Why world should call for an end to the war in Gaza

The war in Gaza has had far-reaching consequences beyond the Middle East.

Kenya and East Africa have become unwitting victims of this conflict, facing threats from Al-Shabaab and experiencing detrimental impacts on their security and economy.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s warning about Hamas’ expansion of violent activities abroad, including here in Africa, raises concerns about the inspiration it provides to terrorist organisations and the liabilities faced by nations in the region.

Additionally, the issuance of security advisories by Canada in December last year and recently by the UK for their citizens travelling to Kenya reflects the complex challenges faced by East Africa.

The blockade of shipping lanes by the Houthi rebels in the Middle East has contributed to increased piracy along the East African coast. With reduced surveillance by nations such as the United States and India, criminal activities have surged. Terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab exploit the resultant security vacuum, further endangering the stability of the region. The Gaza conflict is seen as inspiring groups such as Al-Shabaab.

These groups perceive the success or resilience of one terrorist organisation as a validation of their own cause. The propaganda value of the Gaza conflict, coupled with the global attention it garners, strengthens the resolve of these groups to carry out heinous acts.

The perception of support for Israel by western nations during the Gaza war can inadvertently create liabilities for countries in East Africa. While the conflict may be viewed through the lens of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its repercussions extend far beyond. The association between Western powers and Israel’s actions are leading, in some quarters, to a rise in anti-Western sentiment within the region and potentially contributing to the radicalisation of individuals sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

East African nations find themselves caught in a complex web of regional dynamics, where actions and alliances in the Middle East have unintended consequences for their own security.

The issuance of travel warnings and advisories by global powers for their citizens travelling to Kenya raises questions about the motivations behind such actions. While the safety of their citizens is undoubtedly a priority, there is a need to critically examine whether these advisories serve purely security purposes or if there are political undertones.

Such advisories, while well-intentioned, can have unintended dire economic consequences for countries heavily reliant on tourism, such as Kenya. The arrest of seven suspects in Denmark for alleged plans to conduct a terror attack and the confirmation that they had links to Hamas did not lead to tough advisories against the European nation by its neighbours and other Western nations.

The security advisories by global powers should be approached with caution and collaboration between security agencies enhanced when threats increase. It cannot be the time to speak across fences as such approaches can have unintended consequences of feeding into the very agenda of the terrorists.

Mr Mugwang’a is a Nairobi-based communications consultant and a member of the Crime Journalists Association of Kenya

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