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Somalia, a country in north-east Africa, was invaded by the British and in 1884 established a protectorate in the area on the coast facing Aden. Italy also colonized a larger area that became known as Somalia Italiana.

In 1941 Somalia was occupied by the British Army and remained under British control for the rest of the Second World War.

Somalia, 1992–1993

The United States has long had to face the challenge of determining to what degree it wants to participate in global peacekeeping efforts and whether or not U.S. lives should be put at risk for peacekeeping. Events in Somalia between 1992 and 1994 threw that debate into sharp relief.

Somalia achieved its independence in 1960 with the union of Somalia, which had been under Italian administration as a United Nations trust territory, and Somaliland, which had been a British protectorate. The United States immediately established diplomatic relations with the new country. In 1969, the Somali Army launched a coup which brought Mohamed Siad Barre to power. Barre adopted socialism and became allied with the Soviet Union. The United States was thus wary of Somalia in the period immediately after the coup.

Barre’s government became increasingly radical in foreign affairs, and in 1977 launched a war against Ethiopia in hopes of claiming their territory. Ethiopia received help from the Soviet Union during the war, and so Somalia began to accept assistance from the United States, giving a new level of stability to the U.S.-Somalia relationship.

Barre’s dictatorship favored members of his own clan. In the 1980s, Somalis in less favored clans began to chafe under the government’s rule. Barre’s ruthlessness could not suppress the opposition, which in 1990 began to unify against him. After joining forces, the combined group of rebels drove Barre from Mogadishu in January 1991. No central government reemerged to take the place of the overthrown government, and the United States closed its embassy that same year, although the two countries never broke off diplomatic relations. The country descended into chaos, and a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions began to unfold.

The United Nations attempted to address the crisis with United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) to provide humanitarian assistance, created by the United Nations Security Council via Resolution 751 in April 1992. The United States sent food aid via Operation Provide Comfort starting in August 1992. Intense fighting between the warlords impeded the delivery of aid to those who needed it most, and so the United Nations contemplated stronger action. In December 1992, the United States began Operation Restore Hope. President George H.W. Bush authorized the dispatch of U.S. troops to Somalia to assist with famine relief as part of the larger United Nations effort. The United Nations’ United Task Force (UNITAF) operated under the authority of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. Chapter VII allowed for the use of force to maintain peace and did not require the consent of the states involved. UNITAF transitioned to UNOSOM II in March 1993. UNOSOM II’s efforts to protect aid deliveries were directly challenged by warlord Muhammad Farah Aideed.

The most significant of these challenges came on October 3, 1993. Aideed’s forces shot down two Black Hawk helicopters in a battle which lead to the deaths of 18 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of Somalis. The deaths turned the tide of public opinion in the United States. President Bill Clinton pulled U.S. troops out of combat four days later, and all U.S. troops left the country in March 1994. The United Nations withdrew from Somalia in March 1995. Fighting continued in the country.

At the same time the Somalia crisis was unfolding, President Clinton ordered the national security bureaucracy to consider how and when the United States should become involved in peacekeeping operations. The resulting document was Presidential Decision Directive 25, issued on May 3, 1994. The Directive outlined a series of factors which the national security bureaucracy must consider before involving the United States in peacekeeping: eight factors which must be weighed before deciding in favor of peacekeeping in the United Nations, and nine additional factors before becoming involved in a Chapter VII action.

Although the United Nations’ involvement in Somalia was unable to provide a solution to the country’s political crisis, the United States remained engaged in responding to the humanitarian needs of the Somali people, and continued to be a significant source of bilateral aid.

Somalia - History

Somalia was known as the Land of Punt by ancient Egyptians, who came to Somalia's northern shores for incense and aromatic herbs. In the 9th or 10th century, Somalis began pushing south from the Gulf of Aden coast. About this time, Arabs and Persians established settlements along the Indian Ocean coast. During the 15th and 16th centuries, Portuguese explorers attempted without success to establish Portuguese sovereignty over the Somali coast. Meanwhile, the main coastal centers continued to be controlled by Arab merchant families under the nominal suzerainty of the sultanate of Oman, which transferred its seat to Zanzibar in the early 19th century.

After the British armed forces occupied Aden in 1839, they developed an interest in the northern Somali coast. By 1874, Egyptians occupied several points on the shore, but their occupation was short-lived. From 1884 to 1886, the British signed a number of "protectorate" treaties with Somali chiefs of the northern area. The protectorate was first administered by the resident in Aden and later (1907) by the Colonial Office. From 1899 to 1920, British rule was constantly disrupted by the "holy war" waged by �llah bin Hasan (generally known in English literature as the "Mad Mullah").

Italian expansion in Somalia began in 1885, when Antonio Cecchi, an explorer, led an Italian expedition into the lower Juba region and concluded a commercial treaty with the sultan of Zanzibar. In 1889, Italy established protectorates over the eastern territories then under the nominal rule of the sultans of Obbia and of Alula and in 1892, the sultan of Zanzibar leased concessions along the Indian Ocean coast to Italy. Direct administrative control of the territory known as Italian Somaliland was not established until 1905. The Fascist government increased Italian authority by its extensive military operations. In 1925, the British government, in line with secret agreements with Italy during World War I, transferred the Jubaland (an area south of the Jubba River) to Italian control. During the Italo-Ethiopian conflict (1934�), Somalia was a staging area for Italy's invasion and conquest of Ethiopia. From 1936 to 1941, Somalia and the Somali-inhabited portion of Ethiopia, the Ogaden, were combined in an enlarged province of Italian East Africa.

In 1940�, Italian troops briefly occupied British Somaliland but were soon defeated by the British, who conquered Italian Somaliland and reestablished their authority over British Somaliland. Although the Ogaden was returned to Ethiopia in 1948, British administration over the rest of Italian Somaliland continued until 1950, when Italy became the UN trusteeship authority. A significant impetus to the Somali nationalist movement was provided by the UN in 1949 when the General Assembly resolved that Italian Somaliland would receive its independence in 1960. By the end of 1956, Somalis were in almost complete charge of domestic affairs. Meanwhile, Somalis in British Somaliland were demanding self-government. As Italy agreed to grant independence on 1 July 1960 to its trust territory, the UK gave its protectorate independence on 26 June 1960, thus enabling the two Somali territories to join in a united Somali Republic on 1 July 1960. On 20 July 1961, the Somali people ratified a new constitution, drafted in 1960, and one month later confirmed Aden 𧪽ullah Osman Daar as the nation's first president.

From the inception of independence, the Somali government supported the concept of self-determination for the people of the Somali-inhabited areas of Ethiopia (the Ogaden section), Kenya (most of the northeastern region), and French Somaliland (now the Republic of Djibouti), including the right to be united within a greater Somalia. Numerous border clashes occurred between Somalia and Ethiopia, and between Somalia and Kenya. Soviet influence in Somalia grew after Moscow agreed in 1962 to provide substantial military aid.

Abdirashid ɺli Shermarke, who was elected president in 1967, was assassinated on 15 October 1969. Six days later, army commanders seized power with the support of the police. The military leaders dissolved parliament, suspended the constitution, arrested members of the cabinet, and changed the name of the country to the Somali Democratic Republic. Maj. Gen. Jalle Mohamed Siad Barre, commander of the army, was named chairman of a 25-member Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) that assumed the powers of the president, the Supreme Court, and the National Assembly. Siad Barre was later named president.

In 1970, President Siad Barre proclaimed "scientific socialism" as the republic's guiding ideology. This Marxist ideology stressed hard work and public service and was regarded by the SRC as fully compatible with Islam. A number of industries and large firms, especially foreign banks and oil companies, were nationalized. Self-help projects were instituted to clean up the towns and villages, construct roads and sidewalks, dig and maintain wells and irrigation canals, build infirmaries and schools, and stabilize sand dunes. In 1972, the SRC proclaimed the adoption of a Latin script for Somali in 1973, it inaugurated widespread literacy campaigns. The drought that affected large areas of Africa from 1968 to 1973 became severe in Somalia in late 1974, and in November of that year, the SRC declared a state of emergency, set up relief camps, and initiated food rationing.

