President Bush orders U.S. troops to Somalia

President Bush orders U.S. troops to Somalia

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

President George H.W. Bush orders 28,000 U.S. troops to Somalia, a war-torn East African nation where rival warlords were preventing the distribution of humanitarian aid to thousands of starving Somalis. In a military mission he described as “God’s work,” Bush said that America must act to save more than a million Somali lives, but reassured Americans that “this operation is not open-ended” and that “we will not stay one day longer than is absolutely necessary.” Unfortunately, America’s humanitarian troops became embroiled in Somalia’s political conflict, and the controversial mission stretched on for 15 months before being abruptly called off by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

In 1992, clan-based civil-war fighting and one of the worst African droughts of the century created famine conditions that threatened one-fourth of Somalia’s population with starvation. In August 1992, the United Nations began a peacekeeping mission to the country to ensure the distribution of food and medical aid, but it was largely unsuccessful. With U.N. troops unable to control Somalia’s warring factions, security deteriorating, and thousands of tons of food stranded in portside warehouses, President Bush ordered a large U.S. military force to the area on December 4, 1992. Five days later, the first U.S. Marines landed in the first phase of “Operation Restore Hope.”

With the aid of U.S. military troops and forces from other nations, the U.N. succeeded in distributing desperately needed food to many starving Somalis. However, with factional fighting continuing unabated, and the U.N. without an effective agenda to resolve the political strife, there seemed no clear end in sight to Operation Restore Hope when President Bill Clinton took office in January 1993.

Like his predecessor, Clinton was anxious to bring the Americans home, and in May the mission was formally handed back to the United Nations. By June 1993, only 4,200 U.S. troops remained. However, on June 5, 24 Pakistani U.N. peacekeepers inspecting a weapons storage site were ambushed and massacred by Somalia soldiers under the warlord General Mohammed Aidid. U.S. and U.N. forces subsequently began an extensive search for the elusive strongman, and in August, 400 elite U.S. troops from Delta Force and the U.S. Rangers arrived on a mission to capture Aidid. Two months later, on October 3-4, 18 of these soldiers were killed and 84 wounded during a disastrous assault on Mogadishu’s Olympia Hotel in search of Aidid. The bloody battle, which lasted 17 hours, was the most violent U.S. combat firefight since Vietnam. As many as 1,000 Somalis were killed.

Three days later, with Aidid still at large, President Clinton cut his losses and ordered a total U.S. withdrawal. On March 25, 1994, the last U.S. troops left Somalia, leaving 20,000 U.N. troops behind to facilitate “nation-building” in the divided country. The U.N. troops departed in 1995 and political strife and clan-based fighting continued in Somalia into the 21st century.

Somalia, 1992–1993

The United States has long had to face the challenge of determining to what degree it wants to participate in global peacekeeping efforts and whether or not U.S. lives should be put at risk for peacekeeping. Events in Somalia between 1992 and 1994 threw that debate into sharp relief.

Somalia achieved its independence in 1960 with the union of Somalia, which had been under Italian administration as a United Nations trust territory, and Somaliland, which had been a British protectorate. The United States immediately established diplomatic relations with the new country. In 1969, the Somali Army launched a coup which brought Mohamed Siad Barre to power. Barre adopted socialism and became allied with the Soviet Union. The United States was thus wary of Somalia in the period immediately after the coup.

Barre’s government became increasingly radical in foreign affairs, and in 1977 launched a war against Ethiopia in hopes of claiming their territory. Ethiopia received help from the Soviet Union during the war, and so Somalia began to accept assistance from the United States, giving a new level of stability to the U.S.-Somalia relationship.

Barre’s dictatorship favored members of his own clan. In the 1980s, Somalis in less favored clans began to chafe under the government’s rule. Barre’s ruthlessness could not suppress the opposition, which in 1990 began to unify against him. After joining forces, the combined group of rebels drove Barre from Mogadishu in January 1991. No central government reemerged to take the place of the overthrown government, and the United States closed its embassy that same year, although the two countries never broke off diplomatic relations. The country descended into chaos, and a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions began to unfold.

The United Nations attempted to address the crisis with United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) to provide humanitarian assistance, created by the United Nations Security Council via Resolution 751 in April 1992. The United States sent food aid via Operation Provide Comfort starting in August 1992. Intense fighting between the warlords impeded the delivery of aid to those who needed it most, and so the United Nations contemplated stronger action. In December 1992, the United States began Operation Restore Hope. President George H.W. Bush authorized the dispatch of U.S. troops to Somalia to assist with famine relief as part of the larger United Nations effort. The United Nations’ United Task Force (UNITAF) operated under the authority of Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. Chapter VII allowed for the use of force to maintain peace and did not require the consent of the states involved. UNITAF transitioned to UNOSOM II in March 1993. UNOSOM II’s efforts to protect aid deliveries were directly challenged by warlord Muhammad Farah Aideed.

The most significant of these challenges came on October 3, 1993. Aideed’s forces shot down two Black Hawk helicopters in a battle which lead to the deaths of 18 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of Somalis. The deaths turned the tide of public opinion in the United States. President Bill Clinton pulled U.S. troops out of combat four days later, and all U.S. troops left the country in March 1994. The United Nations withdrew from Somalia in March 1995. Fighting continued in the country.

At the same time the Somalia crisis was unfolding, President Clinton ordered the national security bureaucracy to consider how and when the United States should become involved in peacekeeping operations. The resulting document was Presidential Decision Directive 25, issued on May 3, 1994. The Directive outlined a series of factors which the national security bureaucracy must consider before involving the United States in peacekeeping: eight factors which must be weighed before deciding in favor of peacekeeping in the United Nations, and nine additional factors before becoming involved in a Chapter VII action.

Although the United Nations’ involvement in Somalia was unable to provide a solution to the country’s political crisis, the United States remained engaged in responding to the humanitarian needs of the Somali people, and continued to be a significant source of bilateral aid.

George H. W. Bush: Foreign Affairs

During his presidency, President Bush devoted much of his time to foreign affairs, an area over which Presidents generally have more latitude than they do with domestic affairs. In his first inaugural address, Bush spoke of unity between the executive and legislative branches in foreign affairs, presenting a united front to the rest of the world and referring to a time when "our differences ended at the water's edge." He also put together a team of advisers, including National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, Secretary of State James Baker, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell, who generally worked well together. President Bush approached foreign affairs with his characteristic conservatism and pragmatism. He did not rush into new actions or policy changes but gave himself time to consider the administration's policies. When he acted, he did so with firm conviction and determination. His past experiences gave him significant experience in foreign affairs, and he relied on the many contacts within the international community he formed as ambassador to the United Nations, U.S. envoy to China, director of Central Intelligence, and Vice President.

One example of Bush's conservative and pragmatic approach to foreign affairs occurred early in his administration. In June 1989, the Chinese military suppressed a pro-democracy movement demonstrating in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Using tanks and armored cars, the military crushed the demonstrations and fired into the crowd, killing hundreds of protestors. Although Bush abhorred the Chinese government's violent crackdown in Tiananmen Square, he did not want to jettison improved U.S.-Sino relations by overreacting to events. Many in Congress cried out for a harsh, punitive response to the Chinese government's killing of peaceful protestors, but the Bush administration imposed only limited sanctions. Later in his administration, Bush sent Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, deputy secretary of state, to China to try to repair the damaged, but not destroyed, relationship. In the end, U.S.-Sino relations, while always somewhat fragile, have generally thrived, particularly in the economic realm, where both nations have benefitted from a robust trading partnership.


Throughout the Cold War, the United States had been involved in trying to stop the spread of Communism in Latin America and had established contacts throughout the area. One U.S. informant was Manuel Noriega, a Panamanian who began to work for the CIA as early as the late 1960s. Bush first encountered Noriega as director of the CIA when the agency relied on the Panamanian for intelligence. The Reagan administration initially saw Noriega as an ally because he opposed the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. When Noriega began to aid the Sandinistas and became increasingly involved in the international drug trade, the U.S. government tried to cut its ties with him. But Noriega continued to increase his power within Panama in 1983 he assumed control of the Panamanian military, becoming a military dictator who essentially ruled the country. After Noriega was indicted by a federal grand jury in 1988 on drug trafficking charges, his relationship with American military and intelligence agencies came increasingly under fire by congressional Democrats. Members of Congress demanded that the Reagan administration and later the Bush administration bring the Panamanian strongman to justice.

Following the loss of Noriega's puppet candidate in the May 1989 Panamanian presidential election, Noriega nullified the results and his supporters attacked the opposition candidates. President Bush was appalled by Noriega's thwarting of democracy and began to focus on removing him from power. In October, information about an internal coup reached the U.S. military in Panama but the Bush administration chose not to get involved because the plan seemed sketchy and unorganized. Colin Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recounted that, "The whole affair sounded like amateur night." The coup failed, and Noriega's forces executed the coup leader. Reaction in the United States was harsh, and many critics took the President to task for missing an opportunity to remove Noriega. After the attempted coup, President Bush and his advisers realized that they had to do something definite about Noriega. He then ordered his foreign affairs team to put together a plan to remove the dictator from power.

