The war in Somalia. Pirates of the sea nekeisha
Material posted: Valetskiy OlegPublication date: 05-06-2013

In our age of speed and electronics of the sea suddenly appeared a strange threat to navigation. Maneuverable small boats began to seize large ocean liners and demanding a ransom for their release. There is a sustainable concept of Somali pirates. But how much do we know about the state of Somalia?

The article Oleg Valetsky is dedicated to the history of Somalia and was released for the first time in 30 issue of the journal "Men's work" in 2009.


The state of Somalia originated in 1960 through the merger of the former colonies, one British and Italian Somalia, it's inhabited by an ethnic group, speaking Somali language (Cushitic family of languages, it nenevestnaja group), which has incorporated many Arabic words. Related languages are Oromo and afar.

As for the Oromo language says more than twenty million people living in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, and in the language of the afar people - more than half a million people from Djibouti and Eritrea, together with fifteen million Somalis who settled in the territory of the three countries, this group dominates in the whole of North-East Africa.

Outside their home country, Somalis are concentrated in the region of Ogaden is part of Ethiopia, Djibouti and Northern Kenya. They live in large clans-clans. It is not surprising that the Somali authorities from the very beginning declared its goal of establishing control over all territories inhabited by countrymen.



In the upsurge of the national movement in 1969 in Somalia, came to power, Mohammed Siad Barre, supported by the Soviet Union.

This country another ten years before the signing in 1974 of the Treaty of friendship and cooperation between the USSR and Somalia began receiving significant military aid. Soviet leaders believed Emperor Haile Selassie I his enemy, and therefore supported not only Somalia, but also the insurgency in Eritrea was annexed by Ethiopia in 1962. When Barre organized a rebellion in the Somali populated Ogaden, Ethiopia passed for angloegyptian Pact of 1948,the Soviet Union fully supported him with a single only 1976 more than one hundred million dollars for the army of Somalia, which was equipped exclusively with Soviet weapons. Up to two thousand Soviet military advisers at that time was in its departments. The Soviet Navy had its own supply point at the port of Berbera, which represented in fact a naval base in the Indian ocean. Over three thousand Somali troops trained in the Soviet Union.

Their military trainers in Somalia and sent a friendly Cuba.

In 1976, Ethiopia went to the rapprochement with the Soviet Union. In April 1977 in a military coup to power in Addis Ababa came Lieutenant-Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, who in the course of mass repression suppressed the opposition and proclaimed the beginning of socialist construction in Ethiopia.

As a result of this policy, diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and a number of leading world powers - the U.S., Germany, Britain and Egypt - were interrupted at the initiative of the Ethiopia. The Union immediately sent a number of modern weapons, up to 48 fighters, 300 tanks, hundreds of artillery guns and mortars.

Meanwhile, Barr decided to take advantage of the political instability in Ethiopia and in July 1974, launched an attack on its territory. Somali troops quickly captured most of the Ogaden except for the cities of Harar and dire Dawa.

In September of the same year Barre visited Moscow, where he had expressed strong dissatisfaction. The decision had ripened quickly, and, returning to Mogadishu through Egypt, he enlisted the support of Egyptian President Anwar-Sadat and his allied Arab Gulf States, joined by Pakistan, Iran and Sudan.

USA in opposition to Soviet Union supported the Barre and Sadat, however, to supply weapons did not, suggesting official Riyadh and Tehran not to do so until Somalia will conduct an aggressive foreign policy.

In November 1977, Barre broke the friendship Treaty with the USSR and expelled from the country of military experts and Soviet citizens were forced to evacuate from Berbera large landing ship, with the participation of a battalion of Marines, which to protect them landed along with armored vehicles on the shore.

In August of the same year in Ethiopia arrived several hundred Soviet specialists headed by chief military adviser, the Deputy commander of the VDV, Lieutenant-General Chaplygin. They were accompanied by a contingent of Cuban army equipped with tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and aircraft. Fidel Castro called those soldiers "volunteers arrived to protect the Ethiopian revolution from American imperialism". They added "volunteers" from South Yemen, Mozambique, Angola and military advisers from the German democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Israel and North Korea. 24 Nov died the first Soviet citizen - the major V. Sokolov, a military expert at the head of the special brigade of the Ethiopian army.

At the same time to implement the command of the operation in Ethiopia has arrived operative group of the General staff of the Soviet army headed by first Deputy commander of land forces General Vladimir Petrov.

In January 1978, the forces of Ethiopia and Cuba under the leadership of the Soviet military advisers, successfully defended Harar, where the enemy 22 Jan almost got them surrounded, counterattacked and defeated the Somali troops first under Harar (23-27 January), and then under dire Dawa (2-4 February). Finally they broke in early March in the battle of Jijiga. The remnants of the army retreated, and March 15, Barre announced that Somali troops left Ethiopia.