Controversy arose in 1975 over US charges that the USSR was developing a military installation at the port of Berbera. Somalia denied the charges and invited inspection by journalists and US congressmen, who reported that they had found evidence of Soviet missile-handling facilities there. Somali officials did acknowledge receipt of Soviet military and technical advisers. Meanwhile, Ethiopia claimed that a Soviet-equipped Somalia represented a threat to its security. That same year, Siad Barre extended formal recognition to the Western Somali Liberation Front in the Ogaden. Somali forces took part in the fighting but were defeated in 1977, soon after the USSR had swung its support to Ethiopia. Late in the year, Siad Barre expelled the Soviets. Relations with the United States warmed, and in 1980, in return for military and economic aid (about $80 million in 1982), Siad Barre agreed to allow the US use of air and naval facilities at the northern port of Berbera, facilities that had been built by the USSR, and also at Mogadishu.

A new constitution was ratified in 1979. On 30 December 1979, an unopposed list of 171 candidates was elected to the People's Assembly, which, the following month, elected Siad Barre unanimously to a new term of office. (Unopposed elections were again held on 31 December 1984.) In October 1980, Siad Barre declared a state of emergency and reestablished the SRC, responding to the activities of an Ethiopian-backed opposition movement, the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF). The state of emergency was lifted in March 1982, but at midyear the insurgents, supported by a reported 10,000 Ethiopian troops, invaded Somalia. By December, however, only a small area was in insurgent or Ethiopian hands.

In January 1986, Siad Barre met with Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, Ethiopia's head of state, in Djibouti, in an effort to improve relations between the two countries. Two other meetings of Somali and Ethiopian officials were held in May and August, but no agreement was reached. After Barre's unopposed reelection on 23 December 1986—the first direct presidential election in Somalia�rre appointed a prime minister for the first time, Lt. Gen. Mohamed ɺli Samater, the first vice president and minister of defense. The SSDF had virtually crumbled by the end of 1986, but in 1987 another insurgent group, the Somali National Movement, was conducting operations in the north (the former British Somaliland). In February 1987 relations between Somalia and Ethiopia deteriorated following an Ethiopian attack on six settlements. Growing out of the Soviet shift to the Ethiopian side, American-Somali relations became closer during the administration of US president Ronald Reagan. This included a 10-year agreement providing US forces access to naval and air facilities at Berbera and increasing US military aid to Somalia.

In 1988, both the Ethiopian and Somalian governments, faced by growing internal resistance, pledged to respect their border. By 1990, the Somali regime was losing control. Armed resistance from the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), the Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA), the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM), the Somali National Movement (SNM), the Somali Patriot Movement (SPM), and the United Somali Congress (USC) were turning the Somali territory into a death trap. Government forces were no less ruthless. Each was led by a clan leader or local warlord. Donor nations threatened to cut off aid unless the atrocities were ended.

In March 1990, Barre called for dialogue and, possibly, an end to single-party rule, but he was eventually ousted and, in January 1991, he fled Mogadishu. The USC seized the capital, but fighting continued. The SNM controlled much of the north and declared its territory the independent state of "Somaliland." By December, the USC had split in two. One faction was led by Ali Mahdi Muhammad, the interim president, the other by Gen. Muhammad Farrah Aideed. They were from different subclans of the Hawiye clan. The fighting continued and the warring factions prevented people from planting and harvesting crops. Several hundred thousand people died. Far more were threatened by starvation. Over a half-million fled to Kenya. Contagious disease spread through refugee camps inside the country. The starvation and total breakdown of public services was publicized in the western media. Calls for the UN to intervene mounted. Yet, the food relief that was sent was stolen by soldiers and armed looters. Private relief efforts were frustrated and subject to extortion. Late on 3 December 1992, the UN Security Council passed a resolution to deploy a massive US-led international military intervention (UNITAF-United Task Force) to safeguard relief operations. By the end of December, Aideed and Ali Mahdi had pledged to stop fighting. The UNITAF spread throughout the country. Violence decreased dramatically. But later, gunmen began to appear again.

US forces shifted their mandate toward the UN-Boutros-Ghali position of trying to confiscate arms and "technicals"—vehicles with mounted heavy weapons. Although the problem of relief distribution had largely been solved, there was no central government, few public institutions, and local warlords and their forces became increasingly emboldened.

By early 1993, over 34,000 troops from 24 UN members— 75% from the US—were deployed. Starvation was virtually ended, a modicum of order was restored, and hope had returned. Yet, little was done to achieve a political solution or to disarm the factions. From January 1993 until 27 March, 15 armed factions met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to haggle and finally reach agreement to end hostilities and to form a transitional National Council for a two-year period to serve as the political authority in Somalia.

On 4 May 1993, Operation Restore Hope, as the relief effort was labeled, was declared successful, and US force levels were sharply reduced. Command of relief, disarmament, and reconstruction work was assumed by the UN. This effort, UNOSOM II, featured Pakistani, US, Belgian, Italian, Moroccan, and French troops, commanded by a Turkish general. On 23 June 1993, 23 Pakistani soldiers were killed in an ambush, and the UN Security Council ordered the arrest of those responsible. Gen. Aideed's forces were blamed and a $25,000 bounty was placed on Aideed's head.

Mogadishu became a war zone. In early October 1993, 18 US Army Rangers were killed and 75 were wounded in a firefight.

American public opinion and politicians pressured President Bill Clinton to withdraw US troops. He established a 31 March 1994 deadline and instructed his special envoy, Charles Oakley, to return to Somalia and begin a new diplomatic initiative. Efforts at inclusive UN-sponsored, and then Ethiopian-sponsored, talks failed. Later discussions in Kenya and in Mogadishu reached agreements that teetered on collapse as the factions jockeyed for advantage. By this time, Aideed's forces were called the Somali National Alliance (SNA) and Ali Mahdi led the "Group of Twelve." Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi mediated. After the US pullout, some 19,000 UN troops remained to try to maintain order. A 4 February 1994 Security Council Resolution (897) redefined the UNOSOM II mandate, emphasizing peacemaking and reconstruction. In effect, it was a recognition that the assertive, coercive strategy of the UN had failed and that a more neutral role was necessary.

The United States completed its withdrawal of troops in March 1995, after which Mogadishu again disintegrated into chaos. The last of three major battles was engaged after peace talks between the factions collapsed in November 1996. Some 300 people, many civilians and aid workers, were killed in a month of fighting.

The hope for restored order was rekindled with the death of Gen. Aideed on 1 August 1996. Aideed's rivals declared a cease-fire, although his son and successor, Hussein Muhammad Aideed, vowed revenge and renewed the fight.

Because the factional splits were not based on ideological, religious, or issue differences, but instead were quests for power and riches, there was little hope for the restoration of a central government, and by the year 2000 the country was split into four pieces—Somaliland to the north, Puntland to the northeast, South Mogadishu controlled by Hussein Muhamad Aideed and North Mogadishu dominated by Ali Mahdi. Islamic courts took on the task of establishing law and order.

Despite overtures by Libya to influence the political configuration, clan elders met in neighboring Djibouti, and at the Arta Peace Conference on 26 August 2000 established a three-year Transitional Government (TNG) with Abdiqassim Salad Hassan as president. The purpose of the TNG was to restore stability. However, the TNG controlled only pockets of the capital and country, and by August 2003 the TNG was due to expire.

Meanwhile, on 14 April 2003 citizens in the self-declared republic of Somaliland, went to the polls to elect a president in Somaliland's first multiparty election. After disputing the results, the Kulmiye party's presidential candidate, Ahmad Muhammad Silanyo, said that the intervention of elders and others had persuaded him to accept the outcome, perhaps with promises for a power-sharing deal. Incumbent President Dahir Riyale Kahin of the Unity of Democrats Party (UDUB) was declared the winner by the Somaliland Election Commission (SEC), a decision that later was confirmed by the constitutional court.

