On January 26, 1991, the United Somali Congress; led by their Chairman, General Mohamed Farrah Hassan Caydiid; overthrew the Communist regime of Somali Democratic Republic President Mohamed Siyaad Barre. On January 23, 1992; acting under Chapter III of the June 26, 1945 Charter of the United Nations; the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 733, placing a “general and complete” arms embargo on Somalia.
On April 24, 1992; under the authority of the March 17, 1992 United Nations Security Council Resolution 746; United Nations Security Council Resolution 751 established the United Nations Operation in Somalia [or UNOSOM], consisting 54 military of observers and 893 military personnel that arrived in Somalia’s capital city of Mogadishu with the adoption of Resolution 767 on July 24, 1992.
On December 3, 1992; acting under the authority of Chapters VII and VIII of the United Nations Charter; the United Nations Security council unanimously adopted Resolution 794. On the evening of December 4, 1992, in an address to the nation, 41st President of the United States George Herbert Walker Bush I launched Operation Restore Hope, creating the Unified Task Force [or UNITAF] on December 5, 1992. UNITAF was a multinational force composed of 37,000 personnel from 24 different countries, with the United States contributing 25,000 personnel. Operation Restore Hope began on December 6, 1992 with reconnaissance of Mogadishu’s Aadan Abdulle Osman Daar International Airport by the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group [or NSWDG] and the United States Navy Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen [or SWCC].
On March 9, 1993, UNITAF troops arrived in Mogadishu. Simultaneously, the United States Marine Corps One Marine Expeditionary Force’s 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit [or MEU]; a Marine Air Ground Task Force [or MAGTF] of 2,200 personnel; performed an amphibious assault into Mogadishu from the Iwo Jima-class Landing Platform Helicopter [or LPH] USS Tripoli, the Austin-class Landing Platform Dock [or LPD] USS Juneau and the Whidbey Island-class Landing Ship Dock [or LSD] USS Rushmore; and the II Marine Expeditionary Force [or MEF] 3rd Marine Division’s 9th Marine Regiment 2nd Battalion of 1,200 Marines performed raids on Aadan International Airport and the Mogadishu International Port. The 3rd Battalion 9th Marines’ India Company, the 11th Marine Regiment’s 3rd Battalion and the 1st Marine Division’s 7th Marine Regiment 1st Battalion of 1,000 Marines; supported by the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion [or AABN], 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing [or MAW] Marine Aircraft Group 39 [or MAG]’s Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267 [or HMLA] and Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 164 [or HMM], Marine Aircraft Group 16’s Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 361 [or HMH], and the United States Army XVIII Airborne Corps’ 10th Mountain Division Light Infantry; secured Iscia Baydhabo, the capitol city of Somalia’s Baay region, Kismaayo, the largest city and commercial capital of Somalia’s Dooxada Jubbada region, and Baardheere City in the Geedo region. 43 American soldiers were killed and 153 wounded in Operation Restore Hope. 3 Italians, I Australian, 3 Belgians, 1 Malaysian and 1 Greek deployed in UNITAF were also killed. On March 26, 1993; under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter; United Nations Security Council Resolution 814 established an extension of the United Nations Operation in Somalia [or UNOSOM II], including 22,000 troops and 8,000 logistic and civilian staff, with the United States providing 1,167 troops.
UNITAF was dissolved on May 4, 1993.
On June 5, 1993 24 Pakistani soldiers were ambushed and killed and 56 troops were injured, including 1 Italian and 3 Americans, by militia forces under orders from United Somali Congress Chairman Mohamed Caydiid. The troops had been tasked with the inspection of an arms cache located in a Caydidd-controlled area of Mogadishu; and on June 6, 199; under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 837, calling for the arrest and prosecution of Caydiid. On June 12, 1993, United States troops began a campaign of attacking targets in Mogadishu in hopes of finding Caydiid and on June 17, 1993, the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia, United States Navy Admiral Jonathan Howe, issued a $25,000 warrant for information leading to the arrest of Caydiid.