However, the continued guerrilla warfare of the liberation Front of Western Somalia in the Ogaden against Ethiopian and Cuban troops. The fighting did not stop and in Eritrea, where the dominant Muslim majority were dissatisfied with the efforts of the government, traditionally hostile to "Christian" Ethiopia.

The forces of the National front for the liberation of Eritrea has received strong military support from Arab countries, so here, the Ethiopian army suffered a series of defeats, including the battle of Afabet in March 1988, which killed and were captured about 18 thousand Ethiopian soldiers, including three Soviet citizens.

The Soviet Union in 1989 brought advisers from the ranks of the Ethiopian army and reduced military aid, soon his example was followed by Cuba. In the country civil war began, and in 1991 Mengistu Haile Mariam was overthrown, fled to Zimbabwe, and Eritrea gained independence.

Somalia by the end of 1980-ies was in a deep economic crisis. To solve financial problems, Barre gave large concessions to oil companies Canoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips in the search for and development of oil fields.

In 1986, the clans on the North of the country revolted against the Barre quickly grew into a guerrilla war. In 1988, Barre signed a peace Treaty with Ethiopia to end the internal resistance. But his plans were never realized, because in January 1991, he was overthrown by opposition forces clans, United in the organization "United Somali Congres". This organization later divided into two groups, the first of which was headed by Mohammed Ali Mahdi, and the second General Mohammed Farah Aideed. The leaders of the factions in the Western media have called warlords (warlords).

The country was plunged into sectarian strife. The truce, signed in June 1991, was immediately violated. Group "Somali National Movement", representing the interests of the clans from the territory of the former British Somalia, in June 1991 declared independent region of Somaliland.

In September 1991 in Mogadishu fighting broke out between the factions of General Aideed and Ali Mahdi proclaimed himself President of Somalia. The system of government collapsed, the humanitarian aid coming through the United Nations, was looted by the militants. In the country the famine intensified, and by the summer of 1992 the number of deaths from starvation and the fighting has exceeded three hundred thousand people.



In January 1992 the UN Security Council adopted a resolution banning the import of arms to Somalia. The new resolution of the same year marked the beginning of the UN peacekeeping mission in Somalia - UNASOM (United Nation Operation in Somalia), later known as the first. She totaled three and a half thousand soldiers, civilians, seven hundred and fifty military observers.

14 September in Mogadishu began landing the first military contingent of the UN - the Pakistani battalion of peacekeepers to secure the airport. The presence of Pakistanis has caused sharp discontent as General Aideed and Ali Mahdi. On 28 October General demanded from them within 48 hours to leave Somalia. At the same time his militants began shelling the airport. 13 Nov erupted a real battle against the forces of Aideed. At the same time Ali Mahdi ordered the attack ships with humanitarian aid, the UN, standing at the port. In the end the first mission of peacekeepers has failed.

After the events in Mogadishu, the UN Security Council suspended the activities of the peacekeeping mission. Then, the United States organized a coalition of several States and made the transfer of his military commanders the authority to ensure the delivery and distribution of humanitarian aid in Somalia by any means.

So began operation "Restore hope" (Recovery of hope), during which 9 Dec 1992 in Mogadishu began landing by sea and air contingent of the UN peacekeeping forces, led the forces of the 15th expeditionary marine division and the 10th mountain division of the US army, set to the 16 December full control over the territories around the ports and airfields. In the framework of the new mission of peacekeeping forces were involved in the 37 thousand people who took control of up to 40 per cent of Somalia, mostly in the South and in the center.

Under US pressure, 15 March 1993 have been initiated peace talks in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), during which groups in Somalia agreed to a cease-fire.

The U.S. Central command, meanwhile, is beginning a new operation "Continue hope" (hope), consisting in the supply and maintenance of the mission UNASOM-2.

However, the main obstacle was at the time the largest armed group, the so - called militia of General Aidid, relying on his powerful clan swag-Gidir. General by the time did not want to share power and enlisted the support of several leaders of the Islamic fundamentalist organizations, primarily Osama bin Laden, which turned out to be militants in Somalia.

Aideed only formally signed the armistice, however, on 5 June his militia attacked Pakistani peacekeepers were killed 24 people, and over their bodies abused. The UN Security Council demanded the arrest and trial of those responsible for the violence against the peacekeepers.

12 Jul American attack helicopters AH-1 Cobra struck at the house, where, according to intelligence, was to be held the meeting of General Aidid with the representatives of his clan. The attack killed 73 people.

In addition, American special forces conducted five raids for the search and arrest of members of Aideed's militia. A sixth goal was the capture of the headquarters of General Aidid in the center of Mogadishu. The RAID turned into a bloody battle.

