“The arms trade – an intricate web of networks between the formal and shadow worlds, between government, commerce and criminality – often makes us poorer, not richer, less not more safe, and governed not in our own interests but for the benefit of a small, self-serving elite, seemingly above the law, protected by the secrecy of national security and accountable to no one.”
― Andrew Feinstein
As of today there two United States Representatives from the Republican Party Ted Budd of North Carolina and Duncan Duane Hunter from California that for their own reasons to stop sales of U.S. arms to Kenya, this they have forwarded a joint resolution. This was first from Ted Budd, but Duncan Hunter became his co-sponsor of the bill. Of today it has been transmitted to the Committee at the House Foreign Affairs that will work on it, before initial voting.
“That the issuance of a letter of offer with respect to any of the following proposed sales to the Government of Kenya (described in the certification Transmittal No. 16–79, sent to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate pursuant to section 36(b)(1) of the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 2776(b)(1))) on January 19, 2017, is hereby prohibited:
(1) Twelve Air Tractor AT–802L.
(2) Two AT–504 trainer aircraft.
(3) Weapons package, technical support and program management” (Budd & Hunter, 2017).
It is not long ago since this was sanctioned to the Kenya Defense Force and their missions, as this was a supplement to the on-going missions that the Kenya contingent in Somalia and might even be used as blue-helmets inside South Sudan. Still, the U.S. Representatives think these will be misguided and not well used arms for their ally in East Africa. This is the double-standard and double moral from the U.S. counterparts that easily has dropped and sold this sort of weapons to others, but has to all of sudden sanction Kenya for buying the same thing.
Just take a look at the timing of the deal between the U.S. and Kenyan earlier in 2017:
“The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the possible sale on 19 January and disclosed the potential sale on 23 January” (…) “The DSCA said Kenya had requested the sale of up to twelve Air Tractor AT-802L and two AT-504 trainer aircraft, weapons, technical support and programme management worth $418 million” (…) “This proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of a strong regional partner who is a regional security leader undertaking critical operations against al-Shabaab and troop contributor to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM),” the DSCA said” (…) “The proposed sale provides a needed capability in the ongoing efforts to counter al-Shabaab. The platform maximizes the Kenyan Defense Force’s Close Air Support (CAS) ability because it is a short-field aircraft capable of using precision munitions and cost effective logistics and maintenance.” (DefenceWeb, 2017).
So a purchase accepted in January is now in question in February, as the new Trump Administration will not care for the allies and friends as such before. The DSCA sanctioned the sale on the 23rd January 2017 and now on the 14th February 2017 the U.S. Representatives questions the sale. So the AMISOM mission and their allies who fights in it doesn’t matter as much, as that was the destination for the arms and technical weaponry in this transaction. That the sales of close worth over $400m that suddenly goes into the wind!
We will see if the Foreign Affairs Committee at the House of Representatives will work with this and see if this will go for voting in the House or Senate to sufficiently go forward with joint communique of Ted Budd and Duncan Hunter. That then will become legislation as the deal will not happen as the Committee will put forward a motion or legislation that the stops the arms agreement and trade between the DSCA and the Government of Kenya. Therefore the U.S. Arms trade to the Kenyan Defense Force.
This story is certainly not over. Peace.
DefenceWeb – ‘US approves possible Air Tractor, weapons sale to Kenya’ (24.01.2017) link: http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=46563:us-approves-possible-air-tractor-weapons-sale-to-kenya&catid=35:Aerospace&Itemid=107
Representative Ted Budd (R-North Carolina) & Representative Duncan Duane Hunter (R-California) – ‘H.J.Res. 72: Relating to the disapproval of the proposed foreign military sale to the Government of Kenya of Air Tractor aircraft with weapons, and related support’ (14.02.2017)
21 September 2016 – Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the Vice-President of Kenya today implored the UN Security Council to align the mandate of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to the threat levels in that neighbouring country, and to provide adequate, predictable funding and other support for the Mission.
“For the last two and half decades, the region has been seized with the situation in Somalia,” Vice-President William Ruto said. “Throughout this time, Kenya has stood with Somalia, provided a safe haven for refugees, joined peacekeeping missions, and invested resources in combating al-Shabaab and its affiliates.”
This solidarity has helped to substantially weaken the al-Shabaab militant group, liberated large swathes of land in Somalia and provided the space for its Government to begin the journey of rehabilitation and reconstruction, he explained.
On its part, Kenya has committed to $10 million in new funds to support the safe, dignified and orderly repatriation of the more than 400,000 Somali refugees in Kenya. “Sadly, the efforts of the region and Somalia’s neighbours have not been matched by the international community,” he stated.
Instead of supporting regional activities, the European Union this year cut support for AMISOM by 20 per cent. Despite repeated appeals, the UN Security Council has failed to provide adequate, predictable funding, as well as force multipliers for AMISOM.
“I once again implore members of the Security Council to take this matter seriously and align the mandate of AMISOM to the threat levels in Somalia on land, air and sea,” he said.
On South Sudan, Vice-President Ruto said that Kenya, as a guarantor of the 2005 comprehensive peace agreement and the 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict, has been spearheading the search for sustainable peace, continues to invest significantly in efforts to build peace.
Echoing an earlier statement made by Ghana’s President, Mr. Ruto said that Africa accounted for only three per cent of global trade. Meanwhile, Africa’s population is set to surpass that of India and China combined by 2050. “Unless the trade imbalance is reversed as a matter of urgency, this will accentuate vulnerability, poverty, risk of insecurity and instability for both Africa and the rest of the world,” he said.
In the pursuit of sustainable solutions to global challenges, Kenya hosted the UN Environmental Assembly in May, the 14th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in July, and the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in August. Kenya will also host the second high-level meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in Nairobi later this year.
As the current chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, Kenya has been at the forefront of advocating for a new peacebuilding architecture for sustainable peace throughout the world, he said, drawing attention to a pledging conference Kenya will co-host later today to boost the Secretary-General’s Peacebuilding Fund.
“For us the message is clear: If we are ever to enjoy a peaceful world for all, we cannot invest any less in peacebuilding than we do in peacekeeping,” he said.