Embassies Vulnerability to Attacks The US embassies in Africa were vulnerable to malicious attacks because of several reasons that have been identified by several reports of commissions established to investigate the issue. The first reason stated for the vulnerability is failure on the part of the administration to provide adequate security for the embassies. There are several departments that have been blamed for this they include: the department if state, the national Security Council, the office of management and budget and lastly the entire US congress. These departments have been blamed for not providing adequate security for these embassies despite the known threat of terrorist attacks. The department of state gathered intelligence on this attacks prior to them occurring but were dismissed as too vague to be useful. (The washington Post, 1999)
The second reason is that state agencies such as the FBI and CIA failed to predict the consequences of their pressure on the bin Laden network. In 1997 and 1998 the state agencies put a lot of pressure on the network plus other affiliated groups such as the Al-Haramain thinking that such pressure will make the network to stop its activities. They did not think past the consequences of this which led to the bin laden declaration of war on America especially on embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. (IPP Media, 2011)
The third reason is that the two countries Kenya and Tanzania were chosen by the bin laden network because they were convenient for the terrorist organization. A look at both countries shows as that they lacked adequate security during this time especially in Tanzania. The two countries have also a sizeable number of Muslims and people of Arab origin and therefore it was easy to blend in to accomplish their mission. The two nations especially Kenya are known to have close ties with America and therefore bombing such nations meant successful bombing on US territory. The above mentioned factors contributed largely to the vulnerability of the US embassies to Terrorist attacks. (James M. Lutz, 2004)
The two bombing attacks in Nairobi and Dar es salaam are believed by many to be a revenge mission for the bin laden network on America for its involvement in the extradition and alleged torture of some members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad that are said to have been arrested in Albania two months before the attacks. The four men were said to be involved in the assassination of Rifaat el-Mahgoub and a plot against the Khan el-Khalili market in Cairo. There was a communiqué prepared by the bin laden network warning the United States that a response was in the pipeline to repay them for their involvement in the issue. (The washington Post, 1999)
The Nairobi Operation was named after the Holly Kaaba in Mecca while the one in Dar es salaam was named operation al-Aqsa. To prepare for the bombing attacks, they bought a villa in Nairobi in 1998 to be used for the storage of the bomb materials. They also bought a Toyota Dyna truck in Nairobi and a Nissan Atlas refrigeration truck in Dar es Salaam. They bought reinforcement that included six metal bars that were used to cage the bomb on the back of the Atlas. In June 1998 KK Mohammed one of the bombers rented a house in Illala district of Dar es salaam about six kilometers from the US embassy. They used a Suzuki Samurai to ferry bomb components to the house. (Global Security Org, 2000)
They then made the bombs and packed them in the back of the trucks as wooden crates. The wiring was made such that there was a connection to the batteries at the back of the truck and the detonator on the dashboard. The trucks were then drove and packed almost simultaneously at the sites at 10.30 and 10. 40 Am. The inadequate security in the sites made it easy for the operation to be successful in which 212 people were killed and about 4000 injured in the Nairobi attack. The Dar es Salaam attack claimed 11 lives and wounded 85 people. (Kenya National Assembly Official Record , 2001)
Global Security Org. (2000). Attacks on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Retrieved September 19, 2011, from Homeland security: http://www.globalsecurity.org/security/ops/98emb.htm
IPP Media. (2011, Septemeber 11). Why we are still not safe. Retrieved September 19, 2011, from http://www.ippmedia.com/frontend/index.php?l=33231
James M. Lutz, B. J. (2004). Global Terrorism. Oxford: UK.
Kenya National Assembly Official Record . (2001). 1998 Bomblast. Nairobi: Government printer.
The washington Post. (1999, January). Panel Cites U.S. Failures On Security for Embassies. Retrieved September 19, 2011, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/inatl/longterm/eafricabombing/stories/security010899.htm