United Nations Operation in Somalia II

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United Nations Operation in Somalia II
Part of the Somali Civil War
DateMarch 1993 – 28 March 1995
(2 years)

 United Nations

United Somali Congress

Somali National Alliance
Commanders and leaders
United Nations Boutros Boutros Ghali
Turkey Çevik Bir
United States Thomas M. Montgomery
Malaysia Aboo Samah Aboo Bakar
United StatesJonathan Howe
United StatesWilliam F. Garrison

Somalia Mohamed Farrah Aidid

Somalia Mohammed Said Hersi Morgan
30,000 personnel, including 22,000 troops and 8,000 logistic and civilian staff Unknown
Casualties and losses
Pakistan 24 killed
United States 22 killed
India 12 killed[7]
Malaysia 1 killed
Italy 5 killed
Belgium 1 killed
1,000+ killed, 3,000+ wounded, 22 captured

United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II) was the second phase of the United Nations intervention in Somalia, from March 1993 until March 1995, after the country had become involved in civil war in 1991.

UNOSOM II carried on from the United States-controlled (UN-sanctioned) Unified Task Force (UNITAF). It had been active for a transition period when United Nations Operation in Somalia I (UNOSOM I) mission proved to be ineffectual. All three of these interventions were intended to establish a secure enough environment for humanitarian operations to be carried out, because there was effectively no central government and the country was increasingly subject to factional violence and was suffering from famine, in part due to the warfare and social disruption.

Four months into its mandate, UNOSOM II would shift into a military campaign as it became embroiled in conflict, primarily against the Somali National Alliance led by Gen. Mohammed Farah Aidid. The infamous Battle of Mogadishu would take place during UNOSOM II, and would mark the end of major operations in Somalia and the beginning end of the international intervention two years later.


Following the failure of the monitoring mission created as UNOSOM by the United Nations, the United States offered to lead a substantial intervention force, made up chiefly of American personnel. This was accepted by the UN and made possible through United Nations Security Council Resolution 794, authorizing the use of "all necessary means to establish as soon as possible a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia".[8] The Security Council urged the Secretary-General and member states to make arrangements for "the unified command and control" of the military forces that would be involved.[9]

On the evening of 4 December 1992, U.S. President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation, informing them that U.S. troops would be sent to Somalia. The U.S. contribution would be known as Operation Restore Hope, which joined a multinational force and became known as the United Task Force (UNITAF).[10] The operations of UNOSOM I were suspended. UNITAF was authorized under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

The United States intended UNITAF and U.S control as a transitional action. The mission consisted of four phases. The first phase was the initial deployment of troops to provide secure harbor and airport sites in Mogadishu, from where the entire operation would be managed. Second was the expansion of the security zone to the surrounding regions of southern Somalia. Due to a more lenient environment than expected and the encouragement from NGOs (Non-governmental Organizations), UNITAF forces accomplished phase two a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. Third, the forces would expand the security zone into Kismayo and Bardera and maintain secure land routes for humanitarian operations throughout the security zone. The fourth and final phase consisted of the US handing over operations to the United Nations and withdrawing most of the UNITAF forces.[10]

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. There was still no effective functioning government or local security/police force.[11] The Secretary-General concluded 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.[11] UNOSOM II would therefore seek to complete the task begun by UNITAF. The new mandate would also empower UNOSOM II to assist in rebuilding their economic, political and social life, so as to recreate a 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. It did not formally take over operations in Somalia until UNITAF was dissolved on 4 May 1993.

In operation[edit]

A U.S. soldier at the main entrance to the Port of Mogadishu points to identify a sniper's possible firing position (January 1994).
An armoured column of M1A1 Abrams Tanks and M2 Bradley IFVs move down a dirt road outside the city of Mogadishu, Somalia. (January 1994).
A Saudi Arabian High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) wait for food stores to be off-loaded at the Mogadishu seaport. The food will be provided to the Somali people.
Romanian field hospital in Mogadishu, with a Rocar ambulance parked outside

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,[clarification needed] helping the people to set up a representative government, and restoring infrastructure.

