Wayne Lutton, US Inc., September 19, 2016
Israel is lending its counter-terrorism expertise to Kenya by helping the African country build a 440-mile wall along its border with Somalia. The barricade is intended to help prevent Somali terrorists from infiltrating Kenya. During a trip to Kenya, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also promised that Israeli intelligence agencies will cooperate with Kenyan officials to detect terror attacks in the early stages of their planning. Meeting with the press, Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “If you know in advance that an attack is going to happen and can preempt it, it saves lives. Israel is doing this, and we will share intelligence with Kenya and other African countries.”
The Israeli prime minister warned that Islamic terror groups, such as ISIS and its Nigerian affiliate, Boko Haram, are gaining strength and pose a major threat to Africa and the rest of the world. “There is a raging crisis of terrorism,” Netanyahu said, “where Israel can help, we will.”
Kenya has been the target of attacks by Somali-based terrorists in recent years. Jihadists from the Islamist Al-Shabaab group killed sixty seven people at a Westgate shopping center in Nairobi in 2013. In 2015, Al-Shabaab terrorists attacked Christians attending Garissa University, in northeast Kenya. Seven-hundred students were taken hostage, with 148 of them killed. That attack was the deadliest terror incident in Kenya since the 1998 bombing of the United States Embassy in Nairobi.
Kenyan Deputy President William Ruto welcomed Israeli’s assistance. In a nationally televised speech, he said, “Whatever it is going to cost us and whatever it will take, we are going to make sure that our country is safe.” Interior Ministry Spokesman Mwenda Njoka told the IRIN News Agency that the 700- kilometer barrier will be built by the National Youth Service under supervision of the army and Israeli experts. He explained, “The wall is basically meant to limit illegal crossing and monitor movement of people . . . . It will involve a combination of putting up obstacles and digging trenches, especially in areas which are not navigable, to prevent people from crossing into and from the country. There will be CCTV cameras powered by solar and a control centre manned by border patrol units.”
Tunisia has also announced plans to build an anti-terror wall along its border with Libya. That decision came in the wake of Islamic State’s attack on Sousse Beach, where 30 British tourists were murdered.
Saudi Arabia is finishing a 600-mile wall to protect itself from Islamic State incursions from Iraq. The border barrier has five layers of fencing with watch-towers, night-vision cameras, and radar cameras. Troops are deployed in the area. The Kingdom has also built a 1,000-mile barrier to its south facing Yemen.
Israel has been securing its own southern border with Jordan by expanding the fence located alongside the Sinai Peninsula. They have announced plans to add massive concrete walls that extend underground, preventing terrorists from infiltrating the country through tunnels from the Gaza Strip.
U.S. policy makers should follow the examples of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Tunisia.