The Ogaden War was a Somali military offensive between July 1977 and March 1978 over the disputed Ethiopian region of Ogaden, which began with the Somali invasion of Ethiopia. The Soviet Union disapproved of the invasion and ceased its support of Somalia, instead starting to support Ethiopia; the United States, conversely, ceased its support of Ethiopia and started supporting Somalia. Ethiopia was saved from a major defeat and a permanent loss of territory through a massive airlift of military supplies (worth $7 billion), the arrival of 16,000 Cuban troops, 1,500 Soviet advisors and two brigades from South Yemen, also airlifted to reinforce Harar. The Ethiopians prevailed at Harar, Dire Dawa and Jijiga, and began to push the Somalis systematically out of the Ogaden. By March 1978, the Ethiopians had captured almost all of the Ogaden, prompting the defeated Somalis to give up their claim to the region. A third of the initial Somali National Army invasion force was killed, and half of the Somali Airforce destroyed; the war left Somalia with a disorganized and demoralized army and an angry population. All of these conditions led to a revolt in the army which eventually spiraled into a civil war and Somalia's current situation.
Following World War II, Britain retained control of both British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland as protectorates. In 1950, as a result of the Paris Peace Treaties, the United Nations granted Italy trusteeship of Italian Somaliland, but only under close supervision and on the condition—first proposed by the Somali Youth League (SYL) and other nascent Somali political organizations, such as Hizbia Digil Mirifle Somali (HDMS) and the Somali National League (SNL)—that Somalia achieve independence within ten years. British Somaliland remained a protectorate of Britain until 1960.
In 1948, under pressure from their World War II allies and to the dismay of the Somalis, the British returned the Haud (an important Somali grazing area that was presumably 'protected' by British treaties with the Somalis in 1884 and 1886) and the Ogaden to Ethiopia, based on a treaty they signed in 1897 in which the British, French and Italians agreed upon the territorial boundaries of Ethiopia with the Ethiopian Emperor Menelik in exchange for his help against raids by hostile clans. Britain included the provision that the Somali residents would retain their autonomy, but Ethiopia immediately claimed sovereignty over the area. This prompted an unsuccessful bid by Britain in 1956 to buy back the Somali lands it had turned over. Britain also granted administration of the almost exclusively Somali-inhabited Northern Frontier District (NFD) to Kenyan nationalists despite an informal plebiscite demonstrating the overwhelming desire of the region's population to join the newly formed Somali Republic.
A referendum was held in neighboring Djibouti (then known as French Somaliland) in 1958, on the eve of Somalia's independence in 1960, to decide whether or not to join the Somali Republic or to remain with France. The referendum turned out in favour of a continued association with France, largely due to a combined yes vote by the sizable Afar ethnic group and resident Europeans. There was also widespread vote rigging, with the French expelling thousands of Somalis before the referendum reached the polls. The majority of those who voted no were Somalis who were strongly in favour of joining a united Somalia, as had been proposed by Mahmoud Harbi, Vice President of the Government Council. Harbi was killed in a plane crash two years later. Djibouti finally gained its independence from France in 1977, and Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had campaigned for a yes vote in the referendum of 1958, eventually wound up as Djibouti's first president (1977–1991).
British Somaliland became independent on 26 June 1960 as the State of Somaliland, and the Trust Territory of Somalia (the former Italian Somaliland) followed suit five days later. On July 1, 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic. A government was formed by Abdullahi Issa and other members of the trusteeship and protectorate governments, with Haji Bashir Ismail Yusuf as President of the Somali National Assembly, Aden Abdullah Osman Daar as President of the Somali Republic and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke as Prime Minister (later to become President from 1967–1969). On 20 July 1961, through a popular referendum, the people of Somalia ratified a new constitution that had been first drafted the previous year.
