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What is al-Shabaab's aim in Kenya attack?

September 23rd, 2013
03:46 PM ET

Militants from al-Qaeda's Somali offshoot, al-Shabaab, are in a continuing standoff with police at a Kenyan shopping mall – so what is their aim?

Christiane Amanpour spoke with CNN’s Nima Elbagir from on the ground in Nairobi.

“Their avowed aim – the aim that they speak about publicly,” Elbagir said, “is that they want to discourage the Kenyan public from supporting the Kenyan government and its continued presence in Somalia, where the Kenya defense forces are part of that African Union force helping to prop up the – we can call it still quite-shaky Somali government.”

“When Kenya went in,” she told Amanpour, “that was really when the tide turned against al-Shabaab.”

Click above to see Amanpour and Elbagir’s full explanation of the situation in Nairobi.

Filed under:  al-Shabaab • Christiane Amanpour • Kenya • Latest Episode
soundoff (31 Responses)

    We as Kenyans we stand 2getha as one. we believe that terrorism is the philosophy of cowards. GOD BLESS MY COUNTRY KENYA

    September 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • H. B.

      There is a famous quotation that I think you may appreciate. Hope so. It comes from an American Biochemistry professor (deceased) who is better known for his books on many subjects, especially his science fiction: Isaac Asimov. He is still loved by many and known as "The Great Explainer."

      Here's the quote:

      "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

      I wish you, and all civilized-minded Kenyans the very best. You will get through this.

      September 24, 2013 at 10:36 am | Reply
  2. Salah takourny muhamed

    Alshabaab is a terrorist group and there is no relation between them and Islam religion .
    Islam is a religion for mercy not for killing especially innocent people ...
    I have seen some media connecting between Alshabaab and Islam rules and they work with these rules ,,Alshabaab is a political group ,they struggle for political aims and their religion is Islam ,and they use these rules to achieve their aims and earn the Muslims sympathy ..

    September 24, 2013 at 1:19 am | Reply
    • H. B.

      You've made me curious. As a Muslim, you say Islam does not condone killing innocents. Would you please give YOUR definition of "innocents" for us? I have often seen Muslims referring to innocents as restricted to Muslims – non-Muslims are not ever regarded as innocents, because they are infidels, and no infidel is ever an innocent by Islamic definitions. Please clarify. Then please do likewise with the term "mercy." Is it just for Muslims or does it apply to infidels, whom Islam regards as less than human? Other words, like "peace" and "tolerance," also apply only to Muslims.

      I've studied Islam almost 20 years. I thought you should know that.

      Surely you wouldn't have us believe that Islam is NOT political? Do you think that global conquest for Allah is, somehow, not political?

      You can't be a Muslim if you don't also fully believe in the Islamic prime directive of global conquest. How, then, can you claim that al Shabbab are not being good Muslims, taking jihad-type action against infidels, as Allah MANDATES? You, too, must also participate in violent jihad. When you do it, you're required by Allah to HOPE TO DIE in the fighting. If you don't plan to do so, how do you expect to answer Allah when you face his wrath for failing to do your jihading?

      Your posting is the kind we see a lot of, trying to convince people that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance, when all over the world we see Muslims being anything BUT peaceful and tolerant. It isn't just al Shabbab – it's going on everywhere. And I have more than just the ability to notice all the violence by Muslims in the world and scratch my head about how they can be peaceful and tolerant when they're so profoundly violent. I have something else: KNOWLEDGE about Islam, taken directly from your own core scriptures. And those scriptures tell me that you are not being honest.

      But then, you have taqiyya that tells you that lying to infidels is righteous and makes Allah proud. It's a virtue to all Muslims to lie to infidels.

      Islamic terrorists don't have to earn the sympathy from other Muslims.

      They already have it.

      September 24, 2013 at 11:06 am | Reply
      • Koskei Africana

        well put H.B. these idiots should stop taking us for fools

        September 24, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
      • WS

        Allah advocates the killing of those that are unbelievers not my idea of a god other than a god of evil. A religion which rewards the killers of unbelievers with 72 virgins in a murderer’s afterlife is totally disrespectful of women, if not insane to believe such utter nonsense in the first place. I’m grateful to the true God that this type of reward is simply the wishful thinking of the evilness of allah and his prophet mohammed.
        Islam is the most intolerant religion of modern times, peace and love are outside of this religion’s realm the murdering and killing that goes on amongst themselves is most telling of the idiocy of this so called religion.
        The outside world needs to wake up to the fact that Islamic terrorists are not terrorists but Islamic fundamentalists simply following the demands of their bible THE KORAN. They are to seek world domination by any means, murder, and deception, among them. Naive governments and media use terms such as radicals, terrorist to describe Islamic violence simply because governments and media are scared and frightened of Islam. Rest assured that if any other religion practiced the intolerance, hatred, and destruction of others as Islam does the government and media would be all over them, proof, Islamist burn a church down killing scores of church goers barely a peep, Christians burn a Mosque down and the Muslim would fill the streets and it would be a media sensation for weeks if not months.
        People educate yourselves read the KORAN. Apparently a lot of Muslims can’t read otherwise this insanity would stop. O, I forgot deception of the unbeliever is a demand of Islam and its adherents.