In December 1989, the Bush administration was notified that Noriega's military forces had killed a U.S. serviceman and attacked another serviceman and his wife. The administration now believed that it had the justification it needed to remove Noriega from power. On December 20, the U.S. military launched "Operation Just Cause" with about 10,000 forces landing in Panama and joining the 13,000 already there to quickly overtake the Panamanian military. Noriega went underground and eventually took refuge at the Vatican's embassy in Panama City. He surrendered to U.S. forces in early January and was taken to Miami, Florida, where he was eventually convicted on drug charges and sent to prison.

"Operation Just Cause" was generally hailed as a success and bolstered Bush's reputation as a strong, decisive leader. It was the largest military troop deployment since the Vietnam War and resulted in few causalities and a U.S. victory. Although it violated international law and was denounced by the Organization of American States and the United Nations, polls indicated that a large majority of Panamanians supported the U.S. invasion. The operation also gave the administration the unintended benefit of improving its crisis management, which helped the Bush team months later when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

End of the Cold War and Changing U.S.-Soviet Relations

When Bush became President in 1989, the United States had already begun to see a thawing of relations with the Soviet Union. As vice president, he attended the December 1988 summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. Bush spoke of softening relations in his inaugural address, claiming that "a new breeze is blowing," and adding that "great nations of the world are moving toward democracy through the door to freedom."

Bush's relationship with Gorbachev began with what the Soviets called the pauza (pause). With his instinctual caution, the President wanted time to study the situation before moving forward with his own policy. Although the Soviets were concerned that Bush's pauza indicated a new direction in U.S. foreign policy, it actually helped consolidate the improved U.S.-Soviet relations.

When East Germany opened its borders and Germans tore down the Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin in early November 1989, it marked a symbolic end to Communist rule in Eastern Europe. In the minds of many, the Cold War was over. Bush offered a muted response at a press conference on November 9: "I'm very pleased." When the press questioned his lack of enthusiasm over the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Bush responded by stating, "I am not an emotional kind of guy." In retrospect, many people recognized that by refusing to gloat or declare victory over the Soviet Union, Bush probably helped avoid a backlash by hardliners in Eastern Europe. He also did not want to endanger future negotiations with the Soviet Union. Still, Bush's restrained response to the collapse of Communism in Europe, while diplomatically deft, cost him dearly at home among his conservative supporters who argued that Ronald Reagan would have celebrated this historic development with some type of public address.

In a December 1989 summit between Bush and Gorbachev in Malta, the two leaders discussed arms reductions and strengthening their relations. At a summit in Washington, D.C., in June 1990, the two men signed a broad arms reduction agreement in which the United States and Soviet Union consented to decreasing their nuclear arsenals. Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, worked hard to establish a meaningful relationship with Gorbachev and Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet foreign minister. By most accounts, they were very successful in redefining relations with the Soviet Union in a post-Cold War environment. In July 1991, Bush met Gorbachev in Moscow and signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, known as START.

When Gorbachev's opponents attempted a coup to oust him from power the next month, the Bush administration waited anxiously for the outcome. The coup failed, and Gorbachev resumed his position but the Soviet Union was in evident decline. Throughout the fall, the Soviet Republics began to declare their independence from the Soviet Union, and in December, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus announced they were forming a new confederation of states. Gorbachev resigned as the President of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991.

The efforts of Bush, Gorbachev, Baker, and Shevardnadze achieved results in improving U.S.-Soviet relations in ways that would have been unthinkable ten years earlier. Critics of the Bush administration faulted it for being aligned too closely with Gorbachev and too willing to compromise many thought that Bush should have made more overtures to Boris Yeltsin, the President of Russia who often wanted reforms to proceed more quickly than Gorbachev and eventually oversaw much of Russia's transition away from Communism. Nonetheless, Bush's relationship with Gorbachev helped facilitate improved U.S.-Soviet relations.

German Unification

Events in 1989 moved along at such a rapid pace that President Bush's natural inclination toward gradual change was severely challenged. After the Berlin Wall fell in November of that year, members of the Bush administration discussed German reunification as some future reality, perhaps even five years in the future. Very few people imagined that a unified Germany would exist in less than a year. Even more surprising was that a united Germany would become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

After the Berlin Wall came down, a remarkable number of challenges confronted the Bush administration. At first, there were three main proposals on how to proceed with German reunification. One was just to let the two Germanys determine the process, but because of agreements at the end of World War II, the four victors—the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, and France—still had input into Germany's situation. Another approach was to let the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe and its thirty-five members hammer out the details. However, this plan was not widely supported because of the likelihood that the process would bog down due to input from so many countries. A third suggestion was to involve the two Germanys with the World War II victors in a framework that became known as "Two-plus-Four."

In February 1990, the "Two-plus-Four" approach was formally approved. East and West Germany dealt with the internal details while the four victors of World War II worked with the two Germanys on external issues. The talks began in May and finally concluded in September 1990. The main sticking point to German reunification was whether the country would be part of NATO. The Soviets initially opposed having a united Germany as part of NATO, preferring it to be part of the Warsaw Pact or exist as a neutral, non-aligned country. In the end, the Bush administration helped broker a compromise: Germany would be part of NATO but no NATO troops would be stationed in East Germany. In addition, Soviet troops would have three to four years to withdraw from East Germany, and Germany agreed to provide economic assistance to the Soviet Union.

Persian Gulf War

On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded its neighbor Kuwait. Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq, had long held designs on Kuwait's land, wealth, and oil. Although intelligence agencies had watched Iraq's military buildup along its border with Kuwait, both the United States and Iraq's Arab neighbors did not believe that Hussein had plans to invade the small country to its south. But they misread Hussein's intentions. The invasion violated international law, and the Bush administration was alarmed at the prospect of Iraq controlling Kuwait's oil resources.

Despite being somewhat caught off guard, the Bush administration went to work immediately trying to assemble a coalition to oppose Iraq. One fortunate turn of events for the administration was that, at the time of the invasion, President Bush was with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain at a conference, and Secretary of State Baker was in Siberia with Eduard Shevardnadze, the Soviet foreign minister. This allowed the United States to issue strong condemnations against Iraq with Britain, and most surprisingly, the Soviet Union. James Baker credited this moment, when the United States and Soviet Union issued a joint statement condemning Iraq's actions, as the end of the Cold War because it marked the beginning of unprecedented cooperation between the United States and the Soviet Union.

When the invasion began, Arab countries joined with the United States to form a coalition to convince Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait or face the consequences. When Saudi Arabia became concerned about a possible invasion after Iraqi troops began to mass on the border, President Bush announced the deployment of U.S. troops to the desert kingdom. He also articulated the four principles that guided "Operation Desert Shield": the immediate and complete withdrawal of Iraq from Kuwait the restoration of the legitimate Kuwaiti government the stability and security of the Middle East and the protection of Americans abroad.

On the day of the invasion, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 660, which condemned the invasion and demanded that Iraq withdraw "immediately and unconditionally". The United States also quickly moved to freeze Kuwaiti and Iraqi assets. Shortly thereafter, the UN imposed economic sanctions on Iraq designed to try to convince Iraq to withdraw. The Iraqi invasion allowed President Bush to emphasize one of his greatest strengths—personal diplomacy. He had many international contacts, and he personally telephoned world leaders and U.S. allies to start building the coalition that would force Iraq to withdraw. However, the administration did not want Israel to join the coalition because it feared that Israel's involvement would alienate the Arab countries that had already agreed to join the alliance. Israel agreed to stay out of the coalition and not retaliate if attacked in order to allow the coalition's greater resources to deal with Hussein.

After months of resolutions and diplomatic efforts, the situation still had not changed. Iraq seemed unwilling to withdraw from Kuwait, and the Bush administration was not convinced that the economic sanctions could convince Hussein otherwise. In November, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 678, which authorized member states "to use all necessary means" to make Iraq withdraw from Kuwait if it had not done so by January 15. As the deadline loomed, the President often spoke of the situation in moral terms and cast Saddam Hussein as the embodiment of evil, highlighting the dictator's human rights violations.

In December, President Bush put forth a proposal to ensure that the administration had exhausted all diplomatic efforts he wanted war to be the last resort. Bush proposed sending Secretary of State Baker to meet with Hussein in Iraq to try to reach a solution. However, the President made it clear that there was no alternative to a complete and unconditional Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. Although Baker eventually met with Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz in Geneva, Switzerland, the negotiations went nowhere with Hussein rebuffing Bush's efforts. The administration also wanted to shore up support domestically for the impending military action so it turned to Congress for congressional authorization. Although some in the administration argued that it was unnecessary, others felt it was important to have Congress's support. On January 12, Congress narrowly voted to authorize the use of military force against Iraq. The vote was an important victory for President Bush.

