Somalia has been ridden with numerous wars for decades because of its unique culture that has drawn interest from its people. The political landscape of the country has undergone numerous shifts with different political powers striving to control the country. In the midst of the 1991 political and economic cycles of Somalia a war began that quickly spread to the entire country. While the cause of the war has been a subject of debate, the numerous economic, social and political problems facing the country were significant causes of the 1992 – 1995 war in particular.
The Somali war was started when the country’s third president, Siad Barre, who had held office from 1969 was overthrown (Duyvesteyn). However, the war was an attempt to overthrow Haitian dictator Raoul Cedras. As a result of the war, Somalia became a significant part of the US’s foreign policy concern. However, rather than causing a positive influence in Somalia, the war brought a high level of criticism particularly in regards to the US’s involvement in it. Notably, the US involvement in Somalia started in August 1992, six months before Clinton became the president. Beginning with humanitarian acts such as providing food and other basic needs to the war-torn country, the US soon sent its forces to join the United Task Force that consisted of soldiers from twenty countries.
Initially, the more than a half of the United Task Force were US soldiers, but the nation began reducing its troops. By 1993, the number of US soldiers in the task force was 4,000. However, the intensified fighting after the gradual withdrawal caused the US to deploy more soldiers, but the response was rather late and the troops were not adequately armed to control the fighting Somalia forces (Kieh).
The particular event that caused the US government to reconsider its involvement in the war was the “Black Hawk Dawn”(Gebru). In this battle, the US suffered heavy casualties with the Somalia forces demonstrating defiance by displaying images of US soldiers being pulled through the streets of Mogadishu. As a result, both the US and UN forces withdrew over the next six months. Somalia warring factions continued to indulge in war in the absence of foreign forces. Critics of the president called Somalia a fiasco while supporters, still admitting a failed mission, blamed the previous president for getting involved in Somalia’s affairs.
Left to fight, the two warring Somalia sides escalated the war resulting in the death of numerous civilians. Ali Mahdi Mohamed, the leader of one of the fighting clans, did not stand down and stood firm to defend his title as a self –declared President of the Republic. After the US government and the UN had withdrawn their support, the rebels against the rule of Ali Mohamed continued to oppose him even the more due to the minimal resistance. The following year due to the lack of supplies and the constant warfare the people started to die rapidly, and these resulted in thousands of emigrants to Kenya and Ethiopia as refugees (Roble and Rutledge).
By the time of the UN’s complete withdrawal from Somalia in 1995, they had suffered heavy casualties. Unfortunately, the united task force’s mission to re-establish a central authority composed of the local leaders failed. Thereafter, religious and customary rule was established in the northern part of the country. Consequently, the war began to subside and the fighting reduced bringing the country to a more stable situation. However, the country’s political state has been unstable, reflecting negatively in the country’s economy and social stability.
In summary, the Somalia 1992 – 1995 civil war was a significant event that had a negative impact in numerous countries. Being majorly a war between two warring clans, the attempt of the international community to intervene resulted in heavy casualties in the United Task Force, which forced the forces to withdraw from the country. Eventually, it resulted in the establishment of religious and customary Rule, which caused a reduction in the conflict.
Duyvesteyn, Isabelle G. B. M. The Political Dynamics of Civil War: A Structured Focused
Comparison of the Liberian (1989-1997) and Somali (1988-1995) Wars . London: University of London, 2002. Print.
Gebru, Tareke. The Ethiopian Revolution: War in the Horn of Africa . New Haven: Yale
University Press, 2009. Internet resource.
Kieh, George K. “The Somali Civil War.” Zones of Conflict in Africa : Theories and Cases .
(2002): 123-137. Print.
Roble, Abdi, and Douglas F. Rutledge. The Somali Diaspora: A Journey Away . Minneapolis,
MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2008. Print.