UNOSOM II had a strength of 28,000 personnel, including 22,000 troops and 8,000 logistic and civilian staff from Algeria, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Spain, South Korea, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Zimbabwe.[12] The US also provided 1,167 troops for a Quick Reaction Force under US operational control that would be stationed on US Navy ships off the coast of Somalia (see Carrier Strike Group 6). This force would respond to emergency threats to UNOSOM II but only if US Central Command approved.[13]

June 5th 1993 attack on the Pakistanis[edit]

On June 5, a Pakistani force was sent to investigate an arms depot belonging to a Somali warlord vying for the Presidency, Mohamed Farrah Aidid. When the Pakistani force arrived, they encountered angry Somali protesters. Twenty-four Pakistani soldiers inspecting weapons as part of the expanded UN mandate were killed when "forces believed to be associated with Aidid allegedly launched a fatal attack on peacekeeping forces."[14]

The UN responded the next day with Resolution 837, reaffirming that the secretary-general was authorized to "take all necessary measures against those responsible for the armed attacks and to establish the effective authority of UNOSOM II throughout Somalia."[15] This was essentially equivalent to declaring war on Aidid, a declaration that would lead to numerous confrontations between UNOSOM II personnel and Aidid's militia.

Though UNOSOM II had much fewer war-fighting resources than UNITAF, but it was much more ambitious and aggressive.

On 12 June 1993 U.S. troops began a military offensive around Mogadishu.

On 17 June, a $25,000 warrant was issued by Admiral Jonathan Howe for information leading to the arrest of Aidid, but he was never captured.[13]

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 Somali people. The UN troops were portrayed as foreign interlopers, particularly after incidents of civilian casualties caused by wholesale firing into crowds.[16][17]

Abdi House Raid and the shift to combat operations[edit]

On the 12th of July, a house where a meeting of clan elders was taking place was attacked by US AH-1 Cobra helicopters in what became known to the Somalis as Bloody Monday.[18]

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 more bold. Serious rifts between nations contributing to UNOSOM II also began to develop, with Italy in particular being a major critic of the American methods.[19]

Task Force Ranger deployed to find Aidid[edit]

Somali militias began targeting peacekeepers, causing further casualties. On 8 August, Aidid's militia detonated a remote controlled bomb against a U.S. military vehicle, first killed four American soldiers and then, two weeks later, injured seven more.[20] In response, President Bill Clinton approved the proposal to deploy a special task force composed of 400 US Army Rangers and Delta-force Commandos.[18]

This unit, named Task Force Ranger, consisted of 160 elite US troops. They flew to Mogadishu and began a manhunt for Aidid in what became known as Operation Gothic Serpent. On October 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger raided a hotel in Mogadishu in which Aidid was thought to be hiding. What ensued was the longest, bloodiest and deadliest battle for US troops in Somalia. In what later became known as the Battle of Mogadishu, eighteen US soldiers were killed. Images of their dead bodies being dragged through the streets were broadcast on television stations all over the world, horrifying and infuriating the American public.

Fallout of the Battle of Mogadishu and the end of UNOSOM II[edit]

On October 7 1993 in a nationwide television address, American President Clinton "effectively ended the US proactive policy in Somalia" and "called for the withdrawal of all US forces no later than March 31, 1994."[citation needed] Resolution 897, passed on February 4, nevertheless extended the UNOSOM mandate with one year to be concluded in March 1995.[21]

US soldiers completely withdrew on March 3, 1994, 28 days earlier than expected.[22] Other Western nations, including Italy, Belgium, France and Sweden, also decided to withdraw at this time. On November 4, 1994, after peacemaking efforts by the remaining 1,900 UNOSOM II troops failed, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) voted unanimously to withdraw all forces in Resolution 954. Subsequently on November 16, the UNSC authorized Resolution 955, placing new emphasis on peacemaking and reconstruction and returning to a less reactive role. The withdrawal of the remaining UN military and police troops from Somalia was completed on March 28, 1995, thereby ending UNOSOM II's mandate.