"Operation Desert Storm" began on January 17, 1991, when U.S.-led coalition forces began massive air strikes against Iraq. The coalition launched the ground war on February 24 and quickly overwhelmed the Iraqi forces. Coalition troops reached Kuwait City by February 27, and a ceasefire was declared the next day. On March 3, General Norman Schwarzkopf, commander in chief of the U.S. forces, met with the Iraqi leadership to dictate the terms of the ceasefire. The war had ended in less than two months, and the Bush administration had successfully committed to the largest military action since the Vietnam War without getting bogged down or suffering high casualties. (One hundred and forty eight U.S. soldiers were killed in the Persian Gulf War.) On March 6, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress and declared, "tonight Kuwait is free."

The Persian Gulf War helped restore the morale of the U.S. military and dampened memories of the Vietnam War. It also showed the possibility of what Bush referred to as the "New World Order," breaking down Cold War alliances and using peaceful nations to stand united against rogue states. The President successfully held together the coalition and even succeeded in having many of the coalition countries provide manpower (including France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt) and financial support (including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and Germany). Critics argued, however, that the victory was hollow because Saddam Hussein remained in power. They faulted Bush for not pursuing Hussein and his army into Iraq and removing him from power. However, President Bush and his team had been clear from the beginning that their primary war aim was to make Iraq withdraw from Kuwait, and they achieved that goal. The removal of Hussein from power had never been one of the administration's war aims. Many in the administration argued that pursuing Hussein into Iraq and attempting to topple him from power would destabilize the region and lead to a lengthy military engagement.

The New World Order

On September 11, 1990, President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress regarding the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and he discussed "an historic period of cooperation," which he called the New World Order. Bush claimed this new order would be:

About American Heritage

For 70 years, American Heritage has been the leading magazine of U.S. history, politics, and culture. Read more >>

The magazine was forced to suspend print publication in 2013, but a group of volunteers saved the archives and relaunched it in digital form in 2017. Free subscription >>

Please consider a donation to help us keep this American treasure alive. Support with a donation>>

Somalia's 1992 Thanksgiving: Reflections on U.S. Humanitarian Intervention in the Horn of Africa

On the eve of Thanksgiving in 1992, then-U.S. president George H. W. Bush, in his final weeks in office, approved a major military intervention to relieve a humanitarian crisis in Somalia.

After losing his bid for re-election, Bush was not expected to make any dramatic foreign-policy decisions lame ducks rarely quack or take unexpected steps. But the first president Bush did.

Today, we vividly remember the chain of events during the Bill Clinton presidency that led to the American withdrawal from Somalia in 1994&mdashthe shot-down Black Hawk helicopters, the body of a U.S. soldier dragged through the streets of Mogadishu, the angry crowds taunting American military personnel. We sometimes forget that those tragic events were preceded by a successful mission that saved lives in a war-torn nation on the brink of self-destruction.

In the early 1990s, a bitter civil war freed the people of Somalia from a brutal dictator, Siad Barre, but failed to re-establish order and stability when clan leaders and their militias fought over succession. A combination of civil war, clan conflict, refugee dislocation and drought left the nation unable to feed its population. The emergency generated a routine international response with shipments of food, medicine and relief workers making their way to the country. But continued fighting, particularly in the south and the capital Mogadishu, was so pervasive that the effective distribution of aid was impossible.

When then U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Smith Hempstone, visited refugee camps on the border with Somalia in the summer of 1992, he described his visit in a memo to Washington titled, "A Day in Hell." In Somalia, hellish starvation and malnutrition were rampant, and as with every famine, the first to die were the young, the old and the infirm. An estimated one in four children under the age of five years old died in the famine, according to some estimates.

In August 1992, the U.S. began an airlift of food and medicine to the southern regions that were inaccessible to relief convoys. These supplies made a difference, but far too often food was captured on the ground by armed groups, who hoarded it and used relief packages as a currency in the crippled Somali economy. Journalists who were able to get to the refugee camps and remote locations within Somalia came back with harrowing stories and pictures of desperation.

The pictures made their way to television screens, first on CNN&mdashwhere more resources were devoted to the Somalia story&mdashand then more broadly across the media landscape. Two days before Thanksgiving, on the night before President Bush made his decision to send over 28,000 US troops, NBC broadcast heart-wrenching black-and-white photographs of starving Somali children. Tom Brokaw told his viewers: "In Somalia, children under the age of five have all but disappeared&hellip. It's a place where a thousand die today, and a thousand will die tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that."

The vivid media coverage gave rise to what came to be called the 'CNN effect'&mdashthe theory that widespread media coverage can influence foreign-policy decisions. With this came the suggestion that the U.S. military intervention was the product of excessively emotional public and presidential reaction to images of suffering and starvation.

There is some truth to that conclusion, but less than many commentators recognize. The wheels of government move slowly and it was not a sudden and surprising presidential decision the day after the NBC broadcast that turned everything around. The staff planning in the Pentagon for possible military action began weeks before the final presidential decision. During those weeks, State Department memorandums made the case that only a U.S. intervention could quickly end the famine. Members of Congress and newspaper columnists lobbied for action.

Bush had a long-term interest in the Somali situation and a consistent desire to do something about it. He ordered the airlift in August, then a full-scale intervention in November after the election. Those who knew him well thought of him as a humanitarian who would surely offer U.S. assistance if the risks to our military forces were deemed acceptable.

When the marines landed in Somalia, there were television cameras on the beach and no serious resistance. Explicit diplomatic warnings and the arrival of an overwhelming military force cowered the clan leaders and allowed for the rapid distribution of food and medicine. Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger later told me that the U.S. helped the people of Somalia because it was right, and because it could.

Memories of the Black Hawks being brought down make people think of Somalia as being a U.S. foreign-policy failure. It wasn't. Tens&ndashperhaps even hundreds&ndashof thousands of lives were saved by the American protected distribution of aid. For Somalia in the final weeks of 1992, there was a very real reason for Thanksgiving.

Robert Strong is a professor of politics at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.


In January 1991, Somali President Mohamed Siad Barre was overthrown by a coalition of opposing clans, precipitating the Somali Civil War. [9] The Somali National Army concurrently disbanded, and some former soldiers reconstituted as irregular regional forces or joined the clan militias. [10] The main rebel group in the capital Mogadishu was the United Somali Congress (USC), [9] which later divided into two armed factions: one led by Ali Mahdi Muhammad, who became president and the other by Mohamed Farrah Aidid. In total, four opposition groups competed for political control: the USC the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) the Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM) and the Somali Democratic Movement (SDM). A ceasefire was agreed to in June 1991, but failed to hold. A fifth group, the Somali National Movement (SNM), declared independence in the northwest portion of Somalia later in June. The SNM renamed this unrecognized territory Somaliland, and selected its leader Abdirahman Ahmed Ali Tuur as president. [11]

In September 1991, severe fighting broke out in Mogadishu, which continued in the following months and spread throughout the country, with over 20,000 people killed or injured by the end of the year. These wars led to the destruction of Somalia's agriculture, which in turn led to starvation in large parts of the country. The international community began to send food supplies to halt the starvation, but vast amounts of food were hijacked and brought to local clan leaders, who routinely exchanged it with other countries for weapons. [12] An estimated 80 percent of the food was stolen. These factors led to even more starvation, from which an estimated 300,000 people died and another 1.5 million people suffered between 1991 and 1992. In July 1992, after a ceasefire between the opposing clan factions, the U.N. sent 50 military observers to watch the food's distribution. [11]

Operation Provide Relief began in August 1992, when U.S. President George H. W. Bush announced that U.S. military transports would support the multinational U.N. relief effort in Somalia. Ten C-130s and 400 people were deployed to Mombasa, Kenya, airlifting aid to Somalia's remote areas and reducing reliance on truck convoys. The C-130s delivered 48,000 tons of food and medical supplies in six months to international humanitarian organizations trying to help Somalia's more than three million starving people. [11]

When this proved inadequate to stop the massive death and displacement of the Somali people (500,000 dead and 1.5 million refugees or displaced), the U.S. launched a major coalition operation to assist and protect humanitarian activities in December 1992. This operation, called Operation Restore Hope, saw the U.S. assuming the unified command in accordance with Resolution 794. The U.S. Marine Corps landed the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit MEUSOC in Mogadishu with elements of 2nd Battalion 9th Marines and 3rd Battalion 11th Marines, secured nearly one-third of the city, the port, and airport facilities within two weeks, with the intent to facilitate airlifted humanitarian supplies. Elements of the 2nd Battalion 9th Marines HMLA-369 (Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 369 of Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Camp Pendleton) 9th Marines quickly secured routes to Baidoa, Balidogle and Kismayo, then were reinforced by the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division. [11]

