THE COLLAPSE OF THE COUNTRY
In 1991, the country Somalia declared a state of emergency. The regime lost control of the countryside in the northwest, northeast regions, and the area surrounding Muqdisho. After weeks of fighting in January 1991, Said Barre’s regime collapsed. In May 1991 a state declared its independence as Somaliland without the legal consent of the rest of Somalia. In the south, Ali Mahdi was named, President of the Manifesto group. Omar Arte Ghalib was appointed Prime Minister of the interim government, but some parties rejected the government. With the government gone, all the weapons fell in the hands of various clan factions.
THE CIVIL WAR
Things changed dramatically into a bitter tribal war between the persecuted Majeerten and the USC of the Hawiye tribes. It became clear that USC was after the Alienation of all of the Darod clan (the Majeerten clan of the opposition and the former ruling clan the Marehann). With a lot of hatred for the ever-powerful Majeerten and the Iron fist of Marehann dictatorship, all the minority tribes were swallowed into the USC or their fate became like the Darod.
In July 1991, after three months of war, with thousands dead, and majority of them Darod, there was a reconciliation conference held in Djibouti. There, Ali Mahdi Mohamed was nominated as interim president of Somalia for two years. General Mohamed Farah Aidid the leader of USC and the mastermind behind the “Darod Alienation Plot,” refused to recognize the new president even though he was a fellow Hawiye.
Now the long a waited split of USC took place. The biggest tribes of Hawiye the “Abgal” of Mr. Mahdi and the “Habr Digr” of Aideed took war on each other inside Muqdisho. This led to four months of fighting in the capital. Thousands died and destruction of properties was massive.
The civilian side and the military side of the Bush senior’s Administration agreed that the only way to help get food to Somalia was with use of the US military. With the urging of the UN, President Bush senior intervened to end the famine in Somalia. In November 1992, US airlift was authorized by President George Bush senior to assist in food distribution in the collapsed Republic of Somalia. The US offered 30,000 troops to control the deteriorating conditions in the country. Though the aid workers in Somalia felt it was unnecessary, the UN Secretary-General welcomed the offer because the need for the troops would be great in a crisis situation. Some viewed the US offer was motivated by the emergence of Al-Itihad Al-Islam party. This party was gaining popularity around other parts of the country. After the (albeit brief) convergence of US and UN interest, 20,000 US marines were ordered out. By December 1992, they arrived at the beaches of Muqdisho and were greeted by hundred photographers from around the world. Under the mission called “Operation Restore Hope,” the US Marines were to over-see the distribution of food to desperate Somalis and provide security of relief services. The deployment of Unified Task Force (UNITAF) landed in Muqdisho. The UN wanted the role of UNITAF to also include complete disarmament of factions and bandits. The UNITAF forces carried out seizure of weapons and the US claimed that the military restored security allowing free movement of aid throughout Somalia. In a matter of week the US marines opened up truck routes and warehouses and delivering food to the starving Somalis. There was, still, violence continuing around the country, particularly in the city of Kismayo. While this was taking place the UNITAF force shrank from 38,000 to 24,000 in one month as the US prepared to transfer full command to the UN. Meanwhile, negotiations between fifteen leading clans took place in Ethiopia on March 1993. In late march the parties came to an agreement upon a seventy four member Transitional National Council as the supreme authority over Somalia. With three representatives for the eighteen regions, the council was committed to a ninety day ceasefire while the UN force would administer the cease-fire. It was after the departure of the US marines that a cooperative coalition government was formed, with all the rival militia leaders working together. Almost all the militiamen were ready to cooperate except the most powerful of them of all, Mohammed Farah Aideed who had the desire of ruling Somalia. Aidid did not want to work with people that he felt he already defeated.
Aidid started to attack UN peacekeepers and he was not afraid of using starvation as a weapon against his enemy; his militia seized the food shipment.
I.M, Lewis. "Somalia." Africa South of the Sahara 2002. 31. 2002.
Committee six conflict resolution and reconciliation, "Somalia National Reconciliation Conference ."March 2003.
Fogarassy, Helen. Mission Improbable: The world community on a un compound in Somalia. cumnor Hill, England: Lexington Books Ny, 1999.