By William Tucker
When Kenyan forces invaded southern Somalia several months ago, the stated goal was to create a buffer to prevent al-Shabaab’s forces from launching attacks against Nairobi. Al-Shabaab, however, continues to threaten Kenya. In one statement an al-Shabaab spokesman threatened to knock down skyscrapers in Nairobi. Al-Shabaab does have the capability to carry out attacks beyond Somalia, but the scale would be much smaller than toppling large building as al-Qaeda did with the U.S. embassy in Kenya 13 years ago. It is more likely that al-Shabaab would use smaller vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDS), or small arms attacks such as those seen in northern Kenya in the last few months. Targets would likely include hotels, shopping malls, or any other large concentration of civilians. The Kenyan government has increased the frequency with which they release terror warnings in the last few months, but their counterterrorism capabilities remain untested. Of course, we will continue to monitor the situation in the Horn of Africa.