Mission shift Edit

On 3 March 1993, U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali submitted to the U.N. Security Council his recommendations for effecting the transition from UNITAF to UNOSOM II. He indicated that since Resolution 794's adoption in December 1992, UNITAF's presence and operations had created a positive impact on Somalia's security situation and on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance (UNITAF deployed 37,000 personnel over forty percent of southern and central Somalia). There was still no effective government, police, or national army, resulting in serious security threats to U.N. personnel. To that end, the Security Council authorized UNOSOM II to establish a secure environment throughout Somalia, to achieve national reconciliation so as to create a democratic state. [11] [13]

At the Conference on National Reconciliation in Somalia, held on 15 March 1993, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, all fifteen Somali parties agreed to the terms set out to restore peace and democracy. Within a month or so, however, by May 1993, it became clear that, although a signatory to the March Agreement, Mohammed Farrah Aidid's faction would not cooperate in the Agreement's implementation. [11]

Aidid began to broadcast anti-U.N. propaganda on Radio Mogadishu after believing that the U.N. was purposefully marginalizing him in an attempt to "rebuild Somalia." Lieutenant General Çevik Bir ordered the radio station shut down, in an attempt to quash the beginning of what could turn into a rebellion. Civilian spies throughout UNOSOM II's headquarters likely led to the uncovering of the U.N.'s plan. On 5 June 1993, Aidid ordered SNA militia to attack a Pakistani force that had been tasked with the inspection of an arms cache located at the radio station, possibly out of fear that this was a task force sent to shut down the broadcast. The result was 24 dead and 57 wounded Pakistani troops, as well as 1 wounded Italian and 3 wounded American soldiers. On 6 June 1993, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 837, for the arrest and prosecution of the persons responsible for the death and wounding of the peacekeepers. [14]

On 12 June, U.S. troops started attacking targets in Mogadishu in hopes of finding Aidid, a campaign which lasted until 16 June. On 17 June, a $25,000 warrant was issued by Admiral Jonathan Howe for information leading to Aidid's arrest, but he was never captured. [15] Howe also requested a rescue force after the Pakistanis' deaths. [16]

Bloody Monday attack Edit

On 12 July 1993, a U.S.-led operation led to the event Somalis call Bloody Monday. [17] As part of the campaign to find or kill Aidid, American forces attacked a house in Mogadishu after being tipped off by an undercover operative that Aidid would be there at a meeting with tribal leaders. At 10:18 in the morning, American Cobra attack helicopters launched TOW Missiles and 20 mm caliber cannon fire at the structure. [17] [18] The inhabitants of the house, and their reason for being there, is disputed. American forces claimed that it was a meeting of a war council, and that their mission was a success. [18] According to American war correspondent Scott Peterson, a group of Somali elders had gathered at a house to discuss a way to make peace to end the violence between Somali militias and the UN forces. [17] The gathering had been publicized in Somali newspapers the day before the attack as a peace gathering. [17] Regardless of the true purpose of the meeting, the attack was perceived as a very aggressive action by a country not actively at war with Somalia, and caused most Somalis to lose trust in the United States. [18]

According to a Somali survivor, American ground troops killed 15 survivors at close range with pistols, a charge American commanders deny. [17] The official American account was that ground troops spent less than 10 minutes at the site, with the mission of assessing the outcome of the aerial strike. [18] According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, there were 54 dead Somalis and 161 wounded Somali forces claim more casualties, American forces claim less casualties. Aidid was not among the casualties and may not have been present. [18]

The operation would lead to the deaths of four journalists—Dan Eldon, Hos Maina, Hansi Kraus, and Anthony Macharia—who were killed by angry mobs when they arrived to cover the incident, [19] which presaged the Battle of Mogadishu. [20] Human Rights Watch declared that the attack "looked like mass murder." [21] Some believe that this American attack was a turning point in unifying Somalis against U.S. efforts in Somalia, including former moderates and those opposed to the Habar Gidir. [18] [22]

Task Force Ranger Edit

On 8 August 1993, Aidid's militia detonated a remote controlled bomb against a U.S. military vehicle, killing four soldiers. Two weeks later another bomb injured seven more. [23] In response, U.S. President Bill Clinton approved the proposal to deploy a special task force composed of elite special forces units, including 400 U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force operators. [24]

On 22 August 1993, the unit deployed to Somalia under the command of Major General William F. Garrison, commander of the special multi-disciplinary Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at the time. [25]

  • B Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment under the command of Captain Michael D. Steele
  • C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) under the command of Lt Col Gary L. Harrell [26]
  • A deployment package of 16 helicopters and personnel from the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR), which included MH-60 Black Hawks and AH/MH-6 Little Birds from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) and Combat Controllers from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron. [27]

Prior Black Hawk shot down Edit

On 25 September 1993, a week before the Battle, Aidid supporters used an RPG to shoot down a Black Hawk near the New Port in Mogadishu. It had been assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and all three crew members were killed. It was the first time a helicopter had been downed in Mogadishu, and the event was a huge psychological victory for the SNA. [28] [29]

U.S. and UNOSOM Edit

Units involved in the battle:

  • Task Force Ranger, including:
    • C Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1st SFOD-D) – aka Delta Force[30]
    • Bravo Company, 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment [30]
    • 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) (The Night Stalkers) with MH-6J and AH-6 "Little Birds" and MH-60 A/L Black Hawks [30]
    • Combat Controllers and Pararescuemen from the 24th Special Tactics Squadron [31] from the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU) & Carrier Air Wing 11 [32]
    • Amphibious Squadron 5 (USS New Orleans LPH-11, USS Denver LPD-9, USS Comstock LSD-45, USS Cayuga LST-1186)
    • BLT 1/9 (Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion/ 9th Marines/ 13th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit/ USS New Orleans LPH-11 ARG (Amphibious Ready Group)
    • 2nd Battalion “Attack”, 25th Aviation Regiment
    • 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment
    • 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment
    • 3rd platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment
    • 41st Engineer Battalion, 10th Mountain Division [33]
    • 15th Battalion, of the Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army [34] of the Pakistan Army [34]
    • 10th Battalion, of the Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army
    • 19th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment of the Malaysian Army [35]
    • 11th Regiment, Grup Gerak Khas of the Malaysian Army (few GGK operators during rescue the Super 6-1 crews) [35]
    • 7th Battalion, Frontier Force Regiment of the Pakistan Army [36]

    USC/SNA Edit

    The size and organizational structure of the Somali militia forces involved in the battle are not known in detail. In all, between 2,000–4,000 regular faction members are believed to have participated, almost all of whom belonged to Aidid's Somali National Alliance. They drew largely from his Habar Gidir Hawiye clan, who battled U.S. troops starting 12 July 1993. [37]

    The Somali National Alliance (SNA) was formed 14 August 1992. It began as the United Somali Congress (USC) under Aidid's leadership. At the time of Operation Gothic Serpent, the SNA was composed of Col. Omar Gess' Somali Patriotic Movement, the Somali Democratic Movement, the combined Digil and Mirifleh clans, the Habr Gedir of the United Somali Congress headed by Aidid, and the newly established Southern Somali National Movement. [38]

    After formation, the SNA immediately staged an assault against the militia of the Hawadle Hawiye clan, who controlled the Mogadishu port area. As a result, the Hawadle Hawiye were pushed out of the area, and Aidid's forces took control. [38]

    On 3 October 1993, special operations forces consisting of Bravo Company 3rd Battalion, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta, and the 160th Aviation Battalion, attempted to capture Aidid's foreign minister, Omar Salad Elmim and his top political advisor, Mohamed Hassan Awale. [39]

    The plan was that Delta operators would assault the target building using MH-6 Little Bird helicopters, and secure the targets inside the building. Four Ranger chalks under Captain Michael D. Steele's command would fast-rope down from hovering MH-60L Black Hawks. Rangers would create a four-corner defensive perimeter around the target building to isolate it and ensure that no enemy could get in or out. [40]

    A column of nine HMMWVs (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) and three M939 five-ton trucks under Lieutenant Colonel Danny McKnight's command would arrive at the building to take the entire assault team and their prisoners back to base. The entire operation was estimated to take no longer than 30 minutes. [41]

    The ground-extraction convoy was supposed to reach the captive targets a few minutes after the operation's beginning, but it ran into delays. Somali citizens and local militia formed barricades along Mogadishu's streets with rocks, wreckage, rubbish and burning tires, blocking the convoy from reaching the Rangers and their captives. Aidid militiamen with megaphones were shouting, "Come out and defend your homes!" [42]

