Somali civil war

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Somali civil war
Updated map on location Held by Somali government Held by Shebab militia Held by Somaliland separatists Held by Chatumo state
Updated map of the location
  • Held by Somali government
  • Held by the shebab militia
  • Held by separatists ( Somaliland )
  • Held by Chatumo State
  • date 1988 - today
    place Somalia
    output ongoing

    The ongoing military conflicts between warlords , clans and various groups and militias - with various interventions by surrounding countries and the rest of the international community - in Somalia are called Somali civil war .

    It began with the armed resistance of various actors against the rule of the dictator Siad Barre and reached its climax after the overthrow of Barres in 1991. Since then there has been no effectively functioning central government in Somalia (see also Failing State ), the political development proceeded differently in different parts of the country: In the north of the country, the relatively stable areas of Somaliland and Puntland have formed, which are in fact autonomous. The capital Mogadishu, however, was and is contested. Also Interim South West Administration and Jubaland were the scene of hostilities. In 2006, the Union of Islamic Courts gained control over large parts of southern and central Somalia and, in Mogadishu in particular, established a certain degree of stability for the first time since the beginning of the war, until it was ousted at the end of 2006 by a military intervention in neighboring Ethiopia . As a result, heavy fighting took place, especially in Mogadishu, between the troops of Ethiopia and the transitional government on the one hand and Islamists and other opponents from various camps on the other. In early 2009, the Ethiopian troops were withdrawn and the moderate Islamist Sharif Sheikh Ahmed became the new president of the transitional government. However, his government continued to be opposed by more radical Islamists who now control large parts of southern and central Somalia. In other parts of the country there are local clans and militias, between which there are occasional conflicts. In 2000, an internationally recognized interim government was formed, but it did not succeed in gaining general acceptance and creating peace in Somalia. In August 2012 the transitional government was dissolved and replaced by a federal government . Military successes against the radical Islamist militias of Al-Shabaab in 2012 played an important role here.

    Lines of conflict

    Armed groups in Somalia 1992

    In the Somali civil war, different lines of conflict and interests are important, which makes the situation seem confusing. These include the conflicts over scarce water and land, conflicts between the minority of settled arable farmers and the nomadic majority, conflicts within the Somali clan system and, last but not least, the personal thirst for power of clan leaders, warlords and business people with their private militias . These conflicts often overlap.

    In addition, there are interventions by surrounding countries, which are only partially interested in stabilizing the situation in Somalia, and the rest of the international community.

    Clan system

    Somali society is divided into clans , which are further divided into subclans and further branches from these. Traditionally, these clans have no centralized political power. Of the five large clan families, four (the Darod , Hawiye , Dir and Isaaq ) are mostly nomads , while the Rahanweyn (Digil-Mirifle) in southern Somalia mostly live as sedentary farmers and ranchers. The nomadic clans consider themselves to be superior to the settled peasant clans as well as to various ethnic minorities in southern Somalia such as the " Somali Bantu ".

    There have always been conflicts between the clans over scarce water and land, and blood feuds due to crimes. The clans interacted in frequently changing alliances. According to common law, such disputes were settled through negotiations between the clan elders and through compensation payments.

    In civil war, clans usually form the power base for warring parties. Some observers explain the civil war mainly in terms of the potential for conflict that has fundamentally and always been in the clan system. The collapse of the state is largely due to the fact that Somali society traditionally has no central state. Somalia has basically returned to its pre-colonial state, with the difference that today modern, deadlier weapons are used (see also population growth ). Others, however, emphasize that the clan system underwent changes during the colonial times and during the dictatorship of Siad Barre , which increased its potential for violence. In particular, there was greater polarization due to ethnic (Somali / non-Somali) and class affiliation. The driving force behind the civil war is not clan conflicts, but political and economic interests.

    Land ownership

    Under the rule of Siad Barre , members of his Darod Clan land in the relatively fertile south of Somalia - on the Jubba and Shabelle rivers and in the area between these rivers - appropriated themselves . During the civil war, the United Somali Congress (USC) of the Hawiye clan, which had overthrown and driven Barre, captured part of these areas. The civil war is thus also a struggle for land ownership between the most powerful clans, the Hawiye and Darod. The inhabitants of the embattled country - the Rahanweyn clan and ethnic minorities in the river valleys such as the " Bantu " and Gabaweyn - got caught between the fronts. Starting in 1995, the Rahanweyn were able to improve their position with the support of Ethiopia and found the Rahanweyn resistance army. In the Shabeelle Valley, however, much of the land remained occupied by the Hawiye clan, while in the Jubba Valley Darod militias were able to push back the Hawiye. The rural population in the river valleys is sometimes forced to work on what was once their land under conditions between partial lease and forced labor.