By July 2003, more than 350 delegates had gathered for a national conference held in Kenya—Somalia's 14th peace talks in ten years—to vote on a parliament that would elect an interim president, who would then appoint a prime minister. Delegates, who were to elect a president from among more than 30 candidates, broke through a serious impasse by selecting a federal system of government and nominating a 351-member parliament to serve a four-year term. However, Abdiqassim threatened to withdraw from the talks unless various grievances were resolved including complaints that the parliament was too large, that elders alone should elect the president, and that Arabic must not be considered a second language. Further, the proposal to federate the country according to existing jurisdictions was rejected by Abdiqassim because in his opinion it would dismember Somalia into a collection of small states and deepen existing divisions in the country. Indeed, some counterterrorism experts feared that a federal system would encourage warlordism and provide safe havens for international terrorists.

Although there was no deadline for the establishment of the new government, at a minimum it appeared that delegates had approved a successor transitional government to that of Abdiqassim.


The late 19th century had a huge impact on developments occurring in the Horn of Africa. The European powers (Italy, Great Britain and France) first gained a foothold in Somalia when all extant Somali monarchs entered into treaties with one of the colonial powers, Abyssinia, Britain or Italy, except for Dhulbahante & Darawiish sultan Diiriye Guure. [4] These major powers then signed various pacts and agreements with the Somali Sultans that then controlled the region, such as Yusuf Ali Kenadid, Boqor Osman Mahamuud, Ahmed Yusuf and Olol Dinle. [2]

First settlement Edit

At the end of the 19th century, a growing social-political movement developed within Italy to start expanding its influence, since many other European countries had already been doing so, which was effectively leaving Italy behind. Italy also had a huge shortage of capital and other serious economic problems. [5] It is also argued by some historians that Italy had a minor interest in the mutton and livestock that were then plentiful in Somalia, though whatever designs Italy may have had on the resource-challenged Somali landscape were undoubtedly subordinate to its interest in the region's ports and the waters and lands to which they provided access. [6]

Cesare Correnti organized an expedition under the Società Geografica Italiana in 1876. The next year, the travel journal "L’Esploratore" was established by Manfredo Camperio. The "Società di Esplorazioni Commerciali in Africa" was created in 1879, with the Italian Industrial Establishment involved as well. [7] The "Club Africano", which three years later became the "Società Africana D’Italia", was also established in Somalia in 1880. [8]

Majeerteen-Italian treaties Edit

In late 1888, Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid entered into a treaty with the Italians, making his Sultanate of Hobyo an Italian protectorate. His rival Boqor Osman Mahamuud was to sign a similar agreement vis-a-vis his own Majeerteen Sultanate (Majeerteenia) the following year. Both rulers had entered into the protectorate treaties to advance their own expansionist goals, with Sultan Kenadid looking to use Italy's support in his ongoing power struggle with Boqor Osman over the Majeerteen Sultanate, as well as in a separate conflict with the Hiraab Sultanate over an area to the south of Hobyo. In signing the agreements, the rulers also hoped to exploit the rival objectives of the European imperial powers so as to more effectively assure the continued independence of their territories. [9] The Italians, for their part, were interested in the largely arid territory mainly because of its ports, which could grant them access to the strategically important Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden. [10]

The terms of each treaty specified that Italy was to steer clear of any interference in the Sultanates' respective administrations. [11] In return for Italian arms and an annual subsidy, the Sultans conceded to a minimum of oversight and economic concessions. [12] The Italians also agreed to dispatch a few ambassadors to promote both the Sultanates' and their own interests. [9] The new protectorates were thereafter managed by Vincenzo Filonardi through a chartered company. [12] An Anglo-Italian border protocol was later signed on 5 May 1894, followed by an agreement in 1906 between Cavalier Pestalozza and General Swaine acknowledging that Baran fell under the Majeerteen Sultanate's administration. [9]

The last piece of land acquired by Italy in Somalia in order to form Italian Somaliland was the Jubaland region. [10] Britain ceded the territory in 1925 as a reward for the Italians having joined the Allies in World War I. [13] The British retained control of the southern half of the partitioned Jubaland territory, which was later called the Northern Frontier District (NFD). [14]

Italo-Abyssinian campaign Edit

In January 1887 Italian troops from Somalia fought a battle against Ras Alula Engida's militia in Dogali, Eritrea, where they lost 500 troops. The Prime Minister, Agostino Depretis, resigned because of this defeat in July 1887. Francesco Crispi replaced him as Prime Minister. On May 2, 1889, the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik II and Italy signed a peace treaty.

Coastal settlement Edit

Italy gained control of the ports of the Benadir coastal area with the concession of a small strip of land on the coast from the Sultan of Zanzibar, [15] [16] and over the following decades, Italian settlement was encouraged. In 1905, Italy assumed the responsibility of creating a colony in southern Somalia, after several failed attempts, [17] following revelations that the Benadir Company had tolerated or collaborated in the perpetuation of the slave trade. [18] The administrative regulator was Governor Mercantelli, with the six subdivisions of Brava, Merca, Lugh, Itala, Bardera, and Jumbo. [19]

On April 5, 1908, the Italian Parliament enacted a basic law to unite all of the parts of southern Somalia into an area called "Somalia Italiana". The colonial power was then divided between the Parliament, the metropolitan government, and the colonial government. The power of the colonial government was the only power that was changed. The civil governor controlled export rights, regulated the rate of exchange, raised or lowered native taxes, and administered all civil services and matters relating to hunting, fishing, and conservation. [20] The governor was in control of the police force, while nominating local residents and military arrangements. [20]

From 5 April 1908 to 5 May 1936, the Royal Corps of Somali Colonial Troops (Regio corpo truppe coloniali della Somalia Italiana), originally called the "Guard Corps of Benadir", served as the territory's formal military corps. At the start of its establishment, the force had 2,600 Italian officers. [19] Between 1911 and 1912, over 1,000 Somalis from Mogadishu served as combat units along with Eritrean and Italian soldiers in the Italo-Turkish War. [21] Most of the troops stationed never returned home until they were transferred back to Italian Somaliland in preparation for the invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. [22]

Effective Italian control remained largely limited to the coastal areas until the early 1920s. [23] After the collapse of Diiriye Guure's Dervish movement, rebellion and revolt occurred, with disputes arising between different clans in Northern Somalia. The government of the time served as a mediator while maintaining close control over the military. [24]

Colonial development and fascist era Edit

In 1920, a member of the Italian Royal Family, The Duca degli Abruzzi, who was also a famous explorer, would establish the Società Agricola Italo-Somala (SAIS) in order to explore the agricultural potential of the territory. [25] That same year, the Duca founded the Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi ("Villabruzzi" Jowhar) as an agricultural settlement in Italian Somaliland. The area produced sugar, bananas and cotton. [23] On December 5, 1923, Cesare Maria De Vecchi di Val Cismon was named Governor in charge of the new colonial administration.

In November 1920, the Banca d'Italia, the first modern bank in Italian Somaliland, was established in Mogadishu. [26] [27]

After World War I in 1925, Trans-Juba, which was then a part of British East Africa, was ceded to Italy. This concession was purportedly a reward for the Italians having joined the Allies in World War I. [13]

Following an examination of the layout of the land, the Italians began new local infrastructure projects, including the construction of hospitals, farms and schools. [28]

The relationship between the Sultanate of Hobyo and Italy soured when Sultan Kenadid refused the Italians' proposal to allow a British contingent of troops to disembark in his Sultanate so that they might then pursue their battle against the Somali religious and nationalist leader Muhammad Abdullah Hassan's Dervish forces. [29] Viewed as too much of a threat, Sultan Kenadid was eventually exiled to Aden in Yemen and then to Eritrea. His son Ali Yusuf Kenadid succeeded him on the throne. [30] In 1924, Governor Cesare Maria De Vecchi adopted a policy of disarmentation of the northern Somali sultanates. [31] Sultan Ali Yusuf Kenadid was thereafter in turn exiled. [30] By November 1927, the forces of Sultan Osman Mahamuud of the Majeerteen Sultanate were also defeated. [31] The Dubats colonial troops and the Zaptié gendarmerie were extensively used by De Vecchi during these military campaigns. However, unlike the southern territories, the northern sultanates were not subject to direct rule due to the earlier treaties they had signed with the Italians. [32]