    At 13:50, Task Force Ranger analysts received intelligence of Salad's location. The soldiers, vehicle convoys, and helicopters were on high alert stand by until the code word "Irene" was echoed across all the radio channels by command. The code word "Irene" was the word that began the mission and sent the helicopters into the air. [43]

    At 15:42, the MH-6 assault Little Birds carrying the Delta operators hit the target, the wave of dust becoming so bad that one was forced to go around again and land out of position. Next, the two Black Hawks carrying the second Delta assault team led by DELTA officer Captain Austin S. Miller came into position and dropped their teams as the four Ranger chalks prepared to rope onto the four corners surrounding the target building. Chalk Four being carried by Black Hawk Super 67, piloted by CW3 Jeff Niklaus, was accidentally put a block north of their intended point. Declining the pilot's offer to move them back down due to the time it would take to do so, leaving the helicopter too exposed, Chalk Four intended to move down to the planned position, but intense ground fire prevented them from doing so. [ citation needed ]

    The ground convoy arrived ten minutes later near the Olympic Hotel target building ( 02°03′01.6″N 45°19′28.6″E  /  2.050444°N 45.324611°E  / 2.050444 45.324611 ) [44] and waited for Delta and Rangers to complete their mission. During the operation's first moments, Private First Class Todd Blackburn fell while fast-roping from Super 67 while it hovered 70 feet (21 m) above the streets. Blackburn suffered numerous head injuries and required evacuation by Sergeant Jeff Struecker's column of three Humvees. While taking Blackburn back to base, Sergeant Dominick Pilla, assigned to Struecker's Humvee, was killed instantly when a bullet struck his head. [45] The Humvee column arrived back at base, full of bullet holes and emitting smoke from the damage. [42]

    First Black Hawk down Edit

    An MH-6, Star 41, piloted by CW3 Karl Maier and CW5 Keith Jones, landed nearby. Jones left the helicopter and carried Busch to the safety of the helicopter, while Maier provided cover fire from the cockpit repeatedly denying orders to lift off while his co-pilot was not in the Bird. Maier nearly hit Chalk One's Lieutenant Tom DiTomasso, arriving with Rangers and Delta operators to secure the site. Jones and Maier evacuated Busch and Smith. Busch later died of his injuries, having been shot four times while defending the crash site. [ citation needed ]

    A combat search and rescue (CSAR) team, led by Delta Captain Bill J. Coultrup, Air Force Master Sergeant Scott C. Fales, and Air Force Technical Sergeant Timothy A. Wilkinson, were able to fast rope down to the Super 61 crash site despite an RPG hit that crippled their helicopter, Super 68, piloted by CW3 Dan Jollota and Maj. Herb Rodriguez. Despite the damage, Super 68 did make it back to base. The CSAR team found both the pilots dead and two wounded inside the crashed helicopter. Under intense fire, the team moved the wounded men to a nearby collection point, where they built a makeshift shelter using kevlar armor plates salvaged from Super 61 ' s wreckage. [47]

    Communications were confused between the ground convoy and the assault team. The assault team and the ground convoy waited for 20 minutes to receive their orders to move out. Both units were under the mistaken impression that they were to be first contacted by the other. [48]

    Second Black Hawk down Edit

    During the wait, a second Black Hawk helicopter, callsign Super 64 and piloted by Michael Durant, was shot down by an RPG-7 at around 16:40. [49] Most of the assault team went to the first crash site for a rescue operation. Upon reaching the first crash site, about 90 Rangers and Delta Force operators found themselves under heavy fire. [50] Despite air support, the assault team was effectively trapped for the night. With a growing number of wounded needing shelter, they occupied several nearby houses and confined the occupants for the battle's duration. [51]

    When Gordon was eventually killed, Shughart picked up Gordon's CAR-15 and gave it to Durant. Shughart went back around the helicopter's nose and held off the mob for about 10 more minutes before he was killed. The Somalis then overran the crash site and killed all but Durant. He was nearly beaten to death, but was saved when members of Aidid's militia came to take him prisoner. [49] For their actions, MSG Gordon and SFC Shughart were posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first awarded since the Vietnam War. [30]

    Repeated attempts by the Somalis to mass forces and overrun the American positions in a series of firefights near the first crash site were neutralized by aggressive small arms fire and by strafing runs and rocket attacks from AH-6J Little Bird helicopter gunships of the Nightstalkers, the only air unit equipped and trained for night fighting. [ citation needed ]

    Relief convoy arrives Edit

    A relief convoy with elements from the Task Force 2–14 Infantry, 10th Mountain Division, accompanied by Malaysian and Frontier Force Regiment of Pakistani U.N. forces, arrived at the first crash site at around 02:00. No contingency planning or coordination with U.N. forces had been arranged prior to the operation consequently, the recovery of the surrounded American troops was significantly complicated and delayed. Determined to protect all of the rescue convoy's members, General Garrison made sure that the convoy would roll out in force. [ citation needed ]

    When the convoy finally pushed into the city, it consisted of more than 100 U.N. vehicles including Malaysian forces' German-made Condor APCs, four Pakistani tanks (M48s), American HMMWVs and several M939 five-ton flatbed trucks. This two-mile-long column was supported by several other Black Hawks and Cobra assault helicopters stationed with the 10th Mountain Division. Meanwhile, Task Force Ranger's "Little Birds" continued their defense of Super 61 's downed crew and rescuers. The American assault force sustained heavy casualties, including several killed, and a Malaysian soldier died when an RPG hit his Condor vehicle. Seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded. [35] [36]

    Mogadishu Mile Edit

    The battle was over by 06:30 on Monday, 4 October. U.S. forces were finally evacuated to the U.N. base by the armored convoy. While leaving the crash site, a group of Rangers and Delta operators led by SSG John R. Dycus realized that there was no room left in the vehicles for them and were forced to depart the city on foot to a rendezvous point on National Street. This has been commonly referred to as the "Mogadishu Mile". [ citation needed ]

    In all, 19 U.S. soldiers were killed in action during the battle or shortly after, and another 73 were wounded in action. [52] The Malaysian forces lost one soldier and had seven injured, while the Pakistanis also lost one soldier and suffered two injured. Somali casualties were heavy, with estimates of fatalities ranging from 315 to over 2,000 combatants. [5] The Somali casualties were a mixture of militiamen and local civilians. Somali civilians suffered heavy casualties due to the dense urban character of that portion of Mogadishu. [ citation needed ]

    On 6 October 1993, a mortar round fell on the U.S. compound, injuring 12 people and killing Delta Sergeant First Class Matthew L. Rierson, the 19th U.S. soldier killed in the battle. That same day, a team on special mission Super 64 incurred two wounded. [53] Two weeks after the battle, General Garrison officially accepted responsibility. In a handwritten letter to President Clinton, Garrison took full responsibility for the battle's outcome. He wrote that Task Force Ranger had adequate intelligence for the mission and that their objective—capturing targets of value—was met. [54]

    After the battle, the bodies of several of the conflict's U.S. casualties (Black Hawk Super 64 's crewmembers and their defenders, Delta Force soldiers MSG Gordon and SFC Shughart) were dragged through Mogadishu's streets by crowds of local civilians and SNA forces. [55]

    Through negotiation and threats to the Habar Gidir clan leaders by the U.S. Special Envoy for Somalia, Robert B. Oakley, all the bodies were eventually recovered. The bodies were returned in poor condition, one with a severed head. Michael Durant was released after 11 days of captivity. On the beach near the base, a memorial was held for those who were killed in combat. [56]

    Known casualties and losses Edit

    The exact number of Somali casualties is unknown, but estimates range from several hundred to a thousand militiamen and others killed, [57] [58] with injuries to another 3,000–4,000. [59] The International Committee of the Red Cross estimated that 200 Somali civilians were killed and several hundred wounded in the fighting, [60] with reports that some civilians attacked the Americans. [61] The book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War estimates more than 700 Somali militiamen dead and more than 1,000 wounded, but the Somali National Alliance in a Frontline documentary on American television acknowledged only 133 killed in the whole battle. [62] The Somali casualties were reported in The Washington Post as 312 killed and 814 wounded. [63] The Pentagon initially reported five American soldiers were killed, [64] but the toll was actually 18 American soldiers dead and 73 wounded. Two days later, a 19th soldier, Delta operator SFC Matt Rierson, was killed in a mortar attack. Among U.N. forces, one Malaysian and one Pakistani died seven Malaysians and two Pakistanis were wounded. At the time the battle was the bloodiest involving U.S. troops since the Vietnam War, and it remained so until the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004. [ citation needed ]