    A condition for a peace agreement for Somalia would also be an agreement on land rights between Darod, Hawiye and the original inhabitants of the country they contested. The Hawiye in particular are skeptical of this, as they fear that they will have to cede occupied land in the civil war .


    Islamist - Wahhabi and others - currents, partly with support from Saudi Arabia , Sudan , Iran and other countries, have gained in importance since the 1980s. The radical group al-Ittihad al-Islami , which was financed from abroad and had contacts to al-Qaida , tried to establish itself in the 1990s, but was unable to assert itself against the various warring clan parties and was opened in 1996 through an intervention largely smashed by the Ethiopian army.

    The Union of Islamic Courts was a loose coalition of Shari'a courts of justice, particularly associated with the Habar-Gedir-Hawiye clan, which was powerful in Mogadishu, and encompassed a broad spectrum from moderate clergymen to members of the earlier al-Ittihad. In 2006 she prevailed against various warlords, took control of the capital and other parts of the country and massively improved the security situation there. Since she fought the interim government and called on parts of it to jihad against the interim government, Ethiopia and the USA, Ethiopian troops marched in at the end of 2006 and disempowered the Union.

    Soon after this invasion, a guerrilla war began by Islamists and clan militias against the troops of Ethiopia and the transitional government. Islamists and other government opponents formed the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) in exile in Asmara . Al-Shabaab , originally a youth militia within the Union of Islamic Courts, was newly formed as an independent and particularly radical group.

    While the more moderate part of the ARS under Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was conducting peace negotiations with the transitional government, al-Shabaab brought large parts of southern Somalia under its control and enforced a strict interpretation of the Sharia there. Even after Sharif Sheikh Ahmed was appointed President and the Ethiopian troops withdrew, al-Shabaab and other Islamist groups continued to fight against the transitional government. They sometimes work together, but there are also power struggles between them. There are also conflicts over the fundamentalist Islam of these groups and the traditional, Sufi -influenced, moderate Islam in Somalia.

    External intervention

    Ethiopia and Eritrea

    Territory of Ethiopian Operations since 2009

    Relations between Somalia and the regional power Ethiopia are tense, as the Somali state claimed the Ogaden area, which was inhabited by ethnic Somali and conquered by Ethiopia at the end of the 19th century, or the Somali region as part of Greater Somalia . These claims led to the Ogaden War in 1977/78 , which Somalia lost. The separatist National Liberation Front of the Ogaden continues to wage guerrilla warfare in the Somali region. The Ethiopian army has also responded to its attacks since 2007 with assaults against the civilian population such as murder, burning of villages, torture and rape.

    Ethiopia wants to prevent actors in Somalia from gaining power who maintain territorial claims over Ogaden; According to the widespread view in Somalia, this means that it either wants to maintain Somalia's political fragmentation or to set up a “ puppet government ” that is convenient for it. Ethiopia intervened on various occasions on the side of different warring parties in Somalia, most recently from late 2006 to early 2009 on the side of the transitional government. By contrast , Eritrea , which is hostile to Ethiopia, supports anti-Ethiopian forces in Somalia, especially Islamists. Both countries have previously been accused of supplying warring parties with weapons and stationing troops in Somalia and waging a proxy war there , contrary to a United Nations arms embargo . The government of Eritrea rejected these allegations several times. The Somali warring parties can be roughly divided into two groups based on their attitude towards Ethiopia: The coalition dominated by the Darod Clan, which formed the Ethiopian-backed Council for Reconciliation and Reconstruction in Somalia (SRRC) in south-western Somalia and the transitional government from 2004 to the end of 2008 dominated, and the anti-Ethiopian Mogadishu group , which is based in the Habar-Gedir- Hawiye clan and also includes Islamists.


    Al-Shabaab fighters advanced across the barely guarded border into the northeast region of Kenya , where Somalis also live. There they recruit Somali youths from refugee camps as well as Kenyan Somali for the fight in Somalia. For their part, Kenyan security forces are cooperating with Somalia's transitional government to recruit refugees in Dadaab and native Somali people for operations in Somalia.

    On October 16, 2011, two battalions of the Kenyan Defense Forces (KDF) with around 2,400 soldiers marched in Operation Linda Nchi (German: Defends the Nation) in southern Somalia to fight the Al Shabaab and those for Al Shabaab to take the economically and financially important port city of Kismayu in southern Somalia. The Kenyan Air Force also flew missions against positions and an Al Shabaab training camp in Jilib . The military action is justified with kidnappings of foreigners in Kenya. By February 2012, the Kenyan army was able to penetrate around 110 km into Somalia and, according to its own information, controls an area of ​​95,000 km².

