While today’s DN headline insinuating that Kenya bowed down to US pressure and cancelled the Iran oil deal seems to accurately capture what transpired, only a few observers know of the actual possible goings-on.
Desperate to fight the increasingly projected image of a nation that is pro-Israeli and pro-West, the Kenya Government, I am convinced, had earlier stage-managed the announcement that it was signing the deal with Iran. This was so as to counter the image that the country was against the Arab community and, by extension, Muslim interests. You and I know that the Government is keen to stem the worrying spate of terrorist attacks, all of which seem to be propagated by extremist Muslims, be they Somalis or Iranians.
So by reaching an ‘agreement’ with Iran on oil, Kenya was hoping to demonstrate that we were still friendly to Muslim interests, the anti-Al Shabaab military operation in Somalia notwithstanding. So when Uncle Sam wagged a finger at Kenya, our government swiftly and triumphantly declared it was cancelling the deal.
Of course, at the time of making the Iran oil deal announcement, the Kenya Government was not so naive as to be oblivious of the fact that Iran was facing a UN-sanctioned embargo. So the whole act may have been stage-managed. The objective being to show the world that we are ready to do business with Arabs and Muslims (only the world and western powers “won’t let us”), that we are not necessarily pro-Israeli or pro-West and that the Muslim world should know that the operation in Somalia has nothing to do with the spread of Christianity.
Thus my hypothesis is that the headline in today’s DN that the US has ‘killed’ the Iran oil deal is a victory for our intelligence agencies, I believe. Besides, given the prevailing geopolitical circumstances in Kenya, I doubt our government would in earnest advance any strategic pact with Iran. The whole ‘deal’ thing was stage managed to achieve geopolitical and intelligence objectives.
The US may be seen as having achieved a PR feat by successfully pressuring Kenya to cancel the Iran oil deal. But Kenya ran away with the larger victory – that of having achieved the afore-mentioned objectives, plus a curiously well timed withdrawal of the US travel warning…..