    Pakistan Edit

    No Pakistani soldiers were killed and 10 disappeared during the rescue attempt and assault. Tanks of 7 Lancer Regiment and 19th Lancers were used for the rescue. Italian General Loi said Italian troops had picked up 30 of the wounded Pakistani soldiers. The city's two main hospitals reported that 23 Somalis had been killed and that more than 100 had been wounded. [65]

    Malaysia Edit

    Lance Corporal Mat Aznan Awang was a 33-year-old soldier of the 19th Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment of the Malaysian Army (posthumously promoted to Corporal). Driving a Malaysian Condor armoured personnel carrier, he was killed when his vehicle was hit by an RPG in the early hours of 4 October. [30] Corporal Mat Aznan Awang was awarded the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa medal (Gallant Warrior/Warrior of Extreme Valor). [35] [66]

    Somalia Edit

    Ambassador Robert B. Oakley, the U.S. special representative to Somalia, is quoted as saying: "My own personal estimate is that there must have been 1,500 to 2,000 Somalis killed and wounded that day, because that battle was a true battle. And the Americans and those who came to their rescue, were being shot at from all sides . a deliberate war battle, if you will, on the part of the Somalis. And women and children were being used as shields and some cases women and children were actually firing weapons, and were coming from all sides. Sort of a rabbit warren of huts, houses, alleys, and twisting and turning streets, so those who were trying to defend themselves were shooting back in all directions. Helicopter gun ships were being used as well as all sorts of automatic weapons on the ground by the U.S. and the United Nations. The Somalis, by and large, were using automatic rifles and grenade launchers and it was a very nasty fight, as intense as almost any battle you would find." [67]

    Reliable estimates place the number of Somali insurgents killed at between 800 and as many as 1,000 with perhaps another 4,000 wounded. Somali militants claimed a much lower casualty rate. [68] Aidid himself claimed that only 315 – civilians and militia – were killed and 812 wounded. [5] Captain Haad, in an interview on American public television, said 133 of the SNA militia were killed, although he gave no numbers for deaths of civilians, many of whom were armed. [6]

    United States Edit

    Name Age Action Medal(s) Awarded (Posthumously)
    Operators of the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta
    MSG Gary Ivan Gordon 33 Killed defending Super Six-Four 's crew Medal of Honor, Purple Heart [30]
    SFC Randy Shughart 35 Killed defending Super Six-Four 's crew Medal of Honor, Purple Heart [30]
    SSG Daniel Darrell Busch 25 Sniper on crashed UH-60 Helicopter Super Six-One, mortally wounded defending the downed crew Silver Star, Purple Heart [66]
    SFC Earl Robert Fillmore, Jr. 28 Killed moving to the first crash site Silver Star, Purple Heart [69]
    MSG Timothy Lynn Martin 38 Mortally wounded by an RPG on the Lost Convoy, died while en route to a field hospital in Germany Silver Star, Purple Heart. [70]
    SFC Matthew Loren Rierson 33 Killed by stray mortar shell that landed near him Oct. 6, 2 days after the initial raid Silver Star, Bronze star, Purple Heart. [71]
    Soldiers of the 3rd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
    CPL James "Jamie" E. Smith 21 Killed around crash site one Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device and Oak leaf cluster,
    Purple Heart [72]
    SPC James M. Cavaco 26 Killed on the Lost Convoy Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart [73]
    SGT James Casey Joyce 24 Killed on the Lost Convoy Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart [73]
    CPL Richard "Alphabet" W. Kowalewski, Jr. 20 Killed on the Lost Convoy by an RPG Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart [74]
    SGT Dominick M. Pilla 21 Killed on Struecker's convoy Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart [74]
    SGT Lorenzo M. Ruiz 27 Mortally wounded on the Lost Convoy, died en route to a field hospital in Germany Bronze Star with Valor Device, Purple Heart [74]
    Pilots and Crew of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment
    SSG William "Wild Bill" David Cleveland, Jr. 34 Crew chief on Super Six-Four, killed Silver Star,
    Bronze Star,
    Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart [75]
    SSG Thomas "Tommie" J. Field 25 Crew chief on Super Six-Four, killed Silver Star,
    Bronze Star,
    Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart
    CW4 Raymond "Ironman" Alex Frank 45 Super Six-Four 's copilot, killed Silver Star,
    Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart [76]
    CW3 Clifton "Elvis" P. Wolcott 36 Super Six-One 's pilot, died in crash Distinguished Flying Cross,
    Bronze Star,
    Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart [75]
    CW3 Donovan "Bull" Lee Briley 33 Super Six-One 's copilot, died in crash Distinguished Flying Cross,
    Bronze Star,
    Air Medal with Valor Device, Purple Heart [77]
    Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division
    SGT Cornell Lemont Houston, Sr.
    1st Platoon, C Company, 41st Engr BN
    31 Member of the "Lost Platoon". Wounded by shrapnel from an RPG whilst recovering a severely wounded Malaysian soldier on the rescue convoy. [78] Also shot in the leg and chest. [79] Died of wounds at Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center. [80] Bronze Star with Valor Device,
    de Fleury Medal, Purple Heart [81]
    PFC James Henry Martin, Jr. 23 Member of 2nd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Company A. [82] Killed on the rescue convoy by a bullet to the head. [79] Purple Heart [83]

    Military fallout Edit

    In a national security policy review session held in the White House on 6 October 1993, U.S. President Bill Clinton directed the Acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral David E. Jeremiah, to stop all actions by U.S. forces against Aidid except those required in self-defense. He reappointed Ambassador Robert B. Oakley as special envoy to Somalia in an attempt to broker a peace settlement and then announced that all U.S. forces would withdraw from Somalia no later than 31 March 1994. On 15 December 1993, U.S. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin stepped down, taking much of the blame for his decision to refuse requests for tanks and armored vehicles in support of the mission. [84] [85] Garrison would write, however, that Aspin was not to blame for the events in Mogadishu. It's also since been noted that the equipment may not have arrived in time to make a difference. [86] A few hundred U.S. Marines remained offshore to assist with any noncombatant evacuation mission that might occur regarding the 1,000-plus U.S. civilians and military advisers remaining as part of the U.S. liaison mission. The Ready Battalion of the 24th Infantry Division, 1–64 Armor, composed 1,300 troops of Task Force Rogue, including the bulk of 1-64 Armor and Infantry troops from her sister battalion 3-15 Infantry. This was the first time M-1 Abrams tanks were delivered by air, using the C-5 Galaxies, which delivered 18 M-1 tanks and 44 Bradley infantry vehicles, [87] while the balance of Task Force Rogues equipment and vehicles were delivered via a roll-on/roll-off ship sent from Fort Stewart (Garden City), Georgia, to Mogadishu to provide armored support for U.S. forces. [ citation needed ]

    On 4 February 1994, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 897, which set a process for completing the UNOSOM II mission by March 1995, with the withdrawal of U.N. troops from Somalia at that time. In August 1994, the UN requested that the US lead a coalition to aid in the final withdrawal of the UNOSOM II forces from Somalia. On 16 December 1994, Operation United Shield was approved by President Clinton and launched on 14 January 1995. On 7 February 1995, the Operation United Shield multi-national fleet arrived and began the withdrawal of UNOSOM II's forces. On 6 March 1995, all of the remaining U.N. troops were withdrawn, ending UNOSOM II. [88]

    Policy changes and political implications Edit

    The United Nation's three consecutive humanitarian missions in Somalia (UNOSOM I 1992, UNITAF 1992–1993, UNISOM II 1993–1995) were seen by many as a failure, and the evolving civil war that began in 1986 continues as of 2020. [89] The Clinton administration in particular endured considerable criticism for the operation's outcome. The main elements of the criticism surround: the administration's decision to leave the region before completing the operation's humanitarian and security objectives the perceived failure to recognize the threat al-Qaeda elements posed in the region and the threat against U.S. security interests at home. [90] Critics claim that Osama bin Laden and other members of al-Qaeda provided support and training to Mohammed Farrah Aidid's forces. Osama bin Laden even denigrated the administration's decision to prematurely depart the region, stating that it displayed "the weakness, feebleness and cowardliness of the US soldier". [91]

    The loss of U.S. military personnel during the Battle of Mogadishu and television images of American soldiers being dragged through the streets by Somalis evoked public outcry. The Clinton administration responded by scaling down U.S. humanitarian efforts in the region. [91] [92]

    On 26 September 2006, in an interview on Fox News with Chris Wallace, former President Bill Clinton gave his version of events surrounding the mission in Somalia. Clinton defended his exit strategy for U.S. forces and denied that the departure was premature. He said he had resisted calls from conservative Republicans for an immediate departure: ". [Conservative Republicans] were all trying to get me to withdraw from Somalia in 1993 the next day after we were involved in 'Black Hawk Down,' and I refused to do it and stayed six months and had an orderly transfer to the United Nations." [93]