    Rest of the international community

    The rest of the international community intervened militarily in the Somali civil war with the UNOSOM peace missions from 1992 to 1995 , but failed because of the complexity of the situation and the resistance of various warring parties. Since then, she has worked mainly diplomatically to stabilize the situation and, in particular, to restore a central government. Since 1998, and even more so since 2001, events in Somalia have increasingly been viewed from the perspective of the " war on terror ". This is primarily directed against Islamist actors in the civil war. Some of these have ties to Islamist circles outside Somalia. Another aspect that is attracting international attention is the phenomenon of piracy off the Somali coast . This is strongly favored by the political situation; some civil war actors also participate directly in this profitable business.


    Rule and disempowerment of Siad Barre

    Somalia gained independence from Italy and Great Britain in 1960. After nine years of democracy, in which corruption and nepotism were rampant, officer Siad Barre seized power in 1969 and established a dictatorship . Officially, he emphasized national unity and turned against clan loyalties, but he based his own power on the so-called "MOD Alliance" from his own clan, the Marehan- Darod and the Ogadeni and Dolbohanta-Darod. In particular after the lost Ogad war against Ethiopia in 1977/78, discontent grew due to oppression, corruption and economic problems. In 1978 there was a first coup attempt by officers from the Majerteen Darod clan, which was soon crushed, but continued in the activities of the Majerteen rebel organization Somali Democratic Redemption Front (SSDF) in north-east Somalia. In the north-west of the country, the Somali National Movement (SNM) emerged from the Isaaq clan . Both movements were supported by Ethiopia (while Somalia continued to promote the separatist West Somali Liberation Front in Ogaden) and initially did not pose a serious threat to the Barre regime. This changed when the two countries agreed in 1988 to end mutual support for rebel groups. The SNM had to evacuate their bases in Ethiopia and then began a major offensive in which they took Burao and Hargeysa , among others . The state army responded with extensive repression measures that cost around 40,000 lives and drove hundreds of thousands to flee to Ethiopia. However, it could not prevent the SNM from gaining the upper hand in the northwest.

    In southern and central Somalia, on the outskirts of the capital Mogadishu, the uprising of the United Somali Congress (USC) of the Hawiye, founded in 1989, began . With the end of the Cold War , Barre also lost the support of the USA and other Western countries. By using the tactics of “ divide et impera ” in this final phase of his regime and deliberately fueling distrust and hostility between the clans, he partly laid the foundation for further conflicts. In 1990 his government practically controlled only the capital. On January 26, 1991 Siad Barre finally fled Mogadishu before the USC and went south with parts of the army through the Shabeelle Valley. He was followed by numerous Darod civilians from Mogadishu who fled attacks and acts of revenge by the USC. The USC tracked Barre through the Shabelle Valley and further south into the Jubba Valley.

    The various movements against Barre had agreed in advance to form a new government together. This failed, however, when the USC, led by the Hawiye Mohammed Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohammed , claimed victory over Barre and thus the majority of power for itself. The other opposition groups did not recognize the Provisional Government formed by the USC. Under the leadership of the SNM, the north of the country unilaterally declared its independence as Somaliland, which is not recognized internationally. The USC itself split between the Abgal and Habar Gedir Hawiye subclans in late 1991 when Ali Mahdi Mohammed (Abgal) proclaimed himself president in Mogadishu while Aidid (Habar Gedir) persecuted Siad Barre. The Abgal and Habar Gedir militias then fought heavy fighting in Mogadishu, wreaking havoc and killing an estimated 14,000 people. Meanwhile, Darod loyal to Siad Barre formed in his home region of Gedo in the Jubba Valley to fight for Barre's return under the leadership of Barre's Defense Minister and son-in-law Siad Hersi "Morgan" . Somalia split into contested spheres of power of clans and warlords and their militias. 1991 is often given as the year the war began.

    The fact that the victorious movements failed to build a new government is explained by various factors. These include the short-term actions of their leaders as well as the discord between the clans that Siad Barre had successfully fanned. Furthermore, the clan militias and criminal gangs have increasingly withdrawn from the control of the clan leaders and have hardly been deterred from looting, which was exacerbated by the easy availability of weapons. After all, the international community largely ignored what was happening at the beginning and thus missed the opportunity to mediate before the fronts hardened further.

    Intervention of the UNOSOM

    American helicopter over Mogadishu (1992)
    German UN soldiers in Matabaan for the
    inauguration of the well on December 18, 1993
    Armed men on a technical in Mogadishu, 1992 or 1993

    The fighting and looting led to a deterioration in the supply situation up to and including the famine in southern Somalia , which killed an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people. Mainly affected were the settled, rural, politically and militarily weak residents of the region - the Rahanweyn clan and the Bantu minorities - who got caught between the fronts and were barely able to defend themselves against looting and the destruction of their agricultural infrastructure. The famine received attention in the international media from around mid-1992. In the same year the United Nations decided to send the UNOSOM mission to monitor a ceasefire between Aidid and Ali Mahdi. Since aid supplies for those affected by the famine were also plundered in many cases, the idea of securing the delivery of food aid through humanitarian intervention arose.