On 15 October 1969, while paying a visit to the northern town of Las Anod, Somalia's then President Shermarke was shot dead by one of his own bodyguards. His assassination was quickly followed by a military coup d'état on 21 October 1969 (the day after his funeral), in which the Somali Army seized power without encountering armed opposition—essentially a bloodless takeover. The coup was spearheaded by Major General Mohamed Siad Barre, who at the time commanded the army.
Alongside Barre, the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) that assumed power after President Sharmarke's assassination was led by Lieutenant Colonel Salaad Gabeyre Kediye and Chief of Police Jama Korshel. Kediye officially held the title of "Father of the Revolution," and Barre shortly afterwards became the head of the SRC. The SRC subsequently renamed the country the Somali Democratic Republic, dissolved the parliament and the Supreme Court, and suspended the constitution.
In addition to previous Soviet funding and arms support to Somalia, Egypt sent millions of dollars in arms to Somalia, established military training and sent experts to Somalia in support of Egypt's longstanding policy of securing the Nile River flow by destabilising Ethiopia.
As Somalia gained military strength, Ethiopia grew weaker. In September 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie had been overthrown by the Derg (the military council), marking a period of turmoil. The Derg quickly fell into internal conflict to determine who would have primacy. Meanwhile, various anti-Derg as well as separatist movements began throughout the country. The regional balance of power now favoured Somalia.
One of the separatist groups seeking to take advantage of the chaos was the pro-Somalia Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) operating in the Somali-inhabited Ogaden area, which by late 1975 had struck numerous government outposts. From 1976 to 1977, Somalia supplied arms and other aid to the WSLF.
A sign that order had been restored among the Derg was the announcement of Mengistu Haile Mariam as head of state on February 11, 1977. However, the country remained in chaos as the military attempted to suppress its civilian opponents in a period known as the Red Terror (or Qey Shibir in Amharic). Despite the violence, the Soviet Union, which had been closely observing developments, came to believe that Ethiopia was developing into a genuine Marxist–Leninist state and that it was in Soviet interests to aid the new regime. They thus secretly approached Mengistu with offers of aid that he accepted. Ethiopia closed the U.S. military mission and the communications centre in April 1977.
In June 1977, Mengistu accused Somalia of infiltrating SNA soldiers into the Somali area to fight alongside the WSLF. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, Barre strongly denied this, saying SNA "volunteers" were being allowed to help the WSLF.
The Somali National Army committed to invade the Ogaden at 03:00 on July 13, 1977 (5 Hamle, 1969), according to Ethiopian documents (some other sources state 23 July). According to Ethiopian sources, the invaders numbered 70,000 troops, 40 fighter planes, 250 tanks, 350 APCs, and 600 artillery, which would have meant practically the whole Somali Army. By the end of the month 60% of the Ogaden had been taken by the SNA-WSLF force, including Gode, on the Shabelle River. The attacking forces did suffer some early setbacks; Ethiopian defenders at Dire Dawa and Jijiga inflicted heavy casualties on assaulting forces. The Ethiopian Air Force (EAF) also began to establish air superiority using its Northrop F-5s, despite being initially outnumbered by Somali MiG-21s. However, Somalia was easily overpowering Ethiopian military hardware and technology capability. Army-general Vasily Petrov of the Soviet Armed Forces had to report back to Moscow the "sorry state" of the Ethiopian Army. The 3rd and 4th Ethiopian Infantry Divisions that suffered the brunt of the Somali invasion had practically ceased to exist.
The USSR, finding itself supplying both sides of a war, attempted to mediate a ceasefire. When their efforts failed, the Soviets abandoned Somalia. All aid to Siad Barre's regime was halted, while arms shipments to Ethiopia were increased. Soviet military aid (second in magnitude only to the October 1973 gigantic resupplying of Syrian forces during the Yom Kippur War) and advisors flooded into the country along with around 15,000 Cuban combat troops. Other communist countries offered assistance: the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen offered military assistance and North Korea helped train a "People's Militia"; East Germany likewise offered training, engineering and support troops. (As the scale of communist assistance became clear in November 1977, Somalia broke diplomatic relations with the USSR and expelled all Soviet citizens from the country.)