        September 24, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
      • Peter

        Wow, an expert on the Koran! But did you ever study the bible? Kill all believers of other religions? Check! Even women and children? Check! Even the whole town if it contains a single non-believer? Check!

        Just because the bible says it, do you believe it literally? Clearly the majority don't take all these things literally anymore, likewise with the Koran. Extremists do and they are the problem. Attacking someone who is reasonable and is trying to bridge the gap the extremists have widened is just playing right into the extremists' hands.

        September 25, 2013 at 1:44 am |
      • cj-53

        Wow HB, your write up willl likely generate about $100million in sales for your Defense industry paymasters. Good write up that will get you a great hannakah bonus. Never mind it is all fabrication, lies and misinformation designed to rile up gullible North Americans and Europeans against anyone practising the religion of Mohammed so that they may be convinced to start another war. Your highly trained and well paid special operative buddies who go killing at the same time yelling arabic phrases to give the impression they are Muslim and yourself work well together. How you live with yourself is what is most amazing. Good luck enjoying your sickly gotten pay while you live in this world though.

        September 25, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • WS

      Salah, "Islam is a religion for mercy not for killing especially innocent people", Maybe so for those that except Islam, as for others the Koran clearly sanctions the killing of unbelievers. Why were Muslims singled out for release in the recent mall hostage taking????????? while others were killed. Muslims burn down church many killed when was the last time a mosque was burned down other than by other Muslim Islamists.

      September 27, 2013 at 4:13 pm | Reply
  3. Aaron

    It is a sad fact that not all muslim are terrorist but most terrorist are muslim. Muslim leaders should by fact be accountable for creating this beast by reason.

    September 24, 2013 at 3:36 am | Reply
    • chris

      Most terrorists are NOT Muslim, at least not in the US. Look up the FBI statistics.

      September 24, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Reply
    • cj-53

      Aaron, did you go to every terrorist and give him a test on his credentials of being muslim? How about if I gently let you know that over 95% of all killers that sound of 'Allah u Akbar' before firing off all kinds of ordnance are actually trained special operatives of the US Defence miliary industrial complex to generate sales by fomenting inter religious strife and they have picked on the timid, prayer focusing muslim religion as their target for killing. The remaining 5% are basic psycopaths roped in for the pleasure of giving vent to their demented perversions. Just because some pretender says he is Muslim you assume it is an absolute truth. How gullible are you?

      September 25, 2013 at 9:53 am | Reply
  4. Peter

    The response against al-Shabaab needs to be swift and it needs to be hard. They, and other terrorist groups, need to be shown that their ways will not get them the result they may desire.

    September 24, 2013 at 5:13 am | Reply
  5. M.A.P.

    How stupid can these terrorists be? The only thing they are doing is commiting suicide. Their organization will be destroyed now. Congratz you morons, you will NEVER EVER get what you want because it is unrealistic. The world will never be run by islamic law – NEVER. God isn't even real! These idiots think they're going to heaven when there is no such thing! hahaha!

    September 24, 2013 at 8:57 am | Reply
  6. Goob

    And how do these Al Shababab people think murdering innocent civillians is going to make their God happy? These people are either increadibly stupid, or insane. Do they not realise that in carrying out such attacks, now there will be a renewed call to enter Somalia and to weed them out? They are just making things worse for themselves and pi$$ing off the entire world at the same time. You don't get what you want, so you take it out on a bunch of unarmed civilians? Is there any act more cowardly? They will ALL rott in hell.

    September 24, 2013 at 8:59 am | Reply
  7. panga C

    A sad day for the whole it true that the Mall belonged to Israelis ..? does that not really defines or part of their about they wanted to bring some israelis to justice and the whole action escalated......should we really ignore that side?.... i have even read that Israeli agents took part in the operation.....please anyone can clarify....

    September 24, 2013 at 9:49 am | Reply
  8. Dar360

    find out your self, Visit and see foundation of hinduism racism in display to learn a lesson on Utube.

    September 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  9. felix ogugbuaja

    Cowards! why not go to the war front and fight. Nations around the world should reorganize their security with focus on terror.

