The Haud is of indeterminate extent; some authorities consider it denotes the part of Ethiopia east of the city of Harar. I.M. Lewis provides a much more detailed description, indicating that it reaches south from the foothills of the Golia and Ogo Mountains. "The northern and eastern tips lie within the Somali Republic, while the western and southern portions (the later merging with the Ogaden plateau) form part of the Harari Province of Ethiopia." For decades following the Italian occupation of Ethiopia in 1941 it (as well as the entire Ogaden) has been an area of conflict and controversy.
The British exerted control of the Ogaden beginning in 1941 as part of the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement, administering the Haud as part of their adjacent colony of British Somaliland, although Ethiopian sovereignty was still recognized in the area. This region was defined in the 1942 agreement as including the Ethiopian territory within a
- continuous belt of Ethiopian territory 25 miles [40 km] wide contiguous to the frontier of French Somaliland running from the frontier of Eritrea to the Franco-Ethiopian Railway. Thence south-west along the railway to the bridge at Haraua. Thence south and south-east, excluding Gildessa, to the north-eastern extremity of the Garais Mountains and along the crest of the ridge of these mountains to their intersection with the frontier of the former Italian colony of Somalia. Thence along the frontier to its junction with British Somaliland.
Even after Great Britain removed itself from the rest of Ethiopia, it retained a military presence in the Haud until 1954. Afterwards the British stressed the area's importance by requiring the Ethiopians to allow Somali tribes free access to grazing lands in the Haud. The British signed a treaty with Ethiopia for this purpose. The precise location of the boundary between Ethiopia and neighboring Italian Somaliland was disputed, which further complicated the issue. Despite UN efforts to promote an agreement, none was reached during the 1950s.
In 1960 when Somalia (British and Italian Somaliland as one nation) gained its independence it refused to recognize any pre-1960 treaties defining the Somali-Ethiopian borders. Somalia's government did not want to indirectly recognize any Ethiopian sovereignty over the area. The Haud continued to be used by traditional herdsmen. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s frequent border hostilities took place between the two countries, culminating in the 1977-78 Ogaden War which ended in defeat for Somalia. Although a truce was called following this war, sporadic violence continued in the Ogaden and Haud. This involved the Ethiopian military and police and armed traditional Somali herdsmen in this area, and sometimes the Somali military along the border.
The Hawd region has a total population of 2.7 million and the majority inhabitants are respectively Isaaq sub-clans.
- I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), pp. 2f
- According to the map in John Spencer, Ethiopia at Bay: A personal account of the Haile Selassie years (Algonac: Reference Publications, 1984), pp. 186f, the Haud covered an area adjacent to British Somaliland south of 9° latitude and covering the modern woredas of Aware, Misraq Gashamo, Danot and Boh.
- Quoted in D. J. Latham Brown, "The Ethiopia-Somaliland Frontier Dispute", International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 5 (1956), pp. 256f
- Theodore M. Vestal, "Consequences of the British Occupation of Ethiopia During World War II".
- Leo Silberman, Why the Haud was ceded, Cahiers d'études africaines, vol. 2, cahier 5 (1961), pp. 37–83.