    Clinton's remarks would suggest the U.S. was not deterred from pursuing their humanitarian goals because of the loss of U.S. forces during the battle. In the same interview, he stated that, at the time, there was "not a living soul in the world who thought that Osama bin Laden had anything to do with Black Hawk down or was paying any attention to it or even knew al-Qaeda was a growing concern in October of '93", and that the mission was strictly humanitarian. [93]

    Fear of a repeat of the events in Somalia shaped U.S. policy in subsequent years, with many commentators identifying the Battle of Mogadishu's graphic consequences as the key reason behind the U.S.'s failure to intervene in later conflicts such as the Rwandan genocide of 1994. According to the U.S.'s former deputy special envoy to Somalia, Walter Clarke: "The ghosts of Somalia continue to haunt US policy. Our lack of response in Rwanda was a fear of getting involved in something like a Somalia all over again." [94] Likewise, during the Iraq War when four American contractors were killed in the city of Fallujah, then dragged through the streets and desecrated by an angry mob, direct comparisons by the American media to the Battle of Mogadishu led to the First Battle of Fallujah. [95]

    Links with Al-Qaeda Edit

    Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization has been alleged to have been involved in the training and funding of Aidid's men. In his book Holy War, Inc. (2001), CNN reporter Peter Bergen interviewed bin Laden, who affirmed these allegations. According to Bergen, bin Laden asserted that fighters affiliated with his group were involved in killing U.S. troops in Somalia in 1993, a claim he had made earlier to the Arabic newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi. The al-Qaeda fighters in Somalia are rumored to have included the organization's military chief, Mohammed Atef, later killed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Another al-Qaeda operative who was present at the battle was Zachariah al-Tunisi, who allegedly fired an RPG that downed one of the Black Hawk helicopters he was later killed by an airstrike in Afghanistan in November 2001. [96]

    Aidid's men received some expert guidance in shooting down helicopters from fundamentalist Islamic soldiers, most likely al-Qaeda, who had experience fighting Russian helicopters during the Soviet–Afghan War. [28] A document recovered from al-Qaeda operative Wadih el-Hage's computer "made a tentative link between al-Qaeda and the killing of American servicemen in Somalia," and were used to indict bin Laden in June 1998. [97] Al-Qaeda defector Jamal al-Fadl also claimed that the group had trained the men responsible for shooting down the U.S. helicopters. [98]

    Four and a half years after the Battle of Mogadishu, in an interview in May 1998, bin Laden disparaged the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Somalia. [99] While he had previously claimed responsibility for the ambush, [100] bin Laden denied having orchestrated the attack on the U.S. soldiers in Mogadishu but expressed delight at their deaths in battle against Somali fighters. [99]

    In a 2011 interview, Moktar Ali Zubeyr, the leader of the Somali militant Islamist group Al-Shabaab, said that three al-Qaeda leaders were present during the battle of Mogadishu. Zubeyr named Yusef al-Ayeri, Saif al-Adel, and Sheikh Abu al Hasan al-Sa'idi as providing help through training or participating in the battle themselves. [101]

    In 1999, writer Mark Bowden published the book Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, which chronicles the events that surrounded the battle. The book was based on his series of columns for The Philadelphia Inquirer about the battle and the men who fought. [102]

    Falcon Brigade: Combat and Command in Somalia and Haiti, by Lawrence E. Casper (Col. USA Ret.), published in 2001 by Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc. Boulder, Colorado and London, England. Casper was the 10th Mountain Division's Falcon Brigade and QRF Commander during the TF Ranger rescue effort. Eleven months later, Falcon Brigade, under Casper's leadership, launched Army forces from the Navy aircraft carrier Eisenhower onto the shores of Haiti in an operation to reinstate Haitian President Aristide.

    Black Hawk pilot Michael Durant told his story of being shot down and captured by a mob of Somalis in his 2003 book In the Company of Heroes. [103]

    In 2011, Staff Sergeant Keni Thomas, a U.S. Army Ranger recounted the combat experience in a memoir titled Get It On!: What It Means to Lead the Way. [104]

    Howard E. Wasdin's SEAL Team Six (2011) includes a section about his time in Mogadishu including the Pasha CIA safe house and multiple operations including the Battle of Mogadishu where he was severely wounded. [105]

    Lieutenant Colonel Michael Whetstone, Company Commander of Charlie Company 2–14 Infantry, published his memoirs of the heroic rescue operation of Task Force Ranger in his book Madness in Mogadishu (2013). [106]

    Film Edit

    Bowden's book has been adapted into the film Black Hawk Down (2001), produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Ridley Scott. Like the book, the film describes events surrounding the operation, but there are differences between the book and the film, such as Rangers marking targets at night by throwing strobe lights at them, when in reality the Rangers marked their own positions and close air support targeted everything else. [107]

    Upcoming Malaysian film Bakara, directed by Adrian Teh retells the story of Malaysian contingent of UNOSOM II involvement during the rescue operation in the battle. [108]

    Documentaries Edit

    The American series PBS Frontline aired a documentary titled "Ambush in Mogadishu" in 1998. [109] [110]

    The True Story of Black Hawk Down (2003) is a TV documentary which premièred on The History Channel. It was directed by David Keane. [111]

    The American Heroes Channel television series, Black Ops, aired an episode titled "The Real Black Hawk Down" in June 2014. [112]

    The National Geographic Channel television series, No Man Left Behind, aired an episode titled "The Real Black Hawk Down" on June 28, 2016. [113]

    The Seconds from Disaster television series spotlighted the raid and rescue mission in the Season 7 episode "Chopper Down" aired in February 2018. [114]

    Rangers return in 2013 Edit

    In March 2013, two survivors from Task Force Ranger returned to Mogadishu with a film crew to shoot a short film, Return to Mogadishu: Remembering Black Hawk Down, which debuted in October 2013 on the 20th anniversary of the battle. Author Jeff Struecker and country singer-songwriter Keni Thomas relived the battle as they drove through the Bakaara Market in armored vehicles and visited the Wolcott crash site. [115]

    Super 61 returns to US Edit

    In August 2013, remains of Super 61, consisting of the mostly intact main rotor and parts of the nose section, were extracted from the crash site and returned to the United States due to the efforts of David Snelson and Alisha Ryu, and are on display at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum at Fort Bragg, Fayetteville, North Carolina. [116] The exhibit features immersive dioramas and artifacts from the battle including the wreckage of Super 61, the first Black Hawk helicopter shot down during the battle, and Super 64. [117]

    As of October 2018, a fully restored Super 68 is on display at the Army Aviation Museum in Fort Rucker, Alabama. [118]

    Detroit riots

    Ignited when Detroit's nearly all-white police force arrested several black revelers at an after-hours drinking club in the early morning on July 23, 1967, the riot triggered a devastating period of violence in the city that left 43 people dead and millions of dollars in property destroyed. Thousands of Army troops and National Guardsmen were called to the city.

    Michigan National Guard equipment rolls out of Detroit in 1967, after civil unrest subsided. A woman weeps as she heads for a funeral. (AP)

    When president clinton sent us peacekeeping troops to somalia in 1993, us troops brought peace to the country. were killed during a conflict. killed thousands of somali people. remained in somalia for many years.

    When President Clinton sent US peacekeeping troops to Somalia in 1993, US troops were killed during a conflict.

    The Somalia intervention was part of a international humanitarian and peacekeeping effort lead by United States between 1992-1993 by some military operations and ended with the battle of Mogadishu in which 18 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of Somali militia and civilians were killed.

    During 1993 the President Clinton have decided to reduce the ammount of troops send there by the former administration of President Bush, they passed of having 25.000 troops to only maintain 1.200 American combat soldiers.

    Along with the United Nations the U.S. was trying to capture Mohammed Farah Aydid, one of the most powerfull warlords of the region. They final attempt was on October of 1993 when they tried to capture him and his lieutenants after a meeting beeing carried in an hotel in the region of Mogadishu but the mission did not goes as planned and the troops faced heavy resistance. Althought the mission was a succes because they captured several high rankin Aydid´s lieutenants, it was perceived as a failure because of the cost of human lives.

    Soon after that mission Clinton ordered the retreat of all the troops from Somalia.

    The surge nobody’s talking about: the US war in Somalia

    Another witness described hearing the blast and seeing “huge dark smoke going up.” He said that he received a phone call informing him that Maalim Abdiyow Fillow Mudey, a close friend of his for many years, had been killed, so he hopped on his motor bike and sped to the scene of the attack. “The whole village was burnt,” the witness remembered. “All the trees were also burnt. There was a big hole where the car was hit.”

    The destruction didn’t end there.

    “I saw pieces of flesh all over the place,” the man continued. “I was looking for the body of Maalim Abdiyow. He had a big beard, but I could not find him.”