Only operations on 3-4 October 1993, the Americans lost 18 people dead and 73 wounded, one pilot was captured (and later exchanged). The militia of General Aidid lost five hundred killed. As a result, the U.S. Secretary of defense Les Aspin resigned, and the President of the USA bill Clinton gave orders to his military to leave Somalia.

An important role in this story and played the propaganda of human rights organizations. Although the country was dominated by anarchy, and in the year perished in battles

and from attacks by a few thousand people, and even more died from hunger, human rights defenders of the African mission of the organization Human rights watch sent a spearhead of his allegations against UN peacekeeping troops. When in March 1995 UNITAF forces from Somalia were fully withdrawn, and the country was plunged into even greater anarchy, the interest of the defenders to the events in her waned.

With the departure of UN peacekeepers civil war in Somalia broke out with renewed vigor. 17 Sep 1995, General Aidid began an offensive in South-East Somalia, after capturing the town of Hudur, Baidoa and then. The local government is ran, but 13, Jaffa was created the Lord's Resistance Army (Rahanweyn Resistance Army) led by Colonel Hassan Mohamed Nur Shatigadud began military operations against Aideed's troops.

After the death of Aideed, who was killed in Mogadishu in June 1996, his work was succeeded by the son, but Shatigadud refused to negotiate.

In 1998, a part of Somalia, bordering Somaliland and are at the forefront of the horn of Africa, also declared its autonomy as the Puntland state.


In 2004, the Somali coast was under a tsunami strikes, and then it started pouring rain. The country is caught up in the chaos, began to seek salvation in the traditional values of Islam.

Islam in Somalia is deeply rooted, intertwined with national traditions. And, since no political movement without financial support is not possible, then arriving in Somalia Arab preachers just as national-tribal" character and saw the main obstacle to selecting the main means of combating the Islamic courts that existed at mosques.

After the fall of the government, the courts, taking control of the system of education and health, has created its own law enforcement system with armed groups. In the end, the Organization was set up Islamic courts (Islamic Courts Union). In controlled areas it has established a very strict procedure: women were forced to wear veils, closed down movie theaters, football was forbidden and the use of Hata, the local drug-containing powder that has sparked protests. But the Organization has become a leading force in the country.

After the tragedy of 11 September 2001 in new York, the US administration banned all financial transactions of the organization El Barakat, which has been the main operator to transfer money to Somalia, and thus the local business people were totally dependent on the Arab countries.

The only opponent of the Organization of Islamic courts became the Transitional Federal government (Transition Federal Government) of Somalia, established in 2004 in Mombasa (Kenya) and consisting of Somali warlords who are forced to unite against a common threat.

The main unifying force in this case was made by the Americans, aware of the danger posed by Islamic fundamentalists. They made the warlords, who were in fact bandits, join a organization with a rather eloquent title: "Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter Terrorism" (Alliance for the restoration of peace and counter-terrorism).

In 2004, under pressure from the United States at the conference of the African Union endorsed the establishment of the Transitional government of Somalia and decided on sending for his support of the contingent of African peacekeepers.

However, this anti-terrorist operation went on with difficulty. Getting high in government posts, the warlords actually did not want to merge their forces under the command of. In may 2006, by the Organization of Islamic courts began volume shipments from Eritrea cargo with small arms, antitank weapons and antiaircraft guns. Fighting broke out in Mogadishu, which killed several hundred people, and on 5 June the city was taken. After that, the fundamentalists went on the offensive, taking the commanders most of their heavy weapons.

In Mogadishu on July 27, 2006, representatives of the armies and intelligence services of Eritrea, Egypt and Libya. Was organized transfer of volunteers from Pakistan and militants of the Oromo from Ethiopia.

Amazingly, under the control of the us-British troops, the Iraqi government in mid-2006, not only sent to Somalia a cargo of weapons, but also sent to their instructors. Also joined Saudi Arabia and Syria, who took on Somali militants training. With the help of foreign military advisers has been training militants in Balade, North of Mogadishu.

The organization of the Islamic courts, although it was directly tied to al Qaeda, including received support from Lebanese Hezbollah. And in turn during the Israeli operation in Lebanon in 2006, the Somali fundamentalist Hezbollah has sent a large detachment of its fighters.

Islamic Courts Union and supported rebels in the Ogaden, using Somali nationalism to spread its influence in Ethiopia and Kenya. Over four thousand volunteers from Kenya joined the ranks of the organization of Islamic ships, taking a monthly fee in the amount of $ 400.

With such a wide military aid to the fundamentalists from the Islamic countries of the warlords were defeated one after the other.

Since August 15, 2006 was taken by the port Harder, which was the base of pirates and the August 25, opened the port of Mogadishu closed for years before that.