Not all communist states sided with Ethiopia. Because of the Sino-Soviet rivalry, China supported Somalia diplomatically and with token military aid. Romania under Nicolae Ceauşescu had a habit of breaking with Soviet policies and maintained good diplomatic relations with Siad Barre.
By 17 August elements of the Somali Army had reached the outskirts of the strategic city of Dire Dawa. Not only was the country's second largest military airbase located here, as well as Ethiopia's crossroads into the Ogaden, but Ethiopia's rail lifeline to the Red Sea ran through this city, and if the Somalis held Dire Dawa, Ethiopia would be unable to export its crops or bring in equipment needed to continue the fight. Gebre Tareke estimates the Somalis advanced with two motorized brigades, one tank battalion and one BM battery upon the city; against them were the Ethiopian Second Militia Division, the 201 Nebelbal battalion, 781 battalion of the 78th Brigade, the 4th Mechanized Company, and a tank platoon possessing two tanks. The fighting was vicious as both sides knew what the stakes were, but after two days, despite that the Somalis had gained possession of the airport at one point, the Ethiopians had repulsed the assault, forcing the Somalis to withdraw. Henceforth, Dire Dawa was never at risk of attack.
The greatest single victory of the SNA-WSLF was a second assault on Jijiga in mid-September (the Battle of Jijiga), in which the demoralized Ethiopian troops withdrew from the town. The local defenders were no match for the assaulting Somalis and the Ethiopian military was forced to withdraw past the strategic strongpoint of the Marda Pass, halfway between Jijiga and Harar. By September Ethiopia was forced to admit that it controlled only about 10% of the Ogaden and that the Ethiopian defenders had been pushed back into the non-Somali areas of Harerge, Bale, and Sidamo. However, the Somalis were unable to press their advantage because of the high attrition on its tank battalions, constant Ethiopian air attacks on their supply lines, and the onset of the rainy season which made the dirt roads unusable. During that time, the Ethiopian government managed to raise and train a giant militia force 100,000 strong and integrated it into the regular fighting force. Also, since the Ethiopian army was a client of U.S weapons, hasty acclimatization to the new Warsaw Pact bloc weaponry took place.
From October 1977 until January 1978, the SNA-WSLF forces attempted to capture Harar during the Battle of Harar, where 40,000 Ethiopians had regrouped and re-armed with Soviet-supplied artillery and armor; backed by 1500 Soviet "advisors" and 11,000 Cuban soldiers, they engaged the attackers in vicious fighting. Though the Somali forces reached the city outskirts by November, they were too exhausted to take the city and eventually had to withdraw to await the Ethiopian counterattack.
The expected Ethiopian-Cuban attack occurred in early February; however, it was accompanied by a second attack that the Somalis did not expect. A column of Ethiopian and Cuban troops crossed northeast into the highlands between Jijiga and the border with Somalia, bypassing the SNA-WSLF force defending the Marda Pass. Mil Mi-6 helicopters airlifted Cuban BMD-1 and ASU-57 armored vehicles behind enemy lines. The Somali defense collapsed and every major Somali towns were recaptured in the following weeks. Recognizing that his position was untenable, Siad Barre ordered the SNA to retreat back into Somalia on 9 March 1978, although Rene LaFort claims that the Somalis, having foreseen the inevitable, had already withdrawn their heavy weapons. The last significant Somali unit left Ethiopia on 15 March 1978, marking the end of the war.
Following the withdrawal of the SNA, the WSLF continued their insurgency. By May 1980, the rebels, with the assistance of a small number of SNA soldiers who continued to help the guerrilla war, controlled a substantial region of the Ogaden. However, by 1981 the insurgents were reduced to sporadic hit-and-run attacks and were finally defeated. In addition, the WSLF and SALF were significantly weakened after the Ogaden War. The former was practically defunct by the late 1980s, with its splinter group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) operating from headquarters in Kuwait. Even though elements of the ONLF would later manage to slip back into the Ogaden, their actions had little impact.