    Maalim Abdiyow Fillow Mudey was a 45-year-old teacher and the father of 10 children. On Dec. 6, 2017, he was near the small shop and restaurant he owned in a little hamlet called Illimey when a military-style vehicle carrying up to three suspected fighters from al-Shabab, a terrorist group, was attacked. Maalim Abdiyow was killed along with his 17-year-old daughter, Amina Abdow Fillow Mudey.

    All told, five Somali civilians—including two children—died that day in 2017, according to an investigation conducted by human rights organization Amnesty International, which in recent years has begun to shine a light on the human cost of U.S. airstrikes in Somalia, a long-hidden part of America’s ongoing wars. With a rising death count of civilian bystanders, human rights groups are now calling on the U.S. government to account for its actions.

    For the better part of two decades, U.S. military operations in Somalia have been shrouded in secrecy. In 2002 or 2003, President George W. Bush sent Special Forces and CIA officers to Somalia to capture or kill members of al-Qaeda believed to be responsible for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. In January 2007, the Bush administration carried out its first airstrike against suspected members of al-Qaeda in Somalia using an AC-130 gunship.

    Four and a half years later, after the architect of the 1998 embassy bombings had been killed, the United States, under President Obama, launched its first publicly acknowledged drone strike in Somalia, wounding two senior members of al-Shabab, which ultimately declared its allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012.

    From 2012 to the end of the Obama administration, the U.S. Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, which oversees operations in Somalia, publicly declared it had conducted a grand total of 33 airstrikes in Somalia (15 more strikes have also been alleged, though not confirmed). This data was compiled by Airwars, a UK-based conflict-monitoring group.

    The highest number of strikes was 19 in 2016, likely in an effort to counter the violence caused by al-Shabab, including when it attacked a forward operating base in Somalia on Jan. 15, 2016, that killed as many as 141 Kenyan troops stationed there.

    Also in 2016, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration had “quietly broadened the president’s authority for the use of force in Somalia by allowing airstrikes to protect American and African troops” fighting al-Shabab.

    Moving forward, the U.S. military no longer needed to prove that a potential target’s actions posed an immediate threat to an American, though it was still necessary to certify the identity of the targeted person and ensure that civilian bystanders would not be injured or killed by an attack, among other requirements.

    All of that changed after Donald Trump became president. On March 30, 2017, The New York Times reported that President Trump signed a directive declaring parts of Somalia an “area of active hostilities,” which gave AFRICOM commanders more freedom to carry out airstrikes and conduct ground raids against al-Shabab.

    Retired Army Brigadier General Donald Bolduc was the commander of U.S. Special Operations Forces in Africa from April 2015 until June 2017. In an interview with The Daily Beast, he said that the former “near certainty” standard during the Obama administration required greater substantiation before an airstrike could be launched.

    This included the use of informants, full-motion video, surveillance intercepts, and various sources of intelligence across several platforms. After President Trump signed his directive, however, “The burden of proof on the target was changed to a lesser burden of proof, and so that automatically opens up the aperture when you’re looking at intelligence and you have a probability factor, or a reasonable one, that your target is there.”

    In 2017, the U.S. launched at least 38 airstrikes—manned and unmanned—in Somalia, more in one year than were launched in the previous eight years combined. The next year, at least 48 airstrikes were launched, and in 2019, there were 61. In the first five months of 2020, at least 40 airstrikes have been launched, which means the United States is on track to more than double the number of airstrikes it launched in 2019.

    Perhaps the most notable airstrike of 2020 occurred on Feb. 22, in the vicinity of Sakow, when Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud was killed. AFRICOM claims he was responsible for planning an attack in Kenya that resulted in the deaths of three Americans.

    Over the last 13 and a half years, AFRICOM has launched at least 228 airstrikes in Somalia and has reportedly killed between 1,807-2,422 al-Shabab fighters, according to data compiled by Airwars. At the same time, however, AFRICOM claims it has killed only four civilians: a woman and a child in an airstrike near the central Somali town of El Buur on April 1, 2018, and a 20-day-old child and his father near Kunyo Barrow on Feb. 23, 2019.

    Using a combination of official statements from AFRICOM, Somali news reports, photos and videos, social media posts, and other forms of open-source information—as well as internal military documents obtained by journalists via the Freedom of Information Act—Airwars has identified 29 separate incidents in which civilians were allegedly harmed by U.S. military action. All told, Airwars believes that those 29 incidents resulted in the deaths of between 68 and 140 Somali civilians, a figure that far exceeds AFRICOM’s official count of four.

    Why such a stark disparity?

    “They either don’t know who they are killing,” says Abdullahi Hassan, Amnesty International’s Somalia researcher, or AFRICOM is “afraid of admitting responsibility because once they do that they will have to compensate people and deal with accusations of war crimes.”

    According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, anyone who is suspected of belonging to an armed group must not be targeted on the basis of “abstract affiliation, family ties, or other criteria prone to error, arbitrariness or abuse.”

    In other words, for AFRICOM to lawfully target someone with an airstrike, regardless of presidential directive it seems, that person must be directly participating in hostilities. Therefore, as Amnesty International points out in its report on the “hidden U.S. war” in Somalia, “Direct attacks against the civilian population and individual civilians not directly participating in hostilities are prohibited and constitute war crimes.”

    When everyone you kill is a bad guy, however, all those problems melt away.

    Two years before he became the commander of AFRICOM, Stephen J. Townsend wrote an op-ed for Foreign Policy in which he claimed that the reports of civilian casualties coming out of Somalia were “vastly inflated.” He also claimed that AFRICOM investigates every allegation of civilian casualties to ensure accountability.

    “There is no secret air or shadow war as some allege,” Townsend said in an AFRICOM press release. “How can there be when the whole world knows we are assisting Somalia in their fight against al-Shabab terrorists? When we publicly announce every single airstrike we conduct? When we publicly admit to our mistakes? Unlike al-Shabab we do everything in our power to avoid civilian casualties and that is not changing on my watch.”

    But how transparent are the investigations AFRICOM conducts?

    Researchers at the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) and the Columbia Law School Human Rights Institute (HRI) recently uncovered some shortcomings in AFRICOM’s investigative process. During a workshop with AFRICOM personnel led by CIVIC/HRI to better understand AFRICOM’s process for assessing civilian casualties, the researchers discovered that while AFRICOM had evaluated 37 reports of civilian casualties resulting from U.S. airstrikes in Somalia and Libya from 2016 to 2019, it had not interviewed even a single civilian witness.

    “Civilians injured in U.S. military attacks, and the families of those who are killed, have endured long and painful struggles trying to find out why they or their loved ones were harmed, and whether their communities are still at risk,” Priyanka Motaparthy, director of the Project on Counterterrorism, Armed Conflict, and Human Rights at HRI, said in a press release accompanying a report her organization published in February 2020. Thorough investigations are necessary, she continued, so that the victims’ loved ones, and the general public, know the deaths didn’t occur unlawfully.

    Al-Shabab continues to be a threat, despite all the United States has done the past three years to degrade and defeat them. On Feb. 7, 2020, the lead inspector general for East Africa and North and West Africa Counterterrorism Operation submitted a report to Congress on counterterrorism efforts in Africa. During the last quarter of 2019, the report stated al-Shabab launched “multiple high-profile attacks,” including one on Kenya’s Manda Bay Airfield. In fact, during the first three years of Donald Trump’s presidency, al-Shabab managed to launch 929 attacks on civilians, resulting in 2,247 deaths.

    “Despite continued U.S. airstrikes in Somalia and U.S. assistance to African partner forces,” the inspector general continued, “al Shabab appears to be a growing threat that aspires to strike the U.S. homeland.”

    It’s not clear whether AFRICOM’s tactics in Somalia will change in light of all the evidence showing that drone strikes targeting al-Shabab fighters are having a negligible effect at best. Since the beginning of April, AFRICOM has acknowledged conducting seven airstrikes, all without injuring or killing any civilians.

    One thing that will change moving forward is that AFRICOM, at the behest of Amnesty International, will issue quarterly reports on the “status of ongoing civilian casualty allegations and assessments” in order to “demonstrate the U.S. military’s constant commitment to minimizing collateral damage in the pursuit of military operations.”

    “This is a welcome news,” says Abdullahi Hassan, “and we hope the reporting will be done in a transparent manner that will provide justice for the families.”

    On April 27, 2020, as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Somalia continued to rise exponentially, AFRICOM published its first Civilian Casualty Assessment Quarterly Report. From Feb. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, the report claims, AFRICOM conducted 91 airstrikes in Somalia and Libya and received 70 allegations of possible civilian deaths or injuries. Investigations into 20 of those alleged incidents were launched and as of March 31, 2020, 13 have been closed AFRICOM says only one of those was substantiated.

    Watch the video: George BushSomalia Invasion - Doing Gods Work