The West thought it was winning the battle against jihadist terrorism. It should think again … It all looked different two years ago. Even before the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011, al-Qaeda’s central leadership, holed up near the Afghan border in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, was on the ropes, hollowed out by drone attacks and able to communicate with the rest of the network only with difficulty and at great risk. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), its most capable franchise as far as mounting attacks on the West is concerned, was being hit hard by drone strikes and harried by Yemeni troops. The Shabab was under similar pressure in Somalia, as Western-backed African Union forces chased them out of the main cities. Above all, the Arab spring had derailed al-Qaeda’s central claim that corrupt regimes supported by the West could be overthrown only through violence. ... All those gains are now in question. The Shabab is recruiting more foreign fighters than ever (some of whom appear to have been involved in the attack on the Westgate). AQAP was responsible for the panic that led to the closure of 19 American embassies across the region and a global travel alert in early August. Meanwhile al-Qaeda’s core, anticipating the withdrawal of Western troops from Afghanistan after 2014, is already moving back into the country’s wild east. ... Above all, the poisoning of the Arab spring has given al-Qaeda and its allies an unprecedented opening.
The English colonial legacy bequeathed a serious tea habit to Kenya. A super-sweet brew boiled up in milk rather than water, tea is the drink of choice at home and in government offices. As the world’s leading black tea exporter, Kenya brings in about $1bn a year from its production, which totalled 450,000 tonnes last year, nearly 10 times as much as coffee production. But the up-and-coming consumer is plumping for coffee, across the city and into its fringes. ... Suleiman says he goes for coffee because “big men” drink it. Mahiti concurs: “We’ve always had tea, but coffee is something that wasn’t there before: it’s like a sign of success when you drink coffee.” ... “If you want to be identified as someone who’s on an upward track, where better to do that than in a public space where you’re spending only a buck and a half to have a cup of coffee and say ‘I’ve made it, I’ve arrived,’” says Ashley, who explains the company deliberately never hurries customers from tables, even if they nurse their cup for hours to eke out time and free WiFi. “It’s a very inexpensive way to demonstrate your rise up in society.”