May issue of the Sunday Express a Brigadier called on the government to issue free arms licenses and permits to buy ammunition to men possessing small arms, and on the same day the Sunday Pictorial asked if the government had considered training golfers in rifle shooting to eliminate stray parachutists.

These calls alarmed government and senior military officials, who worried about the prospect of the population forming private defence forces that the Army would not be able to control, and in mid-May the Home Office issued a press release on the matter; it was the task of the army to deal with enemy parachutists, as any civilians who carried weapons and fired on German troops were likely to be executed if captured. Private defence forces soon began to be formed throughout the country, placing the government in an awkward position; these private forces, which the army might not be able to control, could well inhibit the attempts by the army during an invasion, yet to ignore the calls for a home defence force to be set up would be politically problematic

And so the British formed the Home Guard and similar units. This is exactly what may happen in the West and in other countries unless the governments begin to effectively prosecute the campaign against terrorism. Popular clamor for internment and arming the population will overcome political correctness at a certain point; and to head it off some kind of officially sanctioned equivalent of these will probably be offered in response. The best way to avoid the evils of private armies, as I have elsewhere argued, is for the government to act in earnest instead of pussyfooting around.  If things get bad enough they will be compelled to resort to ugly measures later, and that is not good. But government has the habit of kicking the can down the road.

As for Nairobi, multiple news sources believe on reason for the attack was the presence of an Israeli-owned cafe somewhere in the mall.  Photojournalist Tyler Hicks of the NYT was on the spot and recorded the aftermath of the mayhem, from which you can see that a lot of people had a bad day.

Another day at the mall Another day at the mall

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