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Cablegate: Embassy Concurrence for Fy09 Africom 1206 Maritime

VZCZCXRO0850
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHNR #2736 3431358
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 081358Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7834
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM PRIORITY 6212
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 2991
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 2884
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUZEFAA/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RUZEFAA/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY

UNCLAS NAIROBI 002736

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR PTER PREL KE SO
SUBJECT: EMBASSY CONCURRENCE FOR FY09 AFRICOM 1206 MARITIME
SECURITY PROPOSAL

1. Embassy Nairobi has reviewed and supports AFRICOM's
proposal to help the Kenyan Navy build its maritime capacity
to counter the threat posed by terrorist organizations
operating from Somalia.

2. Kenya's naval capacity has always been weak, and Kenya's
overall security has suffered as a result: drug and human
trafficking, illegal fishing, and smuggling are
all-too-common occurrences. More worryingly, Islamic
militants fighting in Somalia -- who have already
demonstrated links with al Qaida -- can easily use Kenya's
coastal areas to transport equipment, weapons, and personnel.
Kenyan security forces on land have interdicted weapons
shipments with the assistance of intelligence and specially
trained forces. Unfortunately, the Kenyan navy has no real
capacity to do this at sea. The navy does not have enough
patrol boats to cover its coastal waters, existing boats are
in need of repair, and there is little to no awareness of
maritime traffic patterns that could facilitate effective
interdictions.

3. The timing of this proposal is critical given the recent
spike in piracy attacks against commercial and passenger
ships. Senior Kenyan defense officials believe that the
pirates will establish links with terrorist organizations
like al Shabaab and al Qaida in the not-too-distant future.
While the Government of Kenya has in the past neglected the
development of its naval service, the navy's glaring
deficiencies have come under the spotlight during the recent
spate of piracy attacks. Kenyan government officials have
expressed to us in a number of fora their desire to
fast-track the development of their navy. The Kenyan navy is
doing the best it can with what it has -- even if it means
mounting outdated G-3 rifles to the gunwales of its patrol
boats. Given the nature of the threat, however, these
efforts will not be enough.

4. The 1206 proposal aims to provide basic training,
equipment, and infrastructure improvement to help the Kenyan
navy extend its reach, improve its skills, and increase its
operational tempo. The basic improvement in Kenya's maritime
capacity should have a cascading beneficial effect in areas
like smuggling and drug/human trafficking. However, the most
crucial benefits will accrue when Kenya's navy is able to
deny al Shabaab and al Qaida-affiliated militants the freedom
to operate in Kenya's coastal waters.
RANNEBERGER

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