In 1926, the agricultural colony of Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi comprised 16 villages, with some 3,000 Somali and 200 Italian inhabitants, and was connected by a 114 km new railway to Mogadishu. Italian colonial policy followed two principles in Italian Somaliland: preservation of the dominant clan and ethnic configurations and respect for Islam as the territory's religion. [33]

In 1928, the Italian authorities built the Mogadishu Cathedral (Cattedrale di Mogadiscio). It was constructed in a Norman Gothic style, based on the Cefalù Cathedral in Cefalù, Sicily. [34] Following its establishment, Crown Prince Umberto II made his first publicized visit to Mogadishu. [35] [36] To commemorate the visit, the Arch of Umberto was constructed. [36] The arch was built at the center of Mogadishu Garden. [37] The Mogadishu International Airport was constructed that same year. The facility was regarded as one of the finest in the region. [38]

In the early 1930s, the new Italian Governors, Guido Corni and Maurizio Rava, started a policy of assimilation of the Somalis. Many Somalis were enrolled in the Italian colonial troops, and thousands of Italian colonists moved to live in Mogadishu. The city grew in size and some small manufacturing companies opened up. The Italians also settled in agricultural areas around the capital, such as Jowhar and Janale (Genale). [23] [39]

In 1930, there were 22,000 Italians living in Italian Somaliland, representing 2% of the territory's population. The majority resided in the capital Mogadishu, with other Italian communities concentrated in Jowhar, Adale (Itala), Janale, Jamame and Kismayo. [40] [41]

In October 1934, Crown Prince Umberto II made his second publicized visit to Italian Somaliland. [35] King Victor Emmanuel III would also travel to the territory, arriving on 3 November that same year, accompanied by Emilio de Bono, after a non-stop flight from Rome. [42] [43] They were welcomed by the Governor Maurizio Rava and other colonial administrators. The King then traveled to Villabruzzi on 5 November [44] who then returned to Mogadishu where he celebrated his 65th birthday on 11 November. [45] Following his visit to Italian Somaliland, new maps and 14 stamps were published. [44] [46] To commemorate his visit, an Arch of Triumph was constructed in Mogadishu in 1934. [47]

Italian East Africa (1936–1941) Edit

By 1935, Mogadishu began to serve as a major naval base and port for the Italians. [48] Then Prime Minister of Italy Benito Mussolini regarded Greater Somalia (La Grande Somalia) as the crown jewel in Italy's colonial empire on the continent. He viewed himself less as an invader than as a liberator of the occupied Somali territories, including the Ogaden region, to which the Ethiopian Empire laid claim. On this basis, he justified his plan to invade Ethiopia. In October 1935, the southern front of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War was launched into Ethiopia from Italian Somaliland. The Italian General Rodolfo Graziani commanded the invasion forces in the south. [49] Over 40,000 Somali troops served in the war, mostly as combat units. They backed up the over 80,000 Italians serving alongside them at the start of the offensive. [50] [51] Many of the Somalis were veterans from serving in Italian Libya. [22] During the invasion of Ethiopia, Mogadishu served as a chief supply base. [52]

In June 1936, after the war ended, Italian Somaliland became part of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana) forming the Somalia Governorate. The new colony of the Italian Empire also included Ethiopia and Eritrea. [53] To commemorate the victory, an Arch of Triumph was constructed in Mogadishu. [54]

From 1936 to 1940, new roads were constructed in the region, such as the "Imperial Road" from Mogadishu to Addis Ababa. New railways (114 km from Mogadishu to Jowhar) and many schools, hospitals, ports and bridges were also built. [55]

Since the start of the colony, many Somali troops fought in the so-called Regio Corpo Truppe Coloniali. The soldiers were enrolled as Dubats, Zaptié and Bande irregolari. During World War II, these troops were regarded as a wing of the Italian Army's Infantry Division, as was the case in Libya and Eritrea. The Zaptié were considered the best: they provided a ceremonial escort for the Italian Viceroy (Governor) as well as the territorial police. There were already more than one thousand such soldiers in 1922. In 1941, in Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia, 2,186 Zaptìé plus an additional 500 recruits under training officially constituted a part of the Carabinieri. They were organised into a battalion commanded by Major Alfredo Serranti that defended Culqualber (Ethiopia) for three months until this military unit was destroyed by the Allies. After heavy fighting, all the Italian Carabinieri, including the Somali troops, received full military honors from the British. [56]

In 1935, there were over 50,000 Italians settlers living in Italian Somaliland, constituting 5% of the territory's population. [41] [57] [58] Of those, 20,000 resided in Mogadishu (Mogadiscio), representing around 40% of the city's 50,000 residents. [57] [59] [60] Mogadishu was an administrative capital of Italian East Africa, and new buildings were erected in the Italian architectural tradition. Other Italian settler communities were concentrated in Jowhar, Adale (Itala), Janale, Jamame, and Kismayo. [61] These figures do not include the more than 220,000 Italian soldiers stationed throughout Italian Somaliland during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War. [62]

The colony was also one of the most developed in Africa in terms of the standard of living of the colonists and of the local inhabitants, mainly in the urban areas. By 1940, the Villaggio Duca degli Abruzzi ("Villabruzzi" Jowhar) had a population of 12,000 people, of whom nearly 3,000 were Italian Somalis, and enjoyed a notable level of development with a small manufacturing area with agricultural industries (sugar mills, etc.). [63]

In the second half of 1940, Italian troops invaded British Somaliland, [64] and ejected the British. The Italians also occupied Kenyan areas bordering Jubaland around the villages of Moyale and Buna. [65] Although the Italian leadership believed were unsure where the British army would land first, Operation Canvas, to capture southern Somalia occurred first in January 1941, whereas the subsequent attempt to capture British Somaliland happened two months later in Operation Appearance. [66] [67]

In the spring of 1941, Britain regained control of British Somaliland and conquered Italian Somaliland with the Ogaden. However, until the summer of 1943, there was an Italian guerrilla war in all the areas of the former Italian East Africa.

British Military Administration (1941–1950) Edit

British forces occupied Italian Somaliland and militarily administered the territory as well as British Somaliland. Faced with growing Italian political pressure inimical to continued British tenure and Somali aspirations for independence, the Somalis and the British came to see each other as allies. The first modern Somali political party, the Somali Youth Club (SYC), was subsequently established in Mogadishu in 1943 it was later renamed the Somali Youth League (SYL). [68] The SYL evolved into the dominant party and had a moderate ideology. Hizbia Digil Mirifle Somali (HDMS) party served as the principal opposition to the right, although its platform was generally in agreement with that of the SYL. [69]

In November 1949, the United Nations finally opted to grant Italy trusteeship of Italian Somaliland, but only under close supervision and on the condition — first proposed by the Somali Youth League (SYL) and other nascent Somali political organizations, such as Hizbia Digil Mirifle Somali (later Hizbia Dastur Mustaqbal Somali, or HDMS) and the Somali National League (SNL), that were then agitating for independence — that Somalia achieve independence within ten years. [70] [71]

Trust Territory of Somalia (1950–1960) Edit

In 1949, when the British military administration ended, Italian Somaliland became a United Nations trusteeship known as the Trust Territory of Somaliland. Under Italian administration, this trust territory lasted ten years, from 1950 to 1960, with legislative elections held in 1956 and 1959.

During the 1950s, with UN funds pouring in and the presence of experienced Italian administrators who had come to see the region as their home, infrastructural and educational development blossomed in the region. School enrollment during this period was free. [72] The decade passed relatively without incident, and was marked by positive growth in virtually all aspects of local life.