    September 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  10. WS

    Peter, clearly you have no understanding of the bible or its dispensations, Christianity never came into existence until the birth of Christ, (read your history) therefore nowhere in the New Testament are Christians commanded or allowed to kill anybody, as a matter of fact it’s the opposite THOU SHALT NOT KILL, Check! Ask any Christian extremist or not, fundamentalist or not whether they are permitted to kill. Check Not!
    Peter your statement of “clearly the majority don't take all these things literally anymore”, of course Christians don’t take all these things literally, why would that be, simple, if you understand Christianity and the complete bible which it’s clear you don’t, Christians have always been forbidden and always will be forbidden to kill. When Islam denounces killing for any reason and killing of innocent people actually stops, I won’t take “these things literally anymore” in the meantime I’m not going to be a fool.
    I’m always amused by non Christians how they pick things out of the Bible without understanding or reading the complete Bible, Peter know the bible before you quote it as knowing half of something is like knowing nothing.
    Peter just where Islam is trying to be reasonable and bridging that gap as you state, show me the proof! Pedal your “bridging the gap” etc to a family suffering the loss of a loved one over the need of supremacy. Who did the Islamist single out in the Kenya Mall attack, not Muslims. Check!
    In closing, Peter can you say that you have read the complete Koran more than 3 times or the complete Bible more than 4 times if not than I would consider myself an expert over you. Do I understand everything in both, in that I consider myself, not an expert.

    September 25, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • Willie

      WS, actually Peter is right. First of all, Thou Shalt Not Kill is in the Old testament, which was written before Christ. In the Old testament there are also several accounts where God commanded the Hebrews to wipe out various local tribes. In modern times we call this genocide. The bible is almost as bloody as the Koran. What modern day Christians do is not take it literally, or not take all of it into account. For example in your case, you quote the OT but refute the accurate point Peter made which is genocide is also in the OT. You say Thou Shalt Not Kill is God's commandment, bit clearly in religious texts there's a lot of contradiction. Thou Shalt Not Kill, but thou will stone people to death for adultery, etc. Christians were no different from these terrorists in past ages. During the crusades they massacred hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, all in the name of God. So I guess the lesson here is that when it comes to religion, don't take it too seriously, and learn to read only the bits which don't tell followers to act in an intolerant way.

      September 26, 2013 at 3:00 am | Reply
      • WS

        Willie, The genesis of Christianity began with the birth of Christ, Christianity never existed in the Old Testament, please this is history. Therefore nowhere in the New Testament which Christians are to live by, will you find permission given to Christians to kill. If I’m correct the Roman Catholic Church at that time was responsible for the Crusades nowhere in the New Testament was permission ever given for this killing. The killing was carried out against the will of Christ that is why one is unable to find any command in the New Testament giving permission to kill. It’s not that Christians don’t take it (not to kill) literally killing is expressly forbidden by them. Prior to the advent of Christianity God did on occasion provide instruction to kill including the Great Flood, however as I’ve tried to explain Christianity never existed in those times, so it’s not a matter of not taking things literally killing is forbidden for a Christian and doing so is a sin waiting for judgment, as will be the Roman Catholic Church for the Crusades. So I respectfully challenge anybody to provide scripture from the New Testament, the Christian era where killing is acceptable. It’s not about taking it literally, its punishable sin. The Koran and Islam permit the killing of unbelievers, that’s what’s happening today.

        September 26, 2013 at 3:18 pm |
  11. Carmelina

    If they kill they will tell you they are not a jihadist they are good Muslim.and good Muslim do not kill.but the evidence tells the truth of your religion.

    September 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Reply
  12. Carmelina

    If you read the New Testament bible you will see how God loves sending his son to die on the cross for our sins.this is the part of the bible that the Muslim do not read,

    September 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  13. Carmelina

    If only Muslim read the New Testament bible maybe you will not do that to your neighbor.but there's some Muslim that are good.but mostly are killer by means of bombing.pakistan Iraq Yemen Afghanistan Nigeria. They also burn the Christian church .because of insecurity.

    September 25, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Reply
  14. Carmelina

    To justify their wrong did they will give reasons pointing others .thats they do it because blah blah .but remember God knows the motive of our heart.

    September 25, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Reply
  15. jazz

    The people out there who are hating on Muslims just because of what they see in the media, thinking that all Muslims believe in violence and asking how Muslims can say it is a religion of peace are no different than the terrorists who hate westerners based on lack of education, lack of exposure to the rest of the world and being brainwashed by their local media that surrounds them.

    Hate, anger and prejudice against a religion, race or group of people based on what a small percentage of that group does shows ignorance and most of us will agree with that. Remember, religion is not a science, it is personal and interpreted differently by each individual. If there are people out there who say Islam is a religion of peace, you can't argue with them and say it's not because that's how they've interpreted their religion and how they practice it. Then there are others who interpret it with violence. That's how they practice their relgion.

    In the same way that Christinity has branched into all kinds of divisions, denominations and sometimes little cults, same has happened in Islam and the majority of the word's Muslims will say it is a religion of peace because that's how they practice it. But of course, the bad violent guys are going to get all the media hype because no one wants to read the news about a bunch of happy peaceful people. The media companies won't make money if that's all they write about.

    September 26, 2013 at 10:42 am | Reply
  16. samoosa

    i wonder hmm

    September 26, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Reply
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