Somalia is a country that borders Ethiopia on the East coast of Africa, and like Ethiopia fell victim to famine that was largely due to civil war. For further information concerning the Ethiopian/Somalian conflict please read the summary of Ethiopia. Another similarity shared by the two countries (besides the fact that both suffered from famine) is that both countries were ruled by rather ruthless dictators who assisted in heightening the famine. President Sian Barre was that such ruler in Somalia. In 1988 many people in the North began to express their extreme dislike of Barre through protests and Barre responded with very violent force. This move infuriated the people even more and by 1991 Barre was forced to leave Mogadishu. Members of many different clans tried to claim the power of the presidency, but during this time Barre was still trying to regain his power. Civil war had broken out and everyone had guns, and unfortunately it wasn't just the people fighting who were victims. This crisis continued, causing much destruction, in a word, there was anarchy. One of the things destroyed that had the most affect on the people was food production, and while there were assistance programs set up to help those who needed food, most foreign agencies were forced to leave because of the extent of the violence.
At this point the United Nations stepped in with a peace keeping effort called UNOSOM which did not work at all. In November of 1992 President George Bush of the United States offered to send in troops who could hopefully be able to get food to the Somalis, this mission was called "Operation Restore Hope". The problem with this intervention is that instead of just going into Somalia to feed the starving people, the United States got involved with the politics of the matter and this is now viewed as a mistake by many. This new political outlook was prompted by the killing of 25 UNOSOM workers by people who supported on of the war lords, Mohammed Farah Aideed. Aideed in general caused problems for American troops and the government and was successful in pulling the United States away from it's original goal for being in Somalia. United States involvement came to a close shortly after Oct. 3, 1993
when 18 American soldiers were killed while fighting.
UN efforts did help Somali's a great deal however thousands still died from a famine that may not have been so severe had the government not provoked such animosity. What is often times forgotten is the fact that usually the people who die in battles such as the one in Somalia, are civilians, ordinary people who are only trying to lead a decent life.