The conditional return of Italian administration to southern Somalia gave the new trust territory several unique advantages compared with other African colonies. To the extent that Italy held the territory by UN mandate, the trusteeship provisions gave the Somalis the opportunity to gain experience in political education and self-government. These were advantages that British Somaliland, which was to be incorporated into the new Somali state, did not have. Although in the 1950s British colonial officials attempted, through various development efforts, to make up for past neglect, the protectorate stagnated. The disparity between the two territories in economic development and political experience would cause serious difficulties when it came time to integrate the two parts. [73]

In the 1956 parliamentary election, the Somali Youth League would win 54.29% of votes versus 26.01% for the nearest party, the Hizbia Digil Mirifle Somali. [74] The SYL would also earn 416 of the 663 seats in the 1958 municipal election, with the HDMS securing 175 seats. [75] By the 1959 parliamentary election, SYL would capture an even greater share of votes by winning 75.58% of the total ballot. [74] [76]

Italian was an official language in Italian Somaliland during the Fiduciary Mandate, as well as in the first years of independence. By 1952, the majority of Somalis had some understanding of the language. [77] In 1954, the Italian government established post-secondary institutions of law, economics and social studies in Mogadishu, the territory's capital. These institutions were satellites of the University of Rome, which provided all the instruction material, faculty and administration.

Independence (1960) Edit

On July 1, 1960, the Trust Territory of Somaliland (the former Italian Somaliland) and the former British Somaliland united to form the Somali Republic (Somalia), with Mogadishu as the nation's capital. [3] [78]

A government was formed by Abdullahi Issa and Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal and other members of the trusteeship and protectorate governments, with Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf as President of the Somali National Assembly, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar as President of the Somali Republic, and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke as Prime Minister (later to become President from 1967–1969). On 20 July 1961 and through a popular referendum, the people of Somalia ratified a new constitution, which was first drafted in 1960. [79]

  • 1889-1893 Vincenzo Filonardi
  • 1893-1896 Vacant
  • 1896-1897 Vincenzo Filonardi
  • 1897-1897 Ernesto Dulio
  • 1897-1898 Giorgio Sorrentino
  • 1898-1905 Emilio Dulio
  • 1905-1906 Luigi Mercatelli
  • 1906-1907 Giuseppe Salvago Raggi
  • 1907-1908 Tommaso Carletti
  • 1908-1910 Tommaso Carletti
  • 1910-1916 Giacomo De Martino
  • 1916-1919 Giovanni Cerrina Feroni
  • 1920-1923 Carlo Ricci
  • 1923-1928 Cesare Maria De Vecchi
  • 1928-1931 Guido Corni
  • 1931-1935 Maurizio Rava
  • 1935-1936 Rodolfo Graziani
  • 1936-1937 Angelo De Ruben
  • 1937-1939 Francesco Saveno
  • 1939-1940 Gustavo Pesenti
  • 1940-1941 Carlo De Simone
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Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Milk from camels, goats, and cows is a major food for Somali herdsmen and nomadic families. Young men tending camel herds during the rainy season may drink up to ten quarts of milk a day. Aging camels may be slaughtered for their meat, especially when guests are expected for a celebration, and the fatty camel's hump is considered a delicacy. Meat, including liver, from sheep and goats also is popular, but meat is served only a few times a month, usually on special occasions. Durra (a grain sorghum), honey, dates, rice, and tea are other food staples for nomads. Farmers in southern Somalia grow corn, beans, sorghum, millet, squash, and a few other vegetables and fruits. Boiled millet and rice are staples, but rice must be imported. The most popular bread is muufo, a flat bread made from ground corn flour. Somalis season their food with butter and ghee, the clear liquid skimmed from melted butter. They also sweeten their food with sugar, sorghum, or honey. A holdover from Italian occupation in the south is a love for pasta and marinara sauce. Although fish is plentiful in the waters off the Somali coast, Somalis generally do not like fish. In accordance with the Muslim faith, they do not eat pork or drink alcohol. Milk, tea, coffee, and water are favorite drinks. Carbonated drinks are available in cities.

Among nomads and farmers, cooking is usually done over a wood or charcoal fire outdoors or in a communal cooking hut, because homes are large enough only for sleeping. Grain is ground by hand, using primitive tools.

Restaurants are popular in cities, but women seldom dined out with men until the late 1990s. Arab cuisine is popular fare in many restaurants, Italian at others. Especially in Mogadishu, international restaurants serve Chinese, European, and sometimes American foods.

At home it is customary for women to serve the men first, and then eat with their children after the men have finished. Rural Somalis eat by scooping food from a bowl with the first three fingers of their right hand or with a spoon (as in many other Muslim and African cultures, the left hand is considered unclean because it is used for washing the body). A rolled banana leaf also may be used for scooping. Urban Somalis may use silverware when they dine, but many still enjoy eating with their fingers.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Weddings, births, circumcisions, and Islamic and secular holidays call for celebrations involving food. Families slaughter animals, make bread, and prepare food for guests and for the poor, who are often invited to join the celebration.

Basic Economy. Somalia is one of the world's poorest countries, and many gains made during the years after independence were lost in the destruction brought about by civil war in the 1990s. However, in 2000, individuals had begun to help rebuild cities through independent businesses. Among the factors hindering economic development is lack of adequate transportation. The country has no railroads, only one airline, and few paved roads. Financial assistance from the United States helped improve Somalia's major seaports and Mogadishu International Airport during the 1980s. Telecommunication systems were largely destroyed during the civil war. However, in 1999, independent businessmen in some towns established satellite telephone systems and electricity, and Somali livestock traders and other entrepreneurs conducted much of their business by telephone. Banking networks also were being established.

The basic monetary unit is the Somali shilling, with one hundred cents equal to one shilling. A large amount of the income received by Somalis comes from Somalis who have migrated to other countries to find work and send money and goods home to relatives.

Land Tenure and Property. In precolonial times, land claims were made by families and through bargaining among clan members. During European colonization, Italians established plantations in the riverine area and settled many poor Italian families on the land to raise crops. Since independence much of this land has been farmed by Somalis.

Somali nomads consider pastureland available to all, but if a family digs a water well, it is considered their possession. Under Siad Barre's socialist regime there was an effort to lease privately owned land to government cooperatives, but Somalis resented working land they did not own. Some land was sold in urban areas, but grazing land continued to be shared.

Commercial Activities. In the colonial era Italians developed banana, sugarcane, and citrus fruit plantations in southern Somalia. These again thrived in the late twentieth century with Italian assistance after a decade of decline due to high government taxation of exports in the 1980s. Livestock and animal products make up a large portion of the goods produced in Somalia.

The country's few natural resources, such as gypsum-anhydrite, quartz, uranium, iron ore, and possibly gold, have not been widely exploited.

Major Industries. Although Somalia is not an industrialized nation, there are some industries, such as fish and meat canneries, milk-processing plants, sugar refineries, leather-tanning factories, and pharmaceutical and electronics factories. Many of these were built with the help of foreign nations such as the former Soviet Union. Some mining and petroleum exploration has been done, with the help of Middle Eastern countries.

Trade. Transportation equipment, machinery, cement and other building materials, iron, and steel are major imports of Somalia. Most of the imports come from Italy, Ethiopia and Kenya, China, Saudi Arabia, India and Pakistan, the United States, and Great Britain. Livestock is the country's main export, especially camels, which are sold to Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations. Animal hides also are exported. Bananas are the chief crop export. Coffee, cotton, peanuts, mangoes, citrus fruits, and sugarcane are other important crops. Fishing and the export of frankincense and myrrh add to the economy.

Division of Labor. More than half of all Somalis are self-employed, as herders, farmers, or independent business owners. In the cities, some workers once held government jobs, and in 2000 a growing percentage of workers had factory, plantation, or fishing-industry jobs. Among rural Somalis of the Saab clan-family, lower castes still provide certain types of goods and services.

Early September 2017: These youngsters are having a good time in Mogadishu's Peace Park. All of them are students, all of them express faith in the new government of western-backed President Mohamed. One of them wants to become a civil aviation engineer. He says: "It is much safer here than five years ago." Five years ago al-Shabab ruled the capital. Today the extremists send suicide bombers.

