Asymmetrical warfare could help fight terrorism in East Africa

Posted on October 16, 2013 12:02 am

Close to a month after Kenya suffered its worst terror attack since 1998, the region’s security chiefs converged in a meeting held in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda  end of last week to harvest ideas also known as brainstorming to uneducated and amateurs on how to neutralize the terrorists and their networks and an effort to minimize gaps in region’s defense capabilities. The determination to rectify this gap is a breakthrough that needs to be appreciated, particularly in consideration of the vast territorial integrity of East African coastline that needs to be defended and the wide threat spectrum that Somalia based terror groups pose to the current and future of the region economic development. Nevertheless, me thinks that the determination to address considerable gaps in security loopholes will not have to be tackled by procuring conventional weaponry that could also ignite regional arms race, especially since budgetary constraints the five East African countries suffers from demands money should be more allocated to infrastructure development, energy, health and education.

Because of individual countries having their own sets of laws and regulation that govern security, the effort to forms joint member states inter agency security team to tackle the terrorism and human trafficking is both welcome and a timely decision that should not be seen as too little too late. What makes people and some half-baked analysts think that governments should operate like super humans? I strongly believe that asymmetric warfare is an alternative concept that can be developed and implemented in a strategy to cope with East African region’s weak defense instruments to tackle terror groups. Experts define asymmetric warfare as a model of war against enemy developed from ways of thinking outside of the normative war comportment like the way African Union mission in Somalia is doing to one that has both a vast war spectrum capability and often breaches certain war regulations. I would not mind to see international law broken as long as those bustards called terrorists can be eliminated and the peace of pre terror wars restored to East Africans especially Kenyans, Tanzanians and Ugandans who are my brothers and sisters who’ve been suffering from those heinous criminals activities whose best place to be is grave.

Asymmetric warfare will help security chiefs in the region to exploit the weakest point of those Somalia based militants and terror cells in the region and uses competitive advantages that defense forces in the region have in an optimum way to annihilate the buffoons who thinking killing is fame and sign of strength. In the current condition of resources for East African countries, battle success against the terror groups would be achieved through limited budget and resources through tactical and strategic innovations that can cannibalize the jihadists like the one who killed 67 people in Kenya who hailed from more than ten different countries. Research shows that asymmetric warfare does not need an excessive budget like the usual annual security budgets that East Africans are used to seeing in the effort to fulfill conventional defense capabilities that has made the region the strongest militarily outside Angola, Nigeria and South Africa in whole of sub Saharan Africa. Anchored in that concept, the development of strength through the strategy of asymmetric warfare is appropriate solution for Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, the region laggard that struggles with the bounds of budgets and other resources in defense compared to the other four. One aspect of asymmetric warfare that the security chiefs in the region urgently needs to develop is cyber warfare that would help them shut the terror groups from broadcasting and spreading their ideologies to young vulnerable East African youths who due to lack of jobs are easily lured into joining the jihad movements in Somalia.

Cyber warfare can be conducted through both media that the region freely enjoys and wireless networks between conflicting actors by use of information technologies. East African security apparatus can use the cyber warfare attacks to defeat terror groups by crippling their ability to process or access information in strategic interest areas that form the core of region’s resilience.The fact is that East Africans just like another other law abiding citizens elsewhere in the world hate terrorists and their activities. Who would disagree with me that cyber-attack in the disruption of terror networks and the ensuing disarray it causes would not take the jihadists few years back? Cyber attacks on Somalia terrorists will cripple communication networks and have a knock-on effects in monetary networks and economic transactions leading to the stagnation and deceleration of their activities that cannot survive without financial support like the way Barclays in United Kingdom did few months ago by ceasing partnership with a money transfer system that was suspected to be used by terror groups and I have no doubt that such an attack would have a devastating impact.

The technique of crippling such networks in cyber warfare especially against the illiterate maggots who are the majority of terror cells and which is relatively low cost and unlike traditional military or drone attacks does not result in injuries and deaths to innocent members of the public. Cyber attacks would have minor consequences on the reputation of the attacker in the Somali population who would not want to see their sisters and brothers killed by bombardments. If well planned, the impact of a cyber attack on terror groups target could end up devastating their communication and could be vital in helping security agencies in the region understand the terror crooks better. Potential communication and economic losses could devastate the criminals and perhaps lead to a larger direct attack on terrorist’s solidity. The application of asymmetric warfare in the context of financial limitations can present alternative planning for the region’s defense against terror groups with less capability compared to security agencies in East Africa. Just like one line of the late American Rapper Tupac Shakur hit song Hit ‘em Up goes, with the ready power tucked in my Guess…the security agencies in East Africa can use cyber warfare to place those bandolier carriers to potency and their online plenipotentiaries would be dead.

Contador Harrison