|Kenya and Iran have been trying for some time
to identify what they have in common when it
comes to terrorism [Image Source]
Iran and terrorism are linked in the news again today. This time it’s about a thwarted terror attack on Israelis in East Africa. And if that sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it should. Kenyan anti-terror police
detained two Iranian men using forged Israeli passports to enter the East African country, on suspicion that they may have been involved in a plan to carry out an attack there…
That was two years ago. We looked at the surrounding circumstances in a post at the time [“20-Sep-14: Iran is not commenting but Kenya may have just thwarted another Iranian terror attack“]
Here’s what happened yesterday:
A Kenyan prosecutor has charged two Iranian men with collecting information to carry out a terrorist attack after they were allegedly found with video footage of the Israeli embassy. State Prosecutor Duncan Ondimu said in court on Thursday that Sayed Nasrollah Ebrahim and Abdolhosein Gholi Safaee were arrested Tuesday in an Iranian diplomatic car while taking the pictures of the Israeli mission using a mobile phone, including when they were intercepted. They were detained in the capital, Nairobi after they had come from visiting Kamiti Prison where they saw two other Iranians who have been jailed for 15 years on terrorism charges… A Kenyan driver, Moses Keyah Mmboga, who was chauffeuring the vehicle belonging to the Iranian embassy has been charged along with the suspects and also faces a separate charge of “abetting terrorism,” Ondimu said. [Times of Israel, today]
There was more trouble of a similar nature even earlier than two years ago. See another of our earlier blog posts: “3-May-13: Kenya discovers it is hosting a “vast network” of terrorists; convicts two Iranians and hopes for the best“.
In June 2013 a Kenyan court convicted two Iranian nationals of plotting attacks against Western targets in Kenya and sentenced them to life in prison (reduced on appeal to 15 years imprisonment). Ahmad Abolfathi Mohammad and Sayed Mansour Mousavi had been arrested in June 2012 and led officials to a massive stash of explosives. Kenyan anti-terror officials said at the time that the Iranians were members of the notorious Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
Iran’s English-language media kept silent about the 2012 arrests of Iranian terror suspects, about the 2013 convictions of Iranian terrorists and, as far as we can tell, about the thwarted 2014 Iranian terror attack. Truly, we can understand that.
We searched the English-language edition of the Iranian regime’s FARS news site just now, and didn’t see any mention of what has just happened in Nairobi. Searching there for “Kenya” produces nothing about IRGC people plotting to kill Israelis or Kenyans. We understand that too.
But strikingly there is this from two years ago:
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and his Kenyan counterpart Justin Bedan Njoka Muturi [met] in Tehran on Saturday [and] conferred on mutual cooperation in the fight against terrorism. “A part of our negotiations with the Kenyan speaker was focused on the terrorism crises which are seen in our region and East Africa as Kenya is in the fight against some terrorist groups,” Larijani told reporters today in a press conference after meeting with Muturi. “Our views about war on terrorism are close and the two countries have identical determination to this end and we hope to expand our mutual cooperation in campaign against terrorism,” he added. Muturi, for his part, underlined the need for activation of parliamentary friendship groups between Iran and Kenya, and said, “During my talks with Mr. Larijani, we underscored strengthening friendly ties and improvement of economic and cultural relations…”
In February 2015, Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Chawahir Mohammed said that expansion of all-out relations with Iran stands atop her country’s foreign policy agenda. “Nairobi is particularly interested in expansion of cooperation with Iran in oil and gas fields,” the Kenyan foreign minister said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Nairobi. [“Iran, Kenya Discuss Anti-Terrorism Cooperation“, FARS, September 24, 2016]
Do the Kenyans understand what it means to pursue co-operation with the Islamic Republic of Iran?
We have had our doubts in the past (see “24-Jul-15: Terror here? ‘Ridiculous’ say Kenyans, deploying their largest ever security blanket” and “16-May-14: More jihadist killings in East Africa today” and “27-Sep-13: Freeing terrorists and the Nairobi massacre“). If the US State Department doesn’t return their calls (and the State Department knows a lot about Iranian terror even if they don’t always own up to it), the Kenyans could go searching on the web.
A good starting point might be “Iran and state-sponsored terrorism” from Wikipedia.