Mogadishu — city of extremes

Somali History from Ancient Times

Editor’s Note: With much of the historical content in this article taken from the attached video “This is Somalia: A Rich Heritage and a Bright Future”, the writer captured at his best to deliver an article whose historical contents deserves worth revisiting by researchers having the desire to learn more about the Somali people and the Horn of Africa at large. As one Somali oral historian put it, “Western writers gave little attention to the mighty history of Somalis and the rest of the African Continent because they were engrossed in the study of the Arabs who were closer to them in terms of color and the succession of the former Axum kingdoms they admired for their inclination to Orthodox Christianity.” As the studies of anthropology, archeology, and paleontology proliferate now and in the future, every new unearthed discovery will have a lot to be desired.

Somalia is a country on the East Coast of Africa and has a horn-like appearance. To Ancient Egyptians, it was known as the Land of the Gods the ancient Persians called it the Land of the Tall Men the ancient Greeks called it the Land of Cinnamon the Romans called it the Land of Fragrance, while the ancient Chinese called it the Land of the Unicorn. It is the world’s largest producer of spices, and to this day, the Catholic Church gets spices from Somalia.

The first place camels, especially the single humped species were raised was in the Somali region that corresponds to 2,500 years before Jesus, Peace Be Upon Him, even though some historians add 1,000 years to get to a total of 3,500 (CE). Before being exported to previous ancient regions such as Egypt and some Arab territories, it is evident that the Somalis were the first to raise camels, and today, half of the world’s camels live on Somali soil. While the dromedary camel is 99% in terms of population, the remaining 1% is reserved for the two-humped Bactrian camels that is predominantly native to a few Central Asian countries especially those that straddled the ancient Silk Trade that diminished after the Age of Discovery (1453-1660 CE).

The number of poems that have been recited by famous Somali poets in praise of their horses are many. Like the most cherished camels, during droughts or scarcity of water, Somali horse breeders fed those select ones with camel milk to overcome dehydration and weight loss. A recent study found that caves were discovered in Somalia using Carbon Dating, estimated to be 5,000 years old for various anthropomorphs in Laas Geel Caves between Hargeisa and the coastal town of Berbera. Successions of rulers in Somalia during the Medieval Age (500-1,500) such as Harlaa, Ifat, Adal, Warsangali, Ajuuraan and the Dervishes era exclusively used these horses that are now wild in the Nugaal Valley.

The Portuguese sailor Vasco da Gama was assassinated by the sultan of Adal. Somalis also pioneered the use of canon rifles that were brought to Africa by the Ottoman Empire to strangle the powerful Ethiopian Christian kingdoms that held sway over the Horn of Africa. The coins used by the Somali rulers of medieval times have been found in Iraq, Dubai and Turkey. In the 13th century, a Somali explorer traveled to Arab countries, India and China. In the 14th century, the Maldives Island was ruled by the Somali Sultan Abdiaziz.

Despite originating in Ethiopia, it was Somali traders who spread Arabica coffee around the world. The Somalis’ use of the Beden or Badhan ship, which was never known in other countries as it was hand-stitched like mats, made it easier for them to prevail over anyone who opposed their commitments. The seventh leading producer in the world and the top in the African Continent, Ethiopian coffee is reputedly the best in the world.

The Ajuuraan dynasty, one of the greatest empires in Africa, founded in the 13th century, finally collapsed in the 17th century. It was succeeded by the smaller Hiraab and Geledi Imamates. The Sultanate of Ajuran, as it is sometimes called, specialized in modern methods of hydrology, extracting and using water to appease hostile nomadic Somali tribes.

Britain was not the first to navigate East and South Africa. During the reign of the vast Monomotapa or Mwenemutapa kingdom that was headed by the Shona tribe of Zimbabwe, it controlled the whole of South Africa. However, Somalis were the first to use the Sofala Port and transport gold from the area. The name Sofala in Somali means “go dig gold.” Qubilaay Qaan (Kublai Khan), the leader of the Tatars or Mongols, twice sent spies to Somalia and was unsuccessful as his men were captured and imprisoned in Mogadishu.

Somalis are reputedly the oldest nation to embrace Islam. The Muslim emigrants who migrated from Makkah fleeing from the ignorant Quraysh, and the first to settle in the Horn of Africa landed on the shores of the Aksum Kingdom. The geographer, philosopher and Greek historian Strabo acknowledges that Somalis were the first to distribute spices to the rest of the world using the Monsoon Winds.

The double Qibla Mosque in Zeila in present day Somaliland, was built 1,400 years ago, making Somalis the first people in Africa to convert to Islam. In 1580, the Ajuuraan Sultans in collaboration with the Ottoman Empire liberated the Swahili people from the brutal, domineering Portuguese rule. In the same century, the Ajuuraan rulers invaded Zanzibar, killing the Omani sultan and freeing thousands of blacks from slavery.

To exaggerate the history of Europe and to believe it without reference to the real history, is unfortunate and outright ignorance. The first maritime movement was made by Portugal in all of Europe, finally finding its way to India. Spain crossed over to the Americas in North and South America or all over the vast masses of the Western Hemisphere. The Netherlands moved to Southeast Asia and had more than 4,000 ships. The late British had 2,000 ships and a small number of others. The European movement began at a time called the Age of Discovery (1418-1957).

Before the 15th century, all Europeans were obsessed with sea travel, ocean mercantilism and slavery. The Warsangali dynasty was established in 1298, and collapsed in 1886. The Adal Sultanate was founded in 1415, and collapsed in 1577. The previous Ifat Sultanate was established at the end of the 13th century (1285–1415) and lasted for 130 years. It was preceded by the Makhsumi Kingdom based in the city of Harla (896–1286). As far as we know, Harla are people of Somali origin who currently live in the Somali region of Ethiopia. In Somali they are known as Xarla and the use of references like proto-Somali by modern researchers doesn’t make any sense at all to the Somalis who know their complete past and present history.

The kingdom of Harla was founded in Eastern Ethiopia and originated in the year 501, and its collapse is unknown, but according to ancient oral Somali historians, they were a blessed people who disbelieved in God. That is what caused them to be punished and buried underground. Before converting to Islam, the Harla people were polytheists, however, the remnants of Harla converted to Islam in the 7th century. Archaeologists have unearthed fossils in 2017.[i] It is believed that Harla collapsed 500 years after its emergence.

Figure 1. The ruins of a 12-century mosque in Harlaa, eastern Ethiopia. Credit: Timothy Insoll, University of Exeter

The experts who made the Harla excavations, presented the Harla artifacts from Madagascar, the Maldives, China and Yemen, Egypt and India. A mosque similar to the one found in Tanzania dating back to the 12th century has also been excavated in Harla. If the living Harla of today speak a language other than Somali, it may be due to their small numbers that forced them to merge with larger populations. Today, Harla, near Harar, has 82 mosques and 102 visited cemeteries, according to UNESCO.

The city of Harlaa was nicknamed by the locals the “City of the Giants” because the stones they used to build the houses or walls they left behind, were so big and heavy that people of today cannot lift them. However, excavations and research are still underway and what is to come from the new discoveries, could be heart wrenching. The Harlaa people specialized in the art of gold, such as beads for girls, etc. The Coptic school of thought, which originated in Egypt arrived in the Kingdom of Axum in 333. Islam came to be 367 years later.

In the 15th century, Somali sailors discovered a port in Yemen that became more valuable later. The first Sri Lankan settlement, known as Beruwala, was started by a Somali explorer. Ethiopian coffee was exported through the port of Berbera, and was led by Somali businessmen. So, let the world know that the best coffee sipped in the Western Hemisphere was first delivered by Somalis to the world.

The closest language to Somali is that of the Rendille, a tribe known to Somalis as “ReerDiid”, meaning those who rejected them and took a different path during the great migration from Egypt after an encompassing political crisis around 2,600 BC forced uncountable majority of the human race to navigate the Nile River southwards to the Horn of Africa and other destinations. While Somalis say Qorrax to refer to the sun, to the ReerDiid, it is ‘Qoor Raac’. Because the ancient Egyptians as well as the ancient Greeks found it difficult to pronounce the consonant ‘C’ or ‘Cayn’ as in Somali and Arabic, the sun they worshiped was known as Amon Ra in Hieroglyphics which is, in fact, a Somali name. Thus, it would have been a portmanteau of ‘Hamuun’ and ‘Raac’ that translates to ‘the one who is observant of us’. The word Gowrac, in the ReerDiid or Rendille language, is ‘Goy Raac’ which means ‘we slaughter for the one who follows the neck with us’. The place where the disbelieving Rendille buried or burned their dead was Korondile, which in fact, is Qur’an Dile (Qur’an killer). Unknown to a few Somalis, the Rendille have two religious holidays, pray five times a day in a Mosque, and still believe they are part and parcel of Somalis.