For the Barre regime, the invasion was perhaps the greatest strategic blunder since independence, and it weakened the military. Almost one-third of the regular SNA soldiers, three-eighths of the armored units and half of the Somali Air Force (SAF) were lost. The weakness of the Barre administration led it to effectively abandon the dream of a unified Greater Somalia. The failure of the war aggravated discontent with the Barre regime; the first organized opposition group, the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), was formed by army officers in 1979.
The United States adopted Somalia as a Cold War ally from the late 1970s to 1988 in exchange for use of Somali bases, and a way to exert influence upon the region. A second armed clash in 1988 was resolved when the two countries agreed to withdraw their militaries from the border.
Abdirizak Mohamud Abubakar was born in 1937 and Died in 1997 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was one of the first Somali teachers in Galkayo School along with his uncle Abdullah Abubakar. Abdirizak Mohamud Abubakar educated many Somali students in both Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland in 1950s.Abdullah Mohamed Fadil
Abdullah Mohamed Fadil (Somali: Cabdallah Maxamed Fadhil, Arabic: عبد الله محمد فاضل; died January 1991), also known as Abdalla Mohamed Fadil, was a prominent Somali military figure.Abdullahi Ahmed Irro
Abdullahi Ahmed Irro (Somali: Cabdullaahi Axmed Cirro, Arabic: عبد الله أحمد إرو), also known as Abdullahi Ahmad Yousef Irro, was a prominent Somali military professor and General. He helped establish the National Academy for Strategy.Battle of Harar
The Battle of Harar was a battle of the Ogaden War. The battle took place in October 1977, and was fought near Harar, Ethiopia. The Soviet advisers and Cuban soldiers took part in the supporting role during the battle. Though the Somali forces reached the city outskirts by November, they were too exhausted to take the city and eventually had to withdraw to await the Ethiopian counterattack which would eventually take place in February 1978.Battle of Jijiga
The Battle of Jijiga was a series of battles that was part of the Ogaden War. The battles were fought in Jijiga, Ethiopia and were the largest battles of the conflict.Ethiopia–Russia relations
Ethiopia–Russia relations (Russian: Российско-эфиопские отношения) is the relationship between the two countries, Ethiopia and Russia. Both countries established diplomatic relations on April 21, 1943. Russia currently has an embassy in Addis Ababa, and Ethiopia has an embassy in Moscow. The Ethiopian ambassador to Russia is also accredited to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.Ferfer
Fer-fer is a town in the Ethiopian Somali Regional State, on the border with the Somalian Hiran region (Beledweyne District). The town straddles the disputed 1950's-era Provisional Administrative Line (as depicted on virtually all worldwide maps, atlases, and geographic websites) that separates the Ogaden region of Ethiopia from Somalia, and has a latitude and longitude of 05°05′N 45°08′E with an elevation of 230 meters above sea level.
During the first three months of 1964, heavy fighting took place between Ethiopia and Somalia at several border points in the Ogaden, one of which was Ferfer. Ferfer was among the locations within Ethiopia that were still under Somali control after Somalia's defeat in the Ogaden War of 1977/78.The Ethiopian army maintains an important base in Ferfer. In June 2008, the border town was briefly seized by the Somali al-Shabaab.Jijiga (woreda)
Jijiga (Somali: Jigjiga) is one of the woredas in the Somali Region of Ethiopia. Part of the Jijiga Zone, Jijiga is bordered on the south by Kebri Beyah, on the southwest by Gursum, on the southeast by Ajersagora, on the north by the Shinile Zone, and on the northeast by Awbere. Towns and cities in Jijiga include Jijiga.
