The Realist Prism: In Somalia, the Enduring Value of Boots on the Ground

The Realist Prism: In Somalia, the Enduring Value of Boots on the Ground

Nairobi’s Operation Linda Nchi, or Protect the Country, was launched in October as a counterterrorism measure after kidnappings of foreign tourists and aid workers inside of Kenya were linked to the Somalian militant group al-Shabaab. For a country that has seen lucrative tourism revenues, especially from cruise ship visits, dry up in the wake of the instability emanating from Somalia, the abductions were the last straw. But an unintended side benefit of the intervention has been its impact on piracy. In the face of the military operation, with Kenyan army units pushing up toward the port of Kismayo, Somali pirate groups are scrambling to wrap up their activities, even slashing ransom demands for ships and crews that they continue to hold in an effort to “to close deals before a battle between the militants and Kenyan forces.”

Contrast this with the efforts of a multinational naval presence that includes units from the United States, the European Union, Russia, China, Korea and India, specifically tasked with curbing Somali piracy. While some safe corridors have been created and some attacks deterred, pirate attacks in the region have been on the rise every year since the first task forces were deployed.

Kenya is by no means a major military power. Yet, its army seems to have put a dent in pirate operations after several weeks, something that several years of expensive naval deployments by other countries failed to do. This development raises two larger questions.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.