Following the failure of the monitoring mission created as UNOSOM by the United Nations, The United States offered to lead a substantial intervention force, chiefly made up of American personnel. This was accepted by the UN and made possible through Security Council Resolution 794, authorising the use of "all necessary means to establish as soon as possible a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia". The Security Council then urged the Secretary-General and member states to make arrangements for "the unified command and control" of the military forces that would be involved. On the evening of 4 December 1992, US President George H. Bush made an address to the nation, informing them that the USA would send troops to Somalia. The US contribution would be known as Operation Restore Hope, but the mission would formally be called the United Task Force, or UNITAF. The operations of UNOSOM 1 were suspended. UNITAF was authorised under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
UNITAF and the arrangement of US control was only intended as a transitional state of affairs. Once a secure environment had been restored, the suspended UNOSOM mission was intended to be revived, albeit in a much more robust form. On 3 March 1993, the Secretary-General submitted to the Security Council his recommendations for effecting the transition from UNITAF to UNOSOM II. He noted that despite the size of the UNITAF mission, a secure environment was not yet established and there was still no effective functioning government or local security/police force.
The Secretary-General concluded therefore, that, should the Security Council determine that the time had come for the transition from UNITAF to UNOSOM II, the latter should be endowed with enforcement powers under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter to establish a secure environment throughout Somalia. UNOSOM II would therefore seek to complete the task begun by UNITAF for the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia. The new mandate would also empower UNOSOM II assist to the Somali people in rebuilding their economic, political and social life, through achieving national reconciliation so as to recreate a democratic Somali State.
The new UN-controlled mission to be called UNOSOM II was established by the Security Council in resolution 814(1993) on 26 March 1993 but did not formally take over operations in Somalia until UNITAF was dissolved on 4 May 1993.
A federalist government based on 18 autonomous regions was agreed upon by the leaders of Somalia's various armed factions. It was the objective of UNOSOM II to support this new system and initiate 'nation building' in Somalia. This included disarming the various factions, restoring law and order, helping the people to set up a representative government, and restoration of infrastructure.
UNOSOM II had a strength of 28,000 personnel, drawn from Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Spain, South Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the USA and Zimbabwe.
On 5 June, 24 Pakistani troops were assassinated by Somalian millitia members while inspecting an arms depot belonging to Mohamed Farrah Aidid, the most powerful of the Somali Warlords. Aidid and his followers were accused of being behind this massacre.
On 12 June 1993 US troops started attacking targets in Mogadishu related to Aidid, a campaign which lasted until 16 June. On 19 June, a $25,000 warrant was issued by US Admiral Howe for information leading to the arrest of Aidid, but he was never captured. Howe also requested a counter-terrorist rescue force after the killings of the Pakistani troops.
The hunt for Aidid characterised much of the UNOSOM II intervention. The increasing tempo of military operations carried out in Mogadishu began to cause civilian casualties and affected the relationship between the foreign troops and the Somalia people. The UN troops were easily portrayed as evil foreign interlopers by the militia leaders, particularly after incidents of civilian casualties caused by wholesale firing into crowds. On July 12, a house where clan leaders were meeting was attacked by US AH-1 Cobra helicopters. Several buildings were destroyed and many Somalians died. When four western journalists wanted to investigate the scene, they were beaten to death by a Somalian mob. In the following weeks even more U.S. soldiers were killed and wounded.
Paradoxically, Somalis disappointed by the failure of the UN to disarm the warlords in Mogadishu actually began to support those same warlords in an “us versus them” mentality. The spectre of Islamic fundamentalism also began to rise, as militia leaders sought to use religion as a rallying point for anti-UN sentiment. As the Americans became more insular, the warlords began to reassert control of many Mogadishu districts. With each failure to apprehend Aidid, the militias grew bolder. Serious rifts between nations contributing to UNOSOM II also began to develop, with Italy in particular being a major critic of the American methods.
The hunt for Aidid and his lieutenants then began in earnest, leading to the Battle of Mogadishu, resulting in - according to estimates - the death of 500-1000 Somalian millitia and civilians, as well as the deaths of 18 American soldiers and 73 wounded. The American Ranger and Delta force were rescued by the 10th Mountain Division, who were partly helped by UN troops, notably those of Malaysia and Pakistan.
In early 1994 the Security Council set a deadline for the mission of March 1995. Various reconciliation talks were carried out over the next few months providing for a ceasefire, the disarmament of militias and a conference to appoint a new Government. However, preparations for the conference were repeatedly postponed and many faction leaders simply ignored the agreements at will. With no real progress occurring and a dwindling of support from member states UNOSOM was disbanded in March 1995.
U.S. sees terrorism in Somalia; Minnesota Somalis see it differently; The Twin Cities Somali community shares a deep concern about tensions in their homeland, but many dispute the U.S. claim that it has become a haven and a platform for terrorism.(WORLD)
May 07, 2007; Byline: Sharon Schmickle; Staff Writer Listen to Bush administration officials and you hear the chilling claim that a new...