    American and Italian soldiers secure the Green Mile in Mogadishu

    The peace between warlords and the UN did not last long. Aidid in particular, with his Somali National Alliance, openly opposed the UNOSOM and demanded its withdrawal because he saw it as a threat to his power and feared it would recognize the government formed by Ali Mahdi. In November 1992, under President George HW Bush , the USA offered to send a multinational force under its own leadership. The background for this was the idea of ​​a “ New World Order ” propagated by Bush senior . The UN Security Council approved the dispatch of this Unified Task Force UNITAF (also known as Operation Restore Hope ) with Resolution 794 of December 3, 1992 and made UNOSOM operations subordinate to it. In contrast to UNOSOM, UNITAF was empowered to use “all necessary means”, including military ones. On December 9, the first UNITAF troops landed on the Somali coast with media coverage; in total, the force comprised up to 37,000 people at times, the majority of them US Americans. For the first time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, the German Armed Forces took part in a military operation outside the alliance area of NATO with the German Somalia Support Association .

    However, different expectations within Somalia as well as in the international community and a lack of knowledge of local conditions presented problems. For example, parts of the Somali population expected that the international troops would disarm the warlords. The US troops, on the other hand, did not want to risk their own losses. Isolated attempts to disarm warring factions had little effect, as large supplies of weapons were still available within Somalia, as well as from Kenya and Ethiopia. At the same time, UNOSOM / UNITAF also tried to secure the support of the most important actors by concluding deals with them and their clans. Failures by the international troops in dealing with the population - including human rights violations by Canadian and Italian troops in particular - contributed to turning initial sympathy into rejection. Sections of the Somali population saw UNOSOM / UNITAF as an occupying power and also subordinated the USA in particular to selfish motives such as gaining control over oil stocks or the permanent establishment of military bases on the strategically important Horn of Africa .

    After an attack by Aidid's troops on Pakistani blue helmet soldiers who were supposed to be inspecting an arsenal near his radio station, it became an essential objective for international troops to capture Aidid. However, the heavy attacks that were directed against him also resulted in numerous civilian casualties. They made it easier for Aidid to present itself successfully to parts of the population as an anti-colonial liberation fighter. The climax of the clashes between UNOSOM / UNITAF and their Somali opponents was the Battle of Mogadishu on March 3rd and 4th. October 1993, in which 18 US soldiers and one Malaysian UN soldier, as well as around 1,000 Somalis, were killed. After this event, the US withdrew its troops by 1994. The UNOSOM II withdrew in 1995 returned to have achieved without a political solution.

    Based on the experience in Somalia, the USA and the rest of the international community intervened more hesitantly in the years after 1993, namely in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and in the Yugoslav wars, particularly in the 1995 massacre of Srebrenica. In these cases, the international community later became theirs Accused of inaction, which helped make crimes possible.

    End of UNOSOM and formation of the transitional government

    After the failed UNOSOM mission, Somalia was temporarily out of sight of the international press and is regarded as a typical example of a " failed state ". Mogadishu in particular was still fought over between subclans of the Hawiye. In addition to Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohammed, other warlords such as Osman Ali Atto , Mohamed Qanyare Afrah and Musa Sudi Yalahow became important. Warlords, business people with their own militias and gangs of so-called "freelancers" sometimes fought over individual roadblocks. Such clashes also claimed numerous civilian deaths from ricochets .

    The Habar-Gedir-Hawiye under Aidid brought the port city of Merka and the Rahanweyn-inhabited southwest Somalia under their control in 1995 . In the same year, however, the Rahanweyn were able to improve their military situation with the support of Ethiopia and found the Rahanweyn Resistance Army (RRA). This regained its territory in the following years. Aidid himself was fatally wounded in 1996 in a fight among the Hawiye for banana exports from the lower Shabelle Valley ("Banana War"), whereupon his son Hussein Mohammed Farah ("Aidid junior") succeeded him. The Biimal Dir also tried to regain control of Merka and the lower Shabelle valley from the Habar Gedir. In Jubaland and especially in the important port city of Kismayo , the Juba Valley Alliance of Habar Gedir and Marehan fought against Siad Hersi. Overall, however, the fighting was less intense than in the early 1990s. Puntland in the northeast, which has been under the control of the SSDF and the local clans since 1991, declared itself an autonomous state within Somalia in 1998 and established its own regional government. Within Puntland there were power struggles between President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Jama Ali Jama in 2001-2003 . In Somaliland in the north, clashes flared up in 1992 and again in 1994–1996, but these were settled using traditional peacemaking methods, so that since 1996 it has remained largely peaceful.

