Maintaining peace in Somalia

— 1992 U.S. peacekeeping operation in Somalia

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in the early morning of December 9, 1992, the breeze in the sea area near Somalia brushed the sea and the silver moonlight sprinkled on the beach. At this time, an operation codenamed “Restoring Hope” was quietly implemented. Taking advantage of the night, six Cobra helicopters took off from a US Navy warship anchored off the coast of Somalia. They were ordered to provide cover for navy seals and Marines who were landing from Somali beaches at night.

however, when the plane approached the scene to cover the landing operation, the pilots saw lights and flames shaking constantly in the area where the U.S. Army was ready to land. The pilots thought the fire was from guns or rocket launchers of Somali warlord forces, so they quickly loaded the weapon system and prepared to fire. At this time, an emergency signal came from the headphones on their helmets.

at this time, Marines in camouflage suits were rushing ashore from the landing ship with weapons in hand, ready for battle. Almost at the same time, dozens of reporters who had been waiting for a long time greeted. The flash of the camera blinded the American soldiers. A moment later, the reporters put the microphone in front of the team members. In this way, the picture of the U.S. military’s operation in Somalia immediately spread to all parts of the world, and this suffering African country appeared in front of people again.

Somalia was originally a very poor and unobtrusive country. Then why should the United States mobilize so many people, actively send troops to participate in peacekeeping and send journalists to publicize it?

things have to start from the beginning.

Somalia is located at the easternmost end of Africa, bordering on the Gulf of Aden in the north, at the mouth of the Red Sea, and close to the Indian Ocean in the southeast. It is a Muslim country with a population of 8.4 million, with a land area of nearly 40000 square kilometers. Its territory looks like a horn inserted into the Indian Ocean.

geographical location map of Somalia

we can see its importance from the geographical location. In view of this, Somalia became another focus of contention between the two superpowers of the United States and the Soviet Union during the cold war. The United States and the Soviet Union have sought their own agents in Somalia, actively supported local factions and provided them with weapons, equipment, food and other supplies. The rival factions fighting for control of the country continue to receive a large supply of advanced weapons, resulting in the annual scuffle among the warlords in Somalia. For them, whether the Soviet Union or the United States, as long as they swear allegiance to one of them, they can bring themselves a lot of bullets and supplies. They think this is enough. As a result, the situation in Somalia is more chaotic and unpredictable.

with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the cold war dissipated, but the war in the country intensified. In 1991, the regime of the Marxist leader Seward Barre collapsed, leaving a power vacuum, and the country’s 14 factions scrambled to fill it. It’s still hard to take advantage of these factions to build alliances with each other, even though they are still difficult to control each other. Warlords for their own rights, regardless of the domestic people, many women and children have become the victims of their competition. By the time television crews arrived in the country to film the spreading disaster, 500000 Somalis had died of hunger and another 1 million were threatened with death.

Somalia has attracted extensive attention of the international community. On April 24, 1992, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 751. Accordingly, the “United Nations Operation in Somalia” was established. Its purpose is to relieve the hungry and take actions such as humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping and social reconstruction. However, the operation faces many difficulties and challenges. Many materials such as food and medicine for humanitarian relief are often robbed and plundered by local armed elements.

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and “providing rescue operations” have been carried out for six consecutive months, and more than 28000 tons of supplies have been transported by air. However, the security environment in the country is still deteriorating, which seriously hinders the rescue work. In November, a ship carrying urgently needed relief supplies was attacked in the port of Mogadishu, forcing the United Nations to change the method of relief operations. On December 3, 1992, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 794, which contains all the purposes of resolution 751 previously adopted, and adds a key content, that is, the above actions seek to maintain law and order in that devastated country in accordance with Chapter 7 of the Charter of the United Nations. Resolution 751 is based on Chapter 6 of the United Nations Charter and declares it a peacekeeping operation. Chapter 7 deals with the enforcement of peace, which is purely a preventive action.

on the day after the adoption of resolution 794, President Bush announced the implementation of “Operation Restore Hope”. Since then, the “United Nations Special Forces” has replaced the “United Nations Operation in Somalia”. The “United Nations Special Forces” are composed of international forces, of which the U.S. Army accounts for a large part and carries out military command. In essence, it is a joint peacekeeping operation led by the United States. So far, US peacekeeping operations have become legitimate and reasonable.

the US military helicopter

shot down by Somali armed forces. What purpose does the United States want to achieve under the banner of peacekeeping and under the pretext of implementing humanitarian relief?

first of all, the United States is to act as an “international leader”. After the end of the cold war, the United States has become the only superpower in the world. The United States strongly wants to dominate the world. In particular, the victory of the Gulf War has strengthened this belief of the United States. The increasingly grim situation in Somalia provides such an opportunity for the United States. If the United States can handle the Somali issue well, its international influence and recognition will rise accordingly. Why not? What’s more, the local warlords in Somalia are not the opponents of the United States at all. Why doesn’t the U.S. military take action?

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