The average elevation in this woreda is 1803 meters above sea level. The only perennial rivers in this woreda are the Fafen and the Jerer. As of 2008, Jijiga has 80 kilometers of asphalt road and 60 kilometers of all-weather gravel road; about 34.1% of the total population has access to drinking water.
The Karamara hills to the west of the city of Jijiga were thoroughly mined during the Ogaden War, and there are still dangerous areas which have been marked off limits.Prior to the 2004 October referendum, which established the disputed boundary between the Oromia and Somali Regions, a large section in the north of this woreda became the Chinaksen woreda, which was transferred to the Oromia Region.Military history of Cuba
The Military history of Cuba begins with the island's conquest by the Spanish and its battles afterward to gain its independence. Since the Communist takeover by Fidel Castro in 1959, Cuba has been involved with many major conflicts of the Cold War in Africa and Latin America where it had supported Marxist governments and rebels from liberation movements who were opposed to their colonial masters and/or allies of the United States.Military history of Djibouti
The military history of Djibouti encompasses the major conflicts involving the historic empires and sultanates in the territory of present-day Djibouti, through to modern times. It also covers the martial traditions and hardware employed by Djiboutian armies and their opponents.
In antiquity, the territory was part of the Land of Punt. The Djibouti area, along with other localities in the Horn region, was later the seat of the medieval Adal and Ifat Sultanates. In the late 19th century, the colony of French Somaliland was established following treaties signed by the ruling Issa Somali and Afar Sultans with the French. It was subsequently renamed to the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas in 1967. A decade later, the Djiboutian people voted for independence, officially marking the establishment of the Republic of Djibouti.Military history of Ethiopia
The military history of Ethiopia dates back to the foundation of early Ethiopian Kingdoms in 980 BC. Ethiopia has been involved many of the major conflicts in the horn of Africa, and was the only native African nation which remained independent after the Scramble for Africa, managing to create a modern army. 19th and 20th century Ethiopian Military history is characterized by conflicts between Ethiopia and Italy, which repeatedly attempted to annex the mineral rich nation, and unite its East African holdings.Mohammad Ali Samatar
Mohamed Ali Samatar (Somali: Maxamed Cali Samatar; 1 January 1931 – 19 August 2016), also known as Ali Samatar was a Somali politician and lieutenant general. A senior member of the Supreme Revolutionary Council, he also served as the Prime Minister of Somalia from 1 February 1987 to 3 September 1990.Omar Haji Massale
Omar haji Masale was a commander of the Somali military in the Hiiraan Region, which is located in Central Somalia. Before he joined the military, he was a language teacher. He also became a Somali Minister of Defence and health minister.
Masale was one of the commanding officers of the 1977 Ogaden War. Masale was the second deputy to the joint chiefs of staff and the head of the 2dn armored division (formerly 2nd Brigade).Serbia–Somalia relations
Somalia–Serbia relations are foreign relations between Somalia and Serbia. Both countries maintain diplomatic relations established between Somalia and SFR Yugoslavia, following Somali independence from Italy in the 1960s.
Yugoslavia formerly had an embassy in Mogadishu, and there is archived correspondence between the Yugoslav embassies in Mogadishu and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1975, regarding the relations between the Soviet Union, Ethiopia, and Somalia; a situation that became the Ogaden War shortly afterwards, in 1977.In early 2015, Serbia appointed its first ambassador to Somalia, Ivan Zivkovic (who was also ambassador to Kenya) since the Breakup of Yugoslavia and the Somali Civil War, both of which began in 1991. Zivkovic met with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in February, and received a warm welcome from the Somali government. Both parties announced plans for cooperation in the areas of development and vocational training for Somalia's youth, as well as agriculture, science, and health sectors.Shenyang J-6
The Shenyang J-6 (Chinese: 歼-6; designated F-6 for export versions; NATO reporting name: Farmer) is the Chinese-built version of the Soviet MiG-19 'Farmer' fighter aircraft.Siad Barre
Jaalle Mohamed Siad Barre (Somali: Jaale Maxamed Siyaad Barre; Arabic: محمد سياد بري; October 6, 1919 – January 2, 1995) was a Somali politician who served as the President of the Somali Democratic Republic from 1969 to 1991.