    One explanation for the persistence of the war is that various actors did not primarily fight on to win, but above all to create “conditions of lasting instability” that serve their political and economic interests. So warlords would fear losing or in peaceful and democratic conditions in power for war crimes to be held accountable, and therefore in peace efforts as "troublemakers" ( spoilers occur). People and groups who live and benefit from looting and illegal business are also not very interested in restoring state order.

    Attempts to form a government

    The international community tried on various occasions to help resolve the conflicts through diplomatic channels. She concentrated her efforts on forming a government for Somalia, which should then stabilize the country. Over a dozen rounds of peace talks were held to this end. In 2000, following negotiations in Arta in neighboring Djibouti, a transitional government, the Federal National Government (TNG), was formed from members of various clans. Somalia now had an internationally recognized government again. Within Somalia, however, it was not recognized by most of the warlords, who were barely involved in the negotiation process, and was therefore never able to settle in the country. Their opponents founded the alliance SRRC as a "counter-government" based in Baidoa , which was supported by Ethiopia. Renegotiations in Kenya, in which this time warlords played a leading role, led to the formation of a new Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in 2004 , which was now dominated by the SRRC and representatives from the de facto autonomous region of Puntland. This government moved into Baidoa and Jawhar in 2005 , but was never able to establish a functioning administration or bring large parts of the country under its control.

    Union of Islamic Courts, Fight Against Terrorism

    Since the terrorist attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and even more so since the beginning of George W. Bush's term of office and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 , the US has shown increased interest in Somalia. The country was seen as a possible location for training camps for Islamist terrorists or even as a refuge for Osama bin Laden .

    Against this background, the United States viewed the rise in power of the Union of Islamic Courts with concern. The union was a loose coalition of Islamic courts of justice, which enforced the Sharia with varying degrees of severity , and was linked to the Habar-Gedir-Hawiye clan, especially the Ayr subclan, which was powerful in Mogadishu. It encompassed a broad spectrum from moderate clergy to Wahhabis and members of the earlier al-Ittihad. The USA temporarily supported the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Against Terrorism , a loose association of warlords against the Union. This support for the largely unpopular warlords, however, possibly increased popular support for the Union of Islamic Courts. When the conflicts between the ARPCT and other warlords and the Union escalated in mid-2006, the Union quickly drove the warlords out and took power in Mogadishu and other parts of southern Somalia. There it was able to significantly improve the security situation for the population and, in some cases, for the first time since the start of the war, restore a certain degree of law and order. Trade also picked up, and the port and airport of Mogadishu reopened. Certain measures by the Islamic courts of law, such as bans on cinemas, dance, music and kat , public flogging and increased pressure on women to wear face veils (which is traditionally not customary in Somalia), however, also caused public resentment.

    At the same time, the Union began to threaten the transitional government in Baidoa. Fighting continued at the borders between the powers of the transitional government and the Union, with the transitional government being pushed back further. There were power struggles within the Union, with radical forces increasingly gaining the upper hand. They also raised claims on the Somali region of Ethiopia - which had been claimed by Somali nationalists and the Somali state as part of a greater Somalia - and called for jihad against the transitional government, against Ethiopia and the USA. In addition, the Union received support from Eritrea , which was hostile to Ethiopia, and housed parts of the separatist groups “ National Liberation Front of the Ogaden ” and Oromo Liberation Front .

    Intervention of Ethiopia

    Ethiopia watched these developments with concern, fearing it could spread to the Somali region and Islamist appropriation of its own Muslim population. Ostensibly to protect the Somali transitional government, it initially stationed "military observers" in Somalia. This caused disagreement within the transitional government, as parts of the transitional government rejected this Ethiopian intervention.

    On December 24, 2006, Ethiopia declared war on the Union of Islamic Courts. The US, for which Ethiopia is an important regional ally in the "war on terror", approved and supported this intervention. It is controversial whether the USA induced Ethiopia to do so or whether they themselves were skeptical of the intervention, but let Ethiopia go.

    Supported by bombing by the Ethiopian air force, troops from Ethiopia and the Somali transitional government penetrated the south of the country. On December 27, the Union of Islamic Courts left Mogadishu and largely retreated south to the port city of Kismayo . From there it was pushed further to the extreme south of Somalia near the Kenyan border. On January 10, 2007, US warplanes also attacked cities in the area. According to the US, the target was al-Qaeda terrorists. The USA carried out further air strikes in June 2007 in Bargaal in northeast Somalia, in early 2008 again in the south in Dhobley and on May 1, 2008 in Dhuusamarreeb .

