The Utility Of Cyberspace As A Force Multiplier In Asymmetrical Encounters: The Case Of Alshabaab And Kenya Security Forces In The Horn Of Africa
This dissertation aims at highlighting the import of cyberspace in its informational context as a decisive component of ongoing engagement between Alshabaab and Kenya Security Forces in the horn of Africa. The study examines Alshabaab‘s appropriation of cyberspace in the wake of sustained onslaught from Kenya Security Forces. The conclusion here is that it was a strategic calculation embraced to help the group survive massed conventional manpower, weapon systems and doctrine through conferring it alternate geography analogues to mountainous terrains that insurgents classically are adept in. To make sense of the foregoing, the study employs fourth Generation Warfare Conceptual model whose thrust of argument lies in an insurgent deploying all ―available networks which include political, economic, social and military, to convince the enemy‘s political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unattainable or too costly for perceived benefit through the medium of information‖. The major arguments of this study are: first, the adaptation and deployment of cyberspace by Alshabaab is a function of its presumed strategic and tactical utilities that compensate for and offset its strategic and tactical weaknesses in relation to Kenya Security Forces. In this calculation, cyberspace is employed to sidestep the conventional battle, project the insurgent‘s narrative and fabricate a fifth column necessary for operationalization of their long durée engagement with KSF. The second argument is that Alshabaab appreciates the strengths and weaknesses of the counterinsurgent in relation to utility of cyberspace. In this regard, the insurgent maximizes on the sphere out of the inability of KSF to understand its use as force multiplier and an evolved dimension of war. The third argument is that that containment of al-Shabaab‘s psychological operations is attendant on the government consolidating her public affairs divisions into a brigade command that appreciates cyberspace as an evolved domain of war, and content delivered therein as means towards military objective.
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