Barre, a major general of the gendarmerie, became President of Somalia after the 1969 coup d'état that overthrew the Somali Republic following the assassination of President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke. The Supreme Revolutionary Council military junta under Barre reconstituted Somalia as a one-party Marxist–Leninist communist state, renaming the country the Somali Democratic Republic and adopting scientific socialism, with support from the Soviet Union. Barre's early rule was characterised by widespread modernization, nationalization of banks and industry, promotion of cooperative farms, a new writing system for the Somali language, and anti-tribalism. The Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party became Somalia's vanguard party in 1976, and Barre started the Ogaden War against Ethiopia on a platform of Somali nationalism and pan-Somalism.
Barre's popularity was highest during the seven months between September 1977 and March 1978 when Barre captured virtually the entirety of the Somali region. It declined from the late-1970s following Somalia's defeat in the Ogaden War, triggering the Somali Rebellion and severing ties with the Soviet Union. Opposition grew in the 1980s due to his increasingly dictatorial rule, growth of tribal politics, abuses of the National Security Service including the Isaaq genocide, and the sharp decline of Somalia's economy. In 1991, Barre's government collapsed as the Somali Rebellion successfully ejected him from power, leading to the Somali Civil War, and forcing him into exile where he died in Nigeria in 1995.Somali Air Force
The Somali Air Force (SAF) (Somali: Ciidamada Cirka Soomaaliyeed) (CCS), (Arabic: القوات الجوية الصومالية), Al-Qūwāt al-Gawwīyä as-Ṣūmāl) is the air force of Somalia. The Somali Aeronautical Corps (SAC) was the name of the Somali Air Force during the pre-independence (1954–1960) period. After 1960, when Somalia gained independence, the name changed to the Somali Air Force. SAF principal organizer and the first Somalia pilot Ali Matan Hashi became the founder as well as the Chief of SAF. The SAF at one point had the strongest airstrike capability in the Horn of Africa. Following the outbreak of the civil war in the early 1990s, the air force disbanded. A reconstituted Somali Central Government later relaunched the SAF in the 2010s, with its headquarters being reopened in 2015.Somali Rebellion
The Somali Rebellion was the beginning of the civil war in Somalia that occurred in the late 1970s and early 1990s. The rebellion started in 1986 when Siad Barre began attacking clan-based dissident groups opposed to his rule with his special forces, the "Red Berets" (Duub Cas). The dissidents had been becoming more powerful for nearly a decade following his abrupt switch of allegiance from the Soviet Union to the United States and the disastrous Ogaden War of 1977–1978.
When Barre was injured in an automobile accident on May 23, 1986, rivals within Barre's own government and opposition groups became bolder and entered into open conflict. Siad Barre's flight from the capital, on January 26, 1991, marked a distinct shift in the conflict. From that date until April 1992, fighting continued up until the arrival of the UN missions to Somalia (UNOSOM I and UNOSOM II). Siad Barre's collective punishment refers to clan-based violent actions by former Somalia president Siad Barre against what he viewed as rival clan members during the anti-Barre Somali Rebellion. The most egregious forms of clan-based violence perpetrated by the Barre dictatorship were against the Isaaq and Majeerteen clans.Western Somali Liberation Front
The Western Somali Liberation Front (Somali: Jabhadda Xoreynta Somali Galbeed; abbreviated WSLF) was a separatist rebel group fighting in eastern Ethiopia to create an independent state. It played a major role in the Ogaden War of 1977-78 assisting the invading Somali Army.
in the Horn of Africa
Armed conflicts involving Cuba
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Armed conflicts involving the Soviet Union