    Further fights from 2007 to 2008

    Meanwhile, the interim government moved into Mogadishu for the first time. It was supported by an estimated 55,000 Ethiopian soldiers. The African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the African peacekeeping force , which was supposed to replace the controversial Ethiopian military presence, never reached its planned troop strength: of the planned 8,000 soldiers, around 4,000 have so far been committed and around 2,000 (from Uganda and Burundi ) have been stationed. The proposal to send a United Nations peacekeeping force has so far been rejected because of the difficult situation on the ground and the experiences from 1992–1995.

    In Mogadishu there were attacks on the troops of Ethiopia and the transitional government, which soon expanded into open war. The insurgents included militant Islamists and members of the Hawiye clan - some of whom demanded the immediate withdrawal of Ethiopia, while others pursued more far-reaching political goals - and various other actors who have no interest in a stable government. Especially in March / April, July / August (during the National Reconciliation Conference , which produced modest results) and November 2007, there were violent clashes that drove a total of around 700,000 people to flight. According to a report by Human Rights Watch , both Ethiopian and interim government forces and insurgents committed war crimes by acting without consideration for the civilian population . Amnesty International also concluded that civilians in southern and central Somalia had been subjected to severe attacks from all sides.

    In 2008 the opponents of Ethiopia and the transitional government attacked smaller cities in southern and central Somalia with increasing success. Parts of the Union of Islamic Courts went into exile in Eritrea along with other opponents of the interim government and founded the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS) with the main aim of ending the Ethiopian military presence. Peace talks between the transitional government and moderate representatives of this alliance in Djibouti led to agreements on power-sharing and the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops. Radical representatives of the ARS and the Islamist youth militia al-Shabaab , which emerged from the militant wing of the Union of Islamic Courts, rejected these negotiations and increased their military activity against Ethiopia and the transitional government. In doing so, they briefly penetrated into the Ethiopian border town of Ferfer . In particular in the western part of southern Somalia ( Jubaland ) and in the central Somali region of Hiiraan , they took control, while the transitional government only safely controlled the city of Baidoa and the port, the airport, the presidential palace and some military camps in Mogadishu .

    Situation 2009

    In accordance with the peace accord, the Ethiopian troops withdrew from Somalia in January 2009. Shortly before, President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed resigned after he had recently been heavily criticized and had fallen out with Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein . He returned to his home region of Puntland, where he is said to have been followed by troops of the transitional government loyal to him. Troops from the moderate part of the ARS were supposed to fill the security vacuum after the withdrawal of the Ethiopians. The transitional parliament, expanded to include members of the ARS, elected Allianz representative Sharif Sheikh Ahmed as the new president. The radical Islamist al-Shabaab , which claims leadership within political Islam in Somalia, continued to fight against the transitional government and for the full implementation of a strict interpretation of the Shari'a and also conquered the previous seat of government Baidoa. At the same time, a new, moderate Islamist group called Ahlu Sunna wal Jama'a (ASWJ) appeared and began to fight al-Shabaab . It represents the form of Islam traditionally predominant in Somalia, shaped by Sufism , which is being oppressed by the more radical currents.

    At the end of June 2009, President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed declared a state of emergency because of the growing violence. The Somali parliament is practically no longer quorate because of the flight of a large number of MPs.

    Location since 2010

    At a meeting in Baidoa at the end of January 2010, the militia leaders of Al Shabaab Mohamed Abdi Godane and Sheikh Muktar Robow as well as other Islamist groups (e.g. Kamboni) adopted a proclamation declaring jihad in Somalia to be part of the jihad of al-Qaeda has been. The goal is to establish a God state in the Horn of Africa.

    In support of the Somali transitional government, the EU decided to train around 2,000 Somali soldiers through EU military advisers from May 2010. Military advisors to the German Armed Forces will also be involved in the ″ EU training mission Somalia (EUTM Somalia) ″ in Uganda.

    Situation in November 2016

    The Al-Shabaab militias launched a massive offensive on August 23, 2010 in the capital Mogadishu . An attack on the Hotel Muna on August 24, 2010 killed at least 30 people, mainly members of parliament and government employees. The fighting and attacks in Mogadishu continue to this day. Some military successes against Al-Shabaab during 2012 enabled the formation of a federal government in Somalia that has been in office since August 2012 .


    Internally displaced persons near Merka , southern Somalia

    At the beginning of 2009, around 1.3 million people were internally displaced in Somalia , around 700,000 of them due to the fighting in Mogadishu since 2007. 3.5 million were dependent on humanitarian aid.

    Hundreds of thousands more fled to refugee camps in neighboring countries, to the states of the Arabian Peninsula, to North America or Europe. Much of the Somali population depends on remittances from relatives living abroad to survive.