On July 12, 1993, 763 Somali men women and children were killed and more than 100 were wounded when several buildings were destroyed in a United States helicopter attack on a what was believed to be a safe house Caydiid was believed to be occupying; and English photojournalist Daniel Eldon, Hansi Krauss of the Associated Press, and Hosi Maina and Anthony Macharia of Reuters were stoned and beaten to death by mobs of angry Somalis after the survivors of the raid went to the journalists hotel requesting them to investigate the incident.
On August 8, 1993, four United States soldiers were killed by a remote controlled bomb detonated by Caydiid’s militia forces. Two weeks later, another bomb injured seven more. On August 22, 1993, 42nd President of the United States William Clinton launched Operation Gothic Serpent. Task Force Ranger; composed of the 75th Ranger Regiment’s 3rd Ranger Battalion, the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment Delta [or SFODD] and the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group [or NSWDG]; flew to Mogadishu with the Unites States Army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Airborne and the 24th Special Tactics Squadron and began a manhunt for Caydiid.
On September 21, 1993, the Delta Force captured Osman Hassan Ali Atto, Caydiid’s financier. On September 25, 1993, Caydiid’s forces shot down an Igor Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation UH-60 Black Hawk from the 101st Airborne Division with a shoulder-fired Rocket-Propelled Grenade [or RPG] near Mogadishu, killing three crew members.
On the afternoon of Sunday October 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger sent 19 aircraft from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment Airborne and 160 men to arrest Omar Sala Elmi, Caydiid’s Foreign Minister, and Mohamed Hassan Awale, Caydiid’s top political advisor. Ranger Private First class Todd Blackburn suffered an injury to his head and back of his neck when he fell 70 feet (21 meters) from a hovering MH-60 Black Hawk to the street. 3rd Ranger Battalion Sergeant Dominick Pilla was killed by a Somali combatant. 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment MH-60 Super Six One was shot down by a Somali combatant using a rocket propelled grenade, killing pilot Warrant Officer Clifton Wolcott and copilot Warrant Officer Donovan Briley; and Delta Force Staff Sergeant Daniel Busch was killed defending the two wounded Crew Chiefs and Delta Force Sergeant Jim Smith. Delta Forces Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart were killed securing MH-60 Super 64; also shot down by an RPG, killing copilot Raymond Frank and Staff Sergeants William Cleveland and Thomas Field; and its pilot, Warrant Officer Michael Durant, was taken hostage by Caydiid’s militia and beaten violently after killing more than 25 Somalis. In all 18 United States soldiers were killed and another 73 were wounded. One Pakistani soldier was killed and two were wounded. One Malaysian soldier, Lance Corporal Mat Aznan Awang was killed when his Rheinmetall Condor was hit by an RPG, and seven were injured. 2,000 Somali militiamen were killed, and another 4,000 wounded. On October 6, 1993, Delta Force Sergeant first Class Matt Rierson was killed Caydidd’s militia launched a mortar strike on a United States compound; and President Clinton directed United States Navy Admiral David Jeremiah, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to cease all military actions by United States forces against Caydiid.
On December 15, 1993, President Clinton announced the resignation of 18th Unites Sates Secretary of Defense Leslie Aspin. On December 16, 1993, President Clinton launched Joint Task Force United Shield, the 24th Infantry Division, which arrived on February 7, 1994 and began to withdraw ONOSOM forces. President Clinton appointed Robert Oakley Special Envoy to Somalia and announced that all United States forces would withdraw from Somalia no later than March 31, 1994.
On March 6, 1994, the United Nations Operation in Somalia ended when all remaining United Nations troops were withdrawn. Most United States troops were out of the country by March 25, 1994.
On April 24, 1994, Butrus Ghali, 6th Secretary-General of the United Nations, declared the United Nations mission a defeat.
