The Somalia famine has exacerbated divisions within the Islamist militant group Al Shabab, whose more pragmatic leaders want to allow Western food aid into the areas they control.
The leadership of Al Qaeda-inspired Al Shabab claims there is no famine and that aid groups have 'hidden agendas.' But the group's field commanders appear more receptive to outside help.
Al Shabab, the Somali militant group with ideological links to Al Qaeda, says the threat to attack Kenya – posted on its website this week – is fake.
Tuesday, battles between government forces and Islamist militias in Mogadishu killed seven civilians. Experts say some of the militias might be open to dialogue with President Sharif.
Like the Somali-American from Minnesota who was killed this weekend, Tawakal Ahmed was recruited through mosques in Kenya to fight for Islamic militants in Mogadishu.
It has massed troops on the Somali border. Islamist militias have threatened retaliation if Kenya acts.
The fiery Sheikh Dahir Aweys may be ready to hash out a peace deal, following weeks of fighting the moderate government of Sheikh Sharif Ahmed.
Militant Islamists have the moderate government surrounded in Mogadishu. If they took over, it would be a devastating blow to US counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts in East Africa.
After five days of assault by better-armed Al Shabab militiamen, pro-government fighters have apparently begun to retreat.