The stick called Hangool, is Han (ambition) and Gool (lioness) and it is finely Somali as well. The ancient Pharaohs used to carry Hangool as they had Han or ambition like the lioness that was protective of its cubs. A male lion in the language of Hieroglyphics was known as ‘Aar’, just like in the Somali language. On the same length, like in ancient Egyptians Hieroglyphics, ‘hees’ means a song while male organs is ‘Qoora’. The historic maritime navigation of Queen Hatshepsut to the ‘Land of Punt’ or the ‘Land of Gods’ has a deeper meaning. It is not Punt it could have been ‘Buun’, meaning the sea shell Somalis use as a trumpet during celebrations or to create awareness in the cases of dangers or something else. If it would have been a single syllabic Bun instead of Buun, it would imply coffee which had not been discovered during that era. The goatee beards worn by the ancient Egyptian pharaohs could have been copied from the Land of Gods.[ii] The logic behind the goatee is that the male goat is responsible for leading the rest of the herd and that he is the Commander-in-Chief. Those who deny that Somalis preceded European civilization deserve to dig into the true history of Somalis.

[i] Sci-News, Staff (2019). Archaeologists Unearth Ancient, Forgotten City in Eastern Ethiopia. Retrieved from
[ii] Montet, P. (19640. Eternal Egypt, P. 23.

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What Is The History Behind Minnesota’s Somali-American Community?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) &ndash Recent political attacks have shined a spotlight on Minnesota’s immigrant communities.

Our state has the country’s largest Somali-American population &ndash 69,000 people. That’s about 40% of everyone reporting Somali ancestry in the United States and more than four times the Somali-American population of the next largest state, Ohio.

So why have so many Somali-Americans chosen Minnesota? Good Question.

“There’s a special story to be told about Minnesota,” says Ahmed Samatar, the founding dean of the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College.

Dr. Samatar arrived in the U.S. in 1974 as a student at the University of Wisconsin. It was years before the 1991 civil war that forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave Somalia over the next few decades.

“Somalis &ndash everyone, they have to flee,” he says. “Whoever will take them in, they have to flee.”

Some stayed in Somalia but were internally displaced. Others went to refugee camps in neighboring countries. Many were sent to other countries all over the world. Tens of thousands would eventually come to the United States as refugees. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, 13,582 Somali refugees came to Minnesota between 2005 and 2018.

When a refugee arrives in the U.S., the State Department works with private, local volunteer resettlement agencies to determine where they’ll live. Many of those decisions are based on employment opportunities, proximity to family and support from local agencies. In the early 1990s, Somali refugees were sent all over the country.

“Of course, when some came, they will tell others about the good news of Minnesota,” says Dr. Samatar. “I call that the call of kinship.”

Dr. Samatar thinks there are a variety of reasons for what are called “secondary arrivals,” but there are a few that stand out.

The first is the support from local, volunteer resettlement agencies that work with governments to help refugees find housing, schooling and jobs. Minnesota’s agencies, including Lutheran Social Services, Arrive Ministries, International Institute of Minnesota and Minnesota Council of Churches, have a long history of successful refugee resettlements.

Dr. Samatar also cited Minnesota’s strong economy, which gave Somali-Americans job opportunities (many in western Minnesota), schooling options, health care and a safe place to live.

“And the state of Minnesota has always been considered a kind and successful place,” he said.

When a refugee arrives in the United States, most come with very little to their name. They are given a one-time federal grant of $1,175, help from the resettlement agencies and, for the first five years, federal money for things like housing, school or finding employment. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, federal money for about 10,000 refugees totaled $4M in 2018.

10 Facts about the economy and people of Somalia

21. Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world.

22. In the year 2000, residents in Somalia have been working to rebuild the cities from the destruction created during the Civil War.

23. The United States provided Somalia financial assistance, which helped improve the seaports and Mogadishu International Airport.

24. Many of the industries in Somalia were built with the help of foreign nationals.

25. The only industries that exist in Somalia are fish and meat canneries, mild processing plants, leather tanning factories, and electrical and pharmaceutical factories.

26. More than half of the residents of Somalia are self-employed. They are farmers, herders, and independent business owners.

27. Traditionally, Small clans in Somalia have men and older boys do the important work, such as tending camels and cattle. Girls and young boys tend to the sheep and goats.

28. Many men were killed during the Civil War or due to diseases, such as tuberculosis. This left it up to the women to fend for themselves.

29. Women in Somalia have shown a remarkable adaptability and talent for business. Many international organizations have helped them with their education and job training.

30. When people in Somali get married, there is not just a bond between the man and his wife, but also between the clans and the families.

Somalia - History

Since 1991, clan warfare has besieged Somalia. Over the years, numerous efforts have been made to bring stability to Somalia. However, despite policies such as the Djibouti Peace Process of 2000, violence has continued unabated. [1] Today, Somalia hosts over 16,000 refugees,16,000 asylum seekers, and more than 2.6 million internally displaced persons. [2]

The Republic of Somalia is located in the Horn of Africa. It shares a border with Ethiopia, Djibouti, and Kenya, and touches the Gulf of Aden to the North and the Indian Ocean to the East. Mogadishu, the capital city, is in the southeastern part of the country, along the coast of the Indian Ocean.
In 1991, after the collapse of the Siyad Barre regime, [3] northern clans declared an independent Republic of Somaliland in the northwestern area of Somalia. Although not recognized by any government, Somaliland has remained stable, and leaders continue to try to establish a constitutional democracy. [4]
Puntland is a self-declared, self-governing autonomous state in the northeastern area of Somalia. There have been efforts to create a legitimate, representative government, but this has not been without civil strife. [5] There are border disputes between Puntland and neighboring Somaliland.

In 1991, the Somali government was overthrown by opposing clans. The clans failed to agree on a replacement for the national leader and Somalia plunged into turmoil, clan warfare, and lawlessness. Power struggles between clan warlords resulted in thousands of people being displaced, wounded, and killed.

In August 2000, clan elders and other lead figures appointed Abdulkassim Salat Hassan as president and set up a transitional government at a conference in Djibouti. [6] The goal was to reconcile warring militias, but, as its mandate drew to a close, the Somali administration had made little progress.

A two-year peace process, led by the Government of Kenya, ended in October 2004. During the talks, the main warlords and politicians signed an agreement to set up a new parliament. They elected Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia, and formed an interim government, known as the Somalia Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs). The TFIs were created based on the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC), which suggested the government follow a five-year mandate leading to the establishment of a new Somali constitution and a transition to a representative government following national elections. [7] The new administration was Somalia’s fourteenth attempt since 1991 to establish a central government. [8]

The transitional government’s authority was further compromised in 2006 by the rise of militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts. These militias gained control of much of the south, including Mogadishu, after they forcibly removed the clan warlords that had ruled for the past fifteen years.
In September of 2006, the transitional government and the Union of Islamic Courts began peace talks in Khartoum, Sudan. [9]

With the backing of Ethiopian troops, forces loyal to the interim administration seized control of Mogadishu from the Islamists at the end of 2006. Islamists abandoned their last stronghold in January 2007, and President Abdullahi Yusuf was able to enter Mogadishu for the first time since taking office in 2004.

In February-March of 2007, Islamist insurgents fought back against the government and Ethiopian forces, regaining control of most of southern Somalia by late 2008.[10]
Ethiopia withdrew its troops by January 2009. As this happened, fighters from the Islamist radical militia group al-Shabaab took control of the town of Baidoa, formerly a key stronghold of the transitional government.