    At the same time, parts of the Somali economy and the population have adapted to the situation without a functioning government. Businesspeople benefit from not having to pay taxes, and some make a living from illegal activities (such as selling imported expired medicines, exporting charcoal and scrap metal, arms trafficking). Many young men live as fighters who can be recruited against payment or as so-called freelancers earn their living through robbery and looting, and have hardly any qualifications that would secure them an existence in peacetime. Some of these actors therefore also actively intervene in the civil war in order to prevent the situation from stabilizing in their own interest. A study even came to the conclusion that various social and economic indicators in the country for the period 2000 to 2005 (civil war and no functioning central government, but little fighting in large parts of the country) were still very bad, but better than 1985 to 1990 (final phase the Barre dictatorship with widespread corruption and poor economic situation).

    See also


    • Abdirizak Sheikh, Mathias Weber: No Peace for Somalia? 2nd edition Frankfurt 2010, ISBN 978-3-934517-11-0 .
    • Hans Krech : The Civil War in Somalia , Berlin 1996.
    • Ioan M. Lewis : Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, History and Society , 2008. ISBN 978-1-85065-898-6 (English)
    • Ken Menkhaus: Somalia: 'They Created a Desert and Called it Peace (building)' , in: Review of African Political Economy Vol. 36, No. 120, 2009 (engl.)
    • Verena "Vre" Karrer; Elisabeth von Bäschlin (Ed.): And greet you with the song of the rain bird , eFeF 2003. ISBN 3-905561-50-6 (reports from a Swiss woman who was involved in humanitarian aid in Merka until she was murdered by unknown persons in 2002)
    • Abdirizak Sheikh, Mathias Weber: No Peace for Somalia? , Frankfurt 2005. ISBN 3-934517-03-X
    • Mathias Weber: The UN mission in Somalia , MW Verlag, Denzlingen 1997, ISBN 3-9805387-0-2

