Jihadi Islamism has emerged as an existential threat to global peace and our way of life. The al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab Islamist group in Somalia has emerged as the indelible face of this threat, compounded by the the entry of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ASIL) into in the Horn of Africa. Africa responded to the threat of violent extremism by deploying a peacekeeping Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). In 2012, Kenya placed its troops in Somalia under the command of the African mission, conceived within the larger canvas of the continent’s emerging collective security architecture. War for Peace: Kenya’s Military in the African Mission in Somalia takes a long view of the past, present and future of the Kenyan troops in Africa’s trail-brazing response to violent extremism in the wider context of the rapidly changing geopolitical environment in the Horn.
The book concludes that a combination of deepened coordination and broad partnerships; rigorous training and discipline; responsiveness to technological solutions and constant modernization of the military offers the best guarantee for slaying the hydra of violent extremism and for Kenya’s security long after AMISOM exits Somalia.

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War For Peace is divided into four parts and consists of 12 chapters

  • Chapter 1 : Introduction
  • Chapter 2 : The Power of Values: The Making of a Force for Peace
  • Chapter 3 : Echoes from the Past: Kenya and Somalia Prior To 2011
  • Chapter 4 : The Age of Extremism: From Al-Ittihad to Al-Shabaab
  • Chapter 5 : The Power of Unity: Kdf and Africa’s Collective Security
  • Chapter 6 : Smart Power: Winning Hearts and Minds
  • Chapter 7 : Sharp Power: Amisom and the New War on Truth
  • Chapter 8 : Brute Power: Al-Shabaab and the Art of Terrorism
  • Chapter 9 : The Powers of Anarchy: The New Geopolitics of Peace Operations in the Horn
  • Chapter 10 : Amisom’s Coming Exit: The Unfinished Agendum
  • Chapter 11 : Beyond Walls: Vision of a Post-Amisom Security Order
  • Chapter 12 : Conclusion: A War Cry for Peace

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General Samson J. Mwathethe

EGH, MBS, DCO ‘ndc’ (K), ‘psc’ (UK)
Chief of the Defence Forces

October 14, 2011 will always be remembered as a Rubicon-crossing moment for the Kenya Defence Forces. From that day, when Kenyan soldiers crossed the border into Somalia in pursuit of al- Shabaab militants, the Kenyan military has not turned back from its commitment to safeguard Kenya’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as securing peace in Somalia and the larger Horn of Africa region. War for Peace offers rare insights into the growth of the Kenyan military from a relatively modest force to become a sturdy pillar of regional and global peace. The force has been able to execute its mandate in a highly dynamic and evolving threat environment from the Shifta campaign in the 1960s to al-Shabaab in the new millennium. Whether under international peace support operations, ‘Operation Linda Nchi’ or the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), the Kenyan soldiers have been actively involved in the search for sustainable peace. Regionally, the quest for peace is guided by the belief that our own destiny and that of Somalia and the larger Horn of Africa are inextricably intertwined. Peace and prosperity in Somalia means peace and prosperity in Kenya and the entire region. But the pursuit of peace comes at a price. Some of our peacekeepers paid the ultimate sacrifice. This and future generations will remain indebted to the courage, valor and patriotism of these gallant heroes, the brave sons and daughters of our motherland.

Key Messages from War for Peace

  • In many ways, the entry of the Kenyan troops into Somalia in pursuit of the al-Shabaab jihadi Islamist militia was a game-changer in the African Mission’s war against violent extremism and terrorism and to restore peace in Somalia and the larger Horn of Africa region.
  • The re-hatting of the Kenyan troops in Somalia underscored the country’s commitment to the principles of multilateralism and collective approach to global of peace.
  • The Kenyan military’s involvement in the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) reveals useful insights into the challenges facing peace support operations in a rapidly changing global geopolitical environment.
  • For nearly a decade, the Kenyan troops in Somalia have successful used the humanitarian and development interventions as a new way of thinking that combines the hard power of modern militaries and the soft power of bottom-up empowerment of communities to brunt negative nationalism, win the hearts and minds and root out asymmetric threats posed by al-Shabaab and other militants.
  • In the trenches of war in Somalia, the Kenyan forces, trained and adept in the ‘art of war’, came face to face with the disheartening reality the ‘art of lies’ as a defining characteristic of the war on truth in peace support missions in the post-truth age.
  • In response to major battlefield defeats and loss of territory and incomes, al-Shabaab refined its art of terrorism, resorting to military swarming warfare targeting bases of AMISOM and partners. The aim is to enable the militants garner news coverage and propagandize using modern communication technology to sway public opinion and erode support for AMISOM, potentially and prematurely forcing it out of Somalia.
  • The rapidly and perilously shifting geopolitics in the Horn of Africa witnessed in the proliferation of actors, foreign military bases and naval build-ups, is emphatically transforming the geopolitical environment, limiting policy choices and engendering divisions within the ranks of African peacekeepers.
  • Ultimately, a combination of stronger partnerships and effective coordination, rigorous training and discipline and responsiveness to technological solutions in the modernization of the military provide the sharp arrowhead needed to slay the hydra of jihadi Islamism and restore peace.
  • War and Peace is a tour de force in the study of the achievements and challenges of modern militaries in the complex wars against asymmetric threats posed by violent extremism and terrorism.

The Team Behind This

Editorial Team

  • Chief Editor:

Professor Peter Kagwanja, Chief Executive, Africa Policy Institute (API) and Visiting Professor, Institute of Diplomacy & International Studies (IDIS), University of Nairobi.

  • Assistant Chief Editor:

Brigadier Stephen Mutuku James, Chief of Operations, Defence headquarters.

  • Editorial Team:

Colonel Paul Njuguna, Colonel Njoroge Gitogo, Colonel Ahmed Saman, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Imbiakha, Lieutenant Colonel David Kwach, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Muguro.

  • Project Coordinator:

Colonel Paul Njuguna