In the end, the only place where they could keep warlords, became Baidoa, which was a contingent of Ethiopian troops. 4 Dec 2006 the city was surrounded, and on December 12 the Organization the Islamic courts have issued an ultimatum to the beleaguered field commanders.

In February 2007 in Somalia started placement of peacekeeping forces of the African Union - AMISOM. Although their number was planned in eight thousand people, but only Uganda and Burundi sent to Somalia according the infantry battalion.

In the fighting took an active part, and the US air force.

The leadership of the Organization of Islamic courts in January decided to start a guerrilla war, in which an important role was played by the extremist movement al-Shabaab. It was founded in 2004 and by 2006 numbered almost three thousand fighters, playing an important role in the battle for Mogadishu. The head of this movement Adan Hashi ayro is a participant in the war in Afghanistan on the side of the Taliban, there was held training camp for al-Qaeda. The organization of the Islamic courts often distanciruemsa from Jihad al-Shabaab, officially recognized as a terrorist organization.

To stabilize the political situation in Somalia, UN assistance is not enough, and the support of the countries of the Islamic world, ultimately serves the interests of the Organization of Islamic courts. So, for example, UAE is the largest investor in the centers of mobile phone companies are Somali Telecom Association, Dubai), however, provide financial assistance to Islamic fundamentalists.

The countries of the Islamic world are quite in sync, and we can safely assume that with the fall of the Transitional government, the same destiny can expect and other governments of neighboring African countries.

However, in the ranks of the Islamic courts rifts caused by the fact that Sharif Ahmed agreed to participate in the election of the President of Somalia, and 31 January 2009 was replaced by Abdullah Yusuf Ahmed, who has been President for five years. However, once in power, he did not stop the war. One of the leaders of al-Qaeda Abu Yahya al - Libi called for a Jihad against new President of Somalia.

In June 2009 the fighting army Somalia militants al - Shabaab, the government has lost control over the strategically important town of Jowhar. In late June, the militants have already entered into Mogadishu, and the Parliament speaker Sheikh Ahmed Nur Mohamed was forced to ask for help from neighboring African countries.



As concerns Maritime piracy, it is a derivative of this war: seizure of ships ply as the militants of the Organization of Islamic courts, and units of local warlords, is only formally subordinate to the Transitional government.

It is obvious that the Transitional government of Somalia is unable to eliminate piracy, but it is also clear that the peacekeeping troops of the African Union, the problem will not solve.

The ship "Faina with 33 T-72 tanks on Board were without any protection, including no protection "buried" by the Ukrainian government's own Navy, whose ships were sold by the same company that sold the tanks. Lermontov wrote: "All this would be funny if it were not so sad", because the tanks were held captive 17 sailors from Ukraine, three from Russia sailors and one sailor from Latvia. But this sad story suggests that with the expansion of the war in the horn of Africa, the navigable area will be under a big threat. The terrorists of al-Shabaab is unlikely to abandon the seizure of ships, especially if they will be able to expand its influence in Puntland and Somaliland, coming to the shores of the Gulf of Aden. And this will interest modern politicians have much more than the war in Somalia itself.

Therefore, the problem can be addressed by either the armed forces of a "civilized" state (the services of their Navy already offered in Canada) or some kind of private military company, for which it will pay the money. However, with the expansion of the scale of the conflict in Somalia forces private military company, or of the naval force of one country may not be enough.

In all probability some kind of contract there have been able to get us private military company

"Blackwater", because there is evidence of the appearance of its employees on American ships passing by the Somali coast. There is also evidence that "Blackwater" had planned to use the Croats to fight against Somali pirates. There is evidence and that other American company - triple Canopy" - also talks about getting a contract in Somalia.

By and large the process that occurs in this country, natural. The demolition of the colonial system of European States was deprived of the whole of Africa, the only reliable security system, and the Soviet Union and the United States only shook the balance of power in Africa against the background of a frantic arms race.

The heirs of the Soviet leadership in Moscow has no desire to intervene in new adventures on the African continent. However, the United States now make a turn, reducing funds for Iraq and redirecting them partially in Africa.

With regard to the African Union, its peacekeeping forces, a total strength of 3,500 servicemen from Uganda and Burundi, mainly to protect themselves and deployed in Mogadishu.

In the case that the Arab countries will begin a massive armed Islamic guerrillas in Somalia, Ethiopian troops can be defeated, and American troops can not get from the new administration permission for a military intervention. Because in addition to the Kenyan ancestry of President of the United States, there is a strong argument - many members of his administration are closely associated with the Arab oil lobby.

So, probably, Somalia and the entire North-East Africa are waiting for the sad times of new wars that could spread across the continent.


Source: LL, No. 30/ 2009

Tags: assessment , tactics , Special Forces