War in Somalia from 1987 to 1995 (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Struggle between clan leaders for political power in Somalia. Result: Withdrawal of United Nations multinational peacekeeping force; ongoing civil war in Somalia.
Somalia is a nation made up of a fiercely independent people, whose political structure consists of several clans and subclans participating in a capricious system of alliances. In 1960, Somalia gained its independence from Britain and Italy, and its new government was immediately faced with the difficult task of establishing national unity. In 1969, upon the assassination of President Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke, the military took control of the government, and Major General Muhhamad Siad Barre became president. Barre brought a measure of stability to the government, and he enjoyed the support of his people for most of his regime. Embracing scientific socialism, along with Soviet military and economic support, Barre continually sought to diminish clan power. He was never successful in doing so, partly because he relied on his own Ogaden clan for political backing. After losing the Ogaden War against Ethiopia in 1978, Barre’s popularity began to wane, and members of the Somali National Movement (SNM) began raiding Barre’s forces from Ethiopia after a failed military coup. In March, 1988, a pact between Barre and Ethiopian president Mengistu Haile Mariam drove SNM forces from their base camps in Ethiopia, and civil war...
(The entire section is 1086 words.)
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