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.[23]

Somalia participated in talks in December 1997 held in Cairo, Egypt, where Aidid and Mahdi, another Somali warlord, signed a "Declaration of Principles". The declaration promised to launch reconciliation conferences in February, 1998 and to prepare a transitional government charter.[24]

Walter Clarke, who was Deputy Chief of Mission for the U.S. Embassy in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope, and Jeffrey Herbst, Associate Professor, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, conclude that "The intervention in Somalia was not an abject failure; an estimated 100,000 lives were saved. But its mismanagement should be an object lesson for peacekeepers ... on other such missions."[25]

Results of 1994 UN Inquiry[edit]

After the Battle of Mogadishu, the United States urged the United Nations to establish the commission to determine who was responsible for the clashes between UNOSOM II peacekeepers and Aidid's SNA forces.[26] A three-man UN inquiry commission set up by the Security Council, recommended financial reparations for Somali civilians who became victims of the fighting.[26]

The inquiry criticized the United States for operating under a separate military command and leading raids against Aideed that were not coordinated with UNOSOM officers and were incompatible with basic tenets of peacekeeping. It is also criticized the use of American helicopters to fight in the heavily dense neighborhoods of Mogadishu.[26][27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Peacekeeping Contributor Profile: Australia". Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  2. ^ "Peacekeeping Contributor Profile: Austria". Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  3. ^ "Peacekeeping Contributor Profile: Bangladesh". Archived from the original on 8 April 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  4. ^ "Peacekeeping Contributor Profile: Belgium". Archived from the original on 14 April 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  5. ^ "Peacekeeping Contributor Profile: France". Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 14 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Peacekeeping Contributor Profile: Germany". 3 April 2014. Archived from the original on 2 May 2016. Retrieved 13 December 2017.
  7. ^ "India - Somalia Relations" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs (India). February 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 April 2016. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  8. ^ Weiss, Thomas G.; Hubert, Don (2001). The Responsibility to Protect : Research, Bibliography, Background : Supplementary Volume to the Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. Ottawa: International Development Research Centre. ISBN 978-1-55250-256-3. OCLC 1040688457.
  9. ^ United Nations Security Council Resolution 794, United Nations Security Council, 3 December 1992
  10. ^ a b DiPrizio 2002, p. 46.
  11. ^ a b "Somalia - UNOSOM I". United Nations Peacekeeping. Archived from the original on 12 July 2022. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  12. ^ DiPrizio 2002, p. 48.
  13. ^ a b Brune 1999, p. 28.
  14. ^ McCoy, Dorcas (2000). "American Post-Cold War Images and Foreign Policy Preferences Toward 'Dependent' States: A Case Study of Somalia". World Affairs. 163 (1): 43.
  15. ^ Mayall 1996, p. 110.
  16. ^ "Somalian targets hit by new air strikes Warlord accuses UN of genocide, refuses to negotiate until attacks end". The Globe and Mail. Reuters. 15 June 1993.
  17. ^ Lorch, Donatella (14 June 1993). "20 Somalis Die When Peacekeepers Fire at Crowd". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015.
  18. ^ a b Brune 1999, p. 31.
  19. ^ Cowell, Alan (16 July 1993). "ITALY, IN U.N. RIFT, THREATENS RECALL OF SOMALIA TROOPS". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015.
  20. ^ Bowden, Mark (1999). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. New York: Signet. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-87113-738-8.
  21. ^ "Security Council Resolution 897 - UNSCR". unscr.com. Retrieved 2021-12-07.
  22. ^ Brune 1999, p. 33.
  23. ^ "Somalia - UNOSOM II". United Nations Peacekeeping. Archived from the original on 8 July 2019. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  24. ^ Brune 1999, p. 33-34.
  25. ^ Clarke, Walter; Herbst, Jeffrey (March 1996). "Somalia and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention". Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009.
  26. ^ a b c Preston, Julia; Williams, Daniel (31 March 1994). "REPORT ON SOMALI CLASH FAULTS U.S., U.N., AIDEED". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 15 June 2022. Retrieved 2022-06-15.
  27. ^ "Report of the Commission of Inquiry Established Pursuant to Security Council Resolution 885 (1993) to Investigate Armed Attacks on UNOSOM II Personnel Which Led to Casualties Among Them". 1 June 1994. Archived from the original on 8 August 2022.


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