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Kenya’s foray into Somalia sows seeds of backlash at home

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Ben Curtis/AP/File

(Read caption) A Kenyan army soldier sits on top of an armored personnel carrier and drinks from a hydration pack in Ras Kamboni, southern Somalia, Dec. 13, 2011. Kenya's military concentration on Somalia may be causing backlash at home as issues of poverty and security go unaddressed.

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By most accounts, Kenya’s incursion into Somalia has succeeded militarily, as measured by Kenya’s goals of taking territory and inflicting casualties on the Muslim rebel movement Al Shabab. In a sense, the Kenyan advance has also succeeded politically: Kenya has gained some international legitimacy for its mission by moving to join the African Union forces there, a step the United Nations seems to be endorsing.

But on other political fronts, seeds of a backlash are being sown.

For one thing, there is the question of radicalization inside Kenya. A wave of minor attacks have occurred in Kenya this winter, and Britain warned earlier this month that more attacks are on the way. A Kenyan Muslim organization now says it is officially representing Al Shabab in Kenya, reports the Associated Press:

The statement by the Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center came amid a flurry of warnings from embassies about planned terror attacks in Kenya. The Somali militant group al-Shabab has promised to attack Kenya for its decision to send troops to Somalia in October.

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