As American author and educator William Cosby writes in his 1991 book “Childhood”:
“I told you that story to tell you this one.”
People, me included, remember the 1990’s as a period of peace and prosperity for the United States. However, that is in no small part due to the fact that the Battle of Mogadishu on October 3, 1993; what is regarded to have been the greatest United States foreign policy blunder since the Gulf of Tonkin on August 2, 1964 until the invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003; made the Bill Clinton administration highly reticent to intervene in any other overseas crises, namely the Rwandan Genocide of April 7, 1994.
The United States suffered what is unarguably an ever more tragic blunder with George Walker Bush Junior’s unilateral invasion of Iraq, which cost the lives of 4,487 United States forces; with 32,226 wounded; and 655,000 Iraqi civilians dead.
What I see in the foreign policy of George W. Bush’s successor, 44th President of the United States Barack Obama, is a similar reticence; following his December 15, 2011 withdrawal of all United States forces from Iraq; to President’s Clinton’s post-Somalia.
For example, when 4th President of the Arab Republic of Egypt Muhammad Mubarak was overthrown on February 11, 2011, President Obama declared as early as January 25th that the United States would not play any part in the Egyptian Revolution. Likewise, when Muammar Gaddafi was killed on October 23, 2011, President Obama; without regard to the overwhelming unpopularity of his decision among Bush-era neoconservatives, permitted France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain to take the lead in in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization [or NATO]’s efforts to enforce the March 17, 2011 United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973. Once again, when 4th President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych was ousted on February 23, 2014, knowing that doing so could spark off a military confrontation with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, President Obama decided that the United States would not intervene in the Ukrainian Revolution.
And even with the full knowledge that the same Taliban who harbored Saudi Arabian petrochemical multi-billionaire Osama Bin Laden and the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization that attacked the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on the morning of September 11, 2001 is in the process of taking over the government of nuclear-armed Pakistan; President Obama has made clear his intention to follow through on the obligations made by his predecessor and withdraw all United States troops from the country of Afghanistan by the end of December 2014.
The tragedy in Mogadishu came as a rude awakening to most Americans, who under President George Walker Bush I had seen only American military victory in Operation Desert Shield on August 2, 1990 and Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991. President Clinton recognized this, and so deemphasized the use of American military power overseas for the last seven years of his Presidency. Clinton instead turned his attention to making the 1990’s what those of us who grew up during them remember them as being: The longest period of economic prosperity since the administration of 34th President Dwight Eisenhower in the post-Second World War 1950’s. President Clinton left office on January 20, 2001 with the first balanced budget, and biggest budget surplus, in recorded history.
President Obama came into office on January 20, 2009 presiding over a nation that had grown weary after more than seven years since the beginning of George W. Bush Junior’s October 7, 2001 invasion of Afghanistan and nearly six years of bloody and costly war in Iraq. Like Clinton before him, President Obama recognized that the attention of the American public who had elected him on November 4, 2008 had turned inward. So Obama devoted the first two years of his first term to the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [or ARRA] of 2009; which in June 2009 put an end to the “Great Recession” of 2007 and 2008 that he had inherited; and the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act [or PPACA] of 2010, which extended health insurance coverage to more than 90% of all Americans. In his first term in office, President Obama also managed to cut the more than $1.4 Trillion-dollar budget deficit that he had inherited from his predecessor more than in half to $600 billion by the time of his reelection on November 6, 2012. The ARRA of 2009 increased American Gross Domestic Product [or GDP], created millions of new private-sector working-class jobs, and reduced the nation’s unemployment rate. By the time of his second inauguration of January 21, 2013, President Obama had reduced the double-digit unemployment rate of his first year in office to one lower than that when he first ran for President in 2008.
Is the lesson to be drawn, perhaps, as late 19th century Swiss analytical psychotherapist Carl Jung wrote in the early 20th century?
“Who look outside, Dreams. Who looks inside, Awakens.”