In late January 2009, Somalia’s parliament met in Djibouti to swear in 149 new members from the main opposition movement, Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia. The Parliament elected a moderate Islamist, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, president, and extended the transitional government’s mandate until 2011.[11] While not completely in control, the government continues to help build capacity to work toward national elections. In February, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke became prime minister.[12] A former diplomat, he is seen as a bridge between Islamists within the Somali government and the international community.

In May 2009, the government was set back again when Islamist insurgents launched an attack on Mogadishu.[13] President Ahmed declared a state of emergency and appealed for help from abroad. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Ethiopia would intervene in Somalia with arms and support provided by the United States if the situation imposed a national security threat to his country.

African Union Presence in Somalia

On October 21, 2010, the African Union (AU) appealed to the United Nations for an air and naval blockade of Somalia.[14] The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security insisted that such an action was necessary to curb the flow of weapons to Islamist militants in the region, and also called for a total of 20,000 AU peacekeepers to be deployed to Somalia, up from the current deployment of 8,000 peacekeepers.

In 2011, the UN declared famine in three regions of Somalia.[15] Al-Shabab allowed the UN to deliver aid to Mogadishu for the first time in five years. The militants pulled out of Mogadishu later that year for “tactical reasons.” [16]

Somalia swore in its first formal parliament in over 20 years at the Mogadishu airport in August 2012. In September, MPs elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud president in the first presidential election since 1967. Al-Shabab lost critical strongholds in Baidoa, Afgoye, Merca, and Kismayo that year.[17]

Al-Shabab fighters disengage and lay down arms

Violence by Islamist militants increased between 2013 and 2015. In 2013, Al-Shabab carried out attacks on Somalia’s presidential palace and a UN compound in Mogadishu.[18] The militants carried out attacks on Kenyan civilians in retribution for Kenya’s military involvement in Somalia. Over 120 Kenyans were killed between 2013 and 2014. In 2015, Al-Shabab claimed responsibility for killing 148 Kenyan students at Garissa University College. [19]

In 2017, the parliament elected former prime minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as president. [20] While militants still pose a substantial threat to Somalia’s security, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, in 2017, that conditions were in place for Somalia to become a success story. [21] Nearly 50,000 Somali refugees returned from Kenya, but extreme drought displaced over 615,000 people since November 2016.[22]
In October of 2017, at least 300 people were killed in a double car bombing in Mogadishu after the United States conducted two unmanned drone airstrikes targeting ISIS militants in northeastern Somalia.

In December 2018, the U.S. State Department announced that the US re-established a permanent diplomatic presence in Somalia. [35]

In 2019 there were a series of attacks against Somali civilians. In July, a suicide bomb attack killed at least 6 people and injured 6 others, including mayor Abdirahman Omar Osman who died from his injuries in August. In December, at least 79 people were killed and 149 were injured after a car bomb exploded on the outskirts of Mogadishu. [35]

Somali insurgents, the transitional government’s armed forces, and intervening Ethiopian troops have destroyed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians throughout the country, particularly in Mogadishu, with bombings and crimes against humanity. These violations include indiscriminate attacks, killings, rape, use of civilians as human shields, and looting. More than one million people have been displaced, and aid agencies report that some 5.7 million people in Somalia are food insecure. [23] Attacks on aid workers severely limit relief operations and contribute to a humanitarian crisis.

A malnourished Somali child in an MSF treatment tent in Dolo Ado

The humanitarian crisis is due to ongoing conflict, violence, and more frequent drought. The humanitarian crisis is explicitly linked to climate change, among other factors. Human Rights Watch declared that 2.1 million Somalis face food insecurity, many of them internally displaced children. Many Somalis who are displaced face serious abuse, sexual violence, forced evictions, and limited access to basic needs. Al-Shabab continues to prohibit many nongovernmental organizations and all UN agencies from working in areas under its control. [36]

All Somali parties of the conflict have committed serious abuses against children. Women and girls who are internally displaced remain at risk of sexual and gender-based violence by armed men and civilians. The UN has documented over 100 incidents of sexual violence against girls. Other abuse against children include killings, maiming, and the recruitment and use of child soldiers. In 2018, the UN documented more cases of children being recruited as child soldiers in Somalia than in any other country in the world. In 2019, Al-Shabab continued an aggressive child recruitment campaign against communities that refused to hand over their children. The Somali federal authorities unlawfully detained these children for their alleged ties to Al-Shabab.

Blackhawk Down Rangers in Somalia

In 1992, U.S. Marines landed near Mogadishu ahead of a U.N. peacekeeping force sent to restore order and safeguard relief supplies. Somali militias shot down two U.S. helicopters. Eighteen U.S. Army Rangers were killed, beheaded, and their bodies were paraded through the streets. [24] The battle that ensued between U.S. forces and Somali militias killed hundreds of Somalis. This tragedy, known in the US as ‘Blackhawk Down,’ refers to the name of the helicopters used by the Marines. The loss of the U.S. soldiers resulted in then-President Clinton being exhorted to refrain from subsequent involvement in African affairs. To a large extent, Blackhawk Down’s legacy influenced the US to refrain from intervention of any sort during the genocide in Rwanda two years later. [25]

Following the arrival of the U.S. Marines, a two-year U.N. humanitarian effort attempted to relieve famine conditions in the country. The U.N. mission withdrew shortly thereafter, having suffered significant casualties.

In December 2006, a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsed African peacekeepers. Islamist leaders reacted by saying that they would view foreign forces as invaders. The African Union and Arab League urged Ethiopia to pull out its troops, but failed, and a joint Ethiopian and Somali government force captured Mogadishu.

Beginning in February 2007, the U.N. Security Council authorized a six-month African Union peacekeeping mission for Somalia. The previous U.N. force had withdrawn in 2005. [26]

In October 2007, Ethiopian forces fired on demonstrators in Mogadishu protesting at the presence of what they called foreign invaders. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that he would keep troops inside Somalia until “jihadists” were defeated. [27] In June 2008, the government signed a three-month ceasefire pact with opposition Alliance for Re-Liberation of Somalia. The deal, which said that Ethiopian troops would leave Somalia within 120 days, was rejected by Islamist leader Hassan Dahir Aweys, who said that the Union of Islamic Courts would not stop fighting until all foreign troops left the country. [28] In December Ethiopia announced plans to withdraw all forces by end of 2008, which was completed by January 2009. However, Ethiopian troops returned to the central town of Guriel in 2011. [29]

The US carried out air strikes in southern Somalia in 2007, targeting suspected Al-Qaeda members. Though the strikes were supported and defended by President Yusuf, they ultimately ended up killing innocent civilians. [30]

In 2011, Kenyan troops entered Somalia. [31] The United States began flying drones from a base in Ethiopia. The next year, Al-Shabab lost their hold on all major cities. Baidoa, Afgoye, Merca, and Kismayo were recaptured by Kenyan, African Union, and Somali government forces. [32]

After increased attacks on Kenyan civilians, the US killed Al-Shabab’s leader, Ahmed Abdi Godane, in a drone strike in 2014. [33]

Many efforts have been put forth to help Somalia and its people. In February of 2020, the International Monetary Fund announced that they secured pledges to allow the Fund to provide comprehensive debt relief to Somalia, hoping to bring the country closer to reducing its total debt. The World Bank also announced that it is working towards normalizing relations with the government of Somalia after 30 years, giving the country access to development in future investments. [35]

In January of 2019, Somalia became a member of the UN Human Rights Council and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Somalia also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and produced its first report for the Committee on the Rights of the Child. [36] Somalia and the US had been the only two countries in the world that had not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child as of this writing in 2020, the US is now the only holdout.

Overall, the Somalia conflict has involved a number of different international organizations, such as the UN, the AU, and the EU. Multiple countries have also taken part in the conflict or in seeking its resolution, including the United States, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Italy, among others. Despite the attempts at resolution, however, the violence continues. With so many factions and interests involved, and such a long history of turmoil, finding a solution to the conflict remains a complex and complicated process.

Watch the video: Σομαλία: Νεκροί και τραυματίες από επίθεση σε σημείο ελέγχου (August 2022).