    Web links

    Commons : Somali Civil War  - Album containing pictures, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. ^ Somalia: UN Envoy Says Inauguration of New Parliament in Somalia 'Historic Moment' . 22nd August 2012.
    2. Somalia's prime minister resigns . June 19, 2011.
    3. ^ Mw Verlag GmbH: New parliament and new head of state elected in Somalia - Somalia news - mw Verlag GmbH .
    4. ^ Ioan M. Lewis : A Modern History of the Somali , 4th edition, Oxford et al. 2002, p. 263. ISBN 978-0-85255-483-8
    5. For a summary of this debate, cf. Norwegian Refugee Council, HABITAT, UNHCR: Land, Property, and Housing in Somalia , 2008, pp. 46–48.
    6. a b Ken Menkhaus: Bantu ethnic identities in Somalia , in: Annales d'Ethiopie , N o 19, 2003.
    7. a b Alex de Waal, 2007: Class and Power in a Stateless Somalia .
    8. Mohamed Haji Mukhtar : The Plight of the Agro-Pastoral Society of Somalia , in: Review of African Political Economy , 1996.
    9. ^ A b Norwegian Refugee Council, HABITAT, UNHCR: Land, Property, and Housing in Somalia , 2008, pp. 100-105 and pp. 168 f.
    10. Ioan M. Lewis: Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, History and Society , 2008, ISBN 978-1-85065-898-6 (p. 21)
    11. a b c d Lewis 2008 (pp. 85–90)
    12. a b Ken Menkhaus: Understanding the state failure in Somalia: internal and external dimensions and Dirk Spilker: Somalia on the Horn of Africa. National and regional lines of conflict in the past and present , in Heinrich Böll Foundation (Ed.): Somalia - Old Conflicts and New Chances for State Building , 2008 (PDF; 1.3 MB)
    13. a b c d Ken Menkhaus: Somalia: 'They Created a Desert and Called it Peace (building)' , in: Review of African Political Economy Vol. 36, No. 120, 2009
    14. Behind Somalia's Islamist rivalry , in: BBC News, October 1, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2009. (Eng.)
    15. a b Jeffrey Gettleman: For Somalia, Chaos Breeds Religious War , in: New York Times , May 23, 2009. Retrieved June 1, 2009. (Eng.)
    16. ^ Human Rights Watch, 2008: Collective Punishment. War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in the Ogaden area of Ethiopia's Somali region [1] (Engl.)
    17. a b c d e f Ken Menkhaus: Understanding the state failure in Somalia: internal and external dimensions , in: Heinrich Böll Foundation (Ed.): Somalia - Old Conflicts and New Chances for State Building , 2008 ( PDF )
    18. Who supports who? , in: BBC News, December 26, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2008. (Eng.)
    19. [2] , in: Garowe Online, May 4, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009. (Eng.)
    20. Jeffrey Gettleman: Radical Islamists Slip Easily Into Kenya , in: New York Times, July 21, 2009
    21. Youth lured to fight in Somalia , in: Garowe Online: November 7, 2009
    22. Kenya admits to secret police training for Somalia , in: Garowe Online, October 24, 2009
    23. Human Rights Watch: Kenya: Stop Recruitment of Somalis in Refugee Camps , October 22, 2009
    24. ^ Military offensive in Somalia. In: Deutschlandfunk . October 22, 2011, accessed May 11, 2012 .
    25. Kenyan troops enter Somalia. In: Deutsche Welle . October 17, 2011, accessed May 11, 2012 .
    26. Kismayu a key target but not priority. In: Daily Nation . October 17, 2011, accessed May 11, 2012 .
    27. Mark Bradbury: Becoming Somaliland , 2008, ISBN 978-1-84701-310-1 (pp. 46-47, 77 ...)
    28. Lewis 2008 (pp. 67–74, 78)
    29. ^ Lewis 2002 (pp. 262-264)
    30. ^ Department of Public Information, United Nations, 1997: Somalia - UNOSOM I
    31. Verena "Vre" Karrer; Elisabeth von Bäschlin (Ed.): And greet you with the song of the rain bird , eFeF 2003. ISBN 3-905561-50-6
    32. Lewis 2002 (pp. 267–275)
    33. Lewis 2008 (pp. 78-80)
    34. Lewis 2002 (pp. 275-281)
    35. a b Ken Menkhaus: Somalia: A Situation Analysis , 2000 (English, PDF; 133 kB)
    36. Michael Stührenberg: The Daily Apocalypse , in: GEO 02/2003
    37. ^ Lewis 2002 (pp. 277, 280)
    38. Lewis 2002 (p. 280f.), Lewis 2008 (80f.)
    39. Ken Menkhaus: Somalia: A Situation Analysis and Trend Assessment , 2003 (English, PDF; 669 kB)
    40. Lewis 2008 (pp. 77, 100-103)
    41. Lewis 2008 (pp. 81–85)
    42. Martin Plaut: US fails to break Somali Islamists , in: BBC News, January 1, 2009. Retrieved January 2, 2009. (Eng.)
    43. Mark Mazzetti: Efforts by CIA Fail in Somalia, Officials Charge , in: New York Times, June 8, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2008. (Eng.)
    44. Thomas Scheen: Somalia without hope , in:, January 14, 2007. Retrieved October 10, 2009.
    45. The holy war in the Horn of Africa , in: Tages-Anzeiger, October 16, 2006.
    46. Ethiopia declares war. In: on December 24, 2006. Archived from the original on November 30, 2011 ; Retrieved November 14, 2012 .
    47. Mark Mazzetti : US Signals Backing for Ethiopian Incursion Into Somalia , In: New York Times, December 27, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2008. (Eng.)
    48. Mogadishu crowds greet Somali PM , in: BBC News, December 29, 2006. Retrieved November 20, 2008. (Eng.)
    49. US Air Force flies new attacks on al-Qaida positions , in: Spiegel Online, January 10, 2007. Accessed November 20, 2008.
    50. Timeline: Somalia , in: BBC News, November 20, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2008. (Eng.)
    51. a b Nina Brenjo: Somalia: Profiting from misery ( Memento from June 2, 2009 in the Internet Archive ), in: Reuters AlertNet, April 27, 2007. (Eng.)
    52. ^ Human Rights Watch, 2007: Shell-Shocked. Civilians Under Siege in Mogadishu [3] (Engl.)
    53. Routinely Targeted: Attacks on Civilians in Somalia , Amnesty International, May 6, 2008
    54. Jeffrey Gettleman: Somali Town Falls to Insurgent Raid , in: New York Times, April 1, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2008. (Eng.)
    55. Move to probe Somali atrocities , in: BBC News, November 24, 2008. Accessed December 22, 2008. (Eng.)
    56. Alisha Ryu: Peace Accord Brings More Violence to Somalia , in: VOA News, November 1, 2009. Accessed November 7, 2013. (Eng.)
    57. Mohamed Mohamed: Somalis grow fearful of Islamists , in: BBC News, November 12, 2008. Retrieved November 20, 2008. (Eng.)
    58. Mohamed Olad Hassan: New year heralds new Somali fears , in: BBC News, December 30, 2008. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
    59. ^ Deutsche Welle : Somalia in a State of Emergency of June 22, 2009
    60. Somalia's parliamentarians flee the country on June 25, 2009
    61. mwVerlag GmbH: Somalia currently - mw Verlag GmbH . Archived from the original on March 13, 2018. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved February 18, 2010. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
    62. EU begins Somali training mission . April 7, 2010.
    63. ^ Massive war in Mogadishu ( Memento from August 27, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
    64. Peter T. Leeson: Better Off Stateless: Somalia Before and After Government Collapse [4] (English, PDF; 94 kB)