Somalia is a country located in the Horn of Africa and is known for its weak military and defense. The Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF) is the military branch of the country and consists of three branches: Army, Air Force, and Special Forces. The total active personnel stands at around 10,000 with an additional reserve force of around 5,000 personnel. Somalia has a lower defense budget compared to its GDP as it spends about 0.5% of its GDP on defense. The country also imports weapons from countries such as Russia, China, and Iran. Somalia also has strong ties with other countries in the region such as Ethiopia and Kenya which allows them to cooperate militarily when needed. However due to ongoing civil conflict within Somalia, its military strength remains weak and is unable to secure stability within the region effectively. See naturegnosis to learn more about the country of Somalia.
Various clans are supported by militarily organized forces. There are eight registered organizations with up to 10,000 armed militia, whose equipment is of varying and often very low standards. The UN peacekeeping efforts were interrupted in 1995. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that SOM stands for Somalia.
Following clashes between the various factions of USC, President Mahdi fled Mogadishu in November 1991. The capital was under General Mohamed Farah Aidid’s control. He led USC’s military branch. The two rival factions of USC consisted of members from various subdivisions of the hawiye clan, led by Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi, respectively.
Since the start of fighting between the warring factions, 300,000 Somali children have died and 1.5 million have fled the country, equivalent to a quarter of the population.
During a cessation of fighting, on March 9, 100,000 women and children conducted a peaceful demonstration in the capital. Nine tribal leaders from the Hiraan region met to discuss how peace could be created in the country. It was the first meeting of “ugas” (the traditional authority) for more than 100 years.
After two years of civil war and total anarchy, the country in 1993 remained without central government. In some areas, the people respected the traditional authority of the elders in the clans, yet the absence of a central leadership in the country could not put the power in the hands of military leaders and heavily armed gangs.
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The former British colony Somaliland declared itself independent from the rest of the country in May 1992. The new state has largely not been characterized by clan conflicts, but on the other hand has not been recognized internationally. As the area’s economy came into crisis and the central power disappeared, the population was predominantly living by fishing and exporting cattle. However, along the 1,660 km coast, only 5% of the population continued fishing. This was due to the lack of fuel and spare parts for the boats. At the same time, exports of cattle were stopped. This region has not received humanitarian aid, despite making up 30% of the country and has received 1 million refugees from the war zones in the south and Mogadishu.
Following pressure from the United States in December 1992, the United Nations approved the sending of a “peacekeeping” force of 28,000 men to the country, with a view to securing food supplies and disarming the armed groups and factions. It was the first time in the history of the World Organization that it decided to intervene militarily in the internal affairs of a Member State.
In March 1993, following the UN peace talks in Adis Ababa, military commanders, senior council members and prominent citizens decided to form a provisional government. Acc. the agreement was to form a National Transitional Council, which would be the supreme authority of the country until, within a two-year period, a national government could be formed. However, no date was set for the creation of the Transitional Council.
The clashes between Mohamed Aidid and the US-led forces in the country quickly came to an end. Throughout the year, the capital remained under the control of supporters of Farah Aidid, but the increasingly tense situation cost the fallen on both sides.
As the US perceived him as an obstacle to peace in the country, the superpower deployed its elite corps of Rangers to track down and capture Farah Aidid, but it failed. Other countries participating in the “peace-making mission” quickly decided to withdraw their troops from the country.
In March 1994, Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi signed a ceasefire agreement in Nairobi and the implementation of a reconciliation conference in May. It had to elect a new president and a new government. The foreign troops were withdrawn from the country on the 31st of the same month, leaving only a small force under UN leadership. Although regional conflicts continued, the civil war did not proliferate and economic activity appeared to re-emerge.
The country was still divided and the Republic of Somaliland continued its activities in 1995 despite lack of international recognition. In the rest of the country, the fighting group around the Alliance for Somalia’s Salvation (ASS) was led by Ali Mahdi Mohamed, and the ASN led by Farah Aidid. Both declared themselves the country’s rightful government. Farah Aidid died in August 1996 and was succeeded by her son Hussein. Farah’s old right-hand man, Osman Hassan Ali (“Ato”) emerged as a new strong man, but now allied with Ali Mahdi.