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close this bookThe Somali Conflict (Oxfam)
close this folderPart III: Mogadishu: peace-enforcement
View the document1. The internationalisation of the Somali conflict
View the document2. The politics of UNOSOM II
View the document3. Conclusions
View the document4. District councils
View the document5. Humanitarian issues: NGOs and UNOSOM II

1. The internationalisation of the Somali conflict

The killing of 24 Pakistani UN peace-keeping troops in Mogadishu on 5 June 1993 ushered in a new round of violence in Somalia. The repercussions of that incident continue to reverberate. Between then and the time of writing, over 50 UN personnel have been killed and several hundred Somalis, including many women and children. While concern has been expressed that too much attention is focused on Mogadishu, to the detriment of the rest of the country, the conflict between UNOSOM and General Aideed, and a solution to that conflict, are critically important for future progress in peace and reconciliation in Somalia. The conflict dominates the thinking of the UN; it priorities the military rather than humanitarian role of UNOSOM; it consumes vast amounts of resources, and reinforces a negative perception of Somalia which is affecting donors. It may also have repercussions on other UN peace-keeping operations in the world. There is therefore a need to understand why the conflict has arisen. The following is an attempt to document the events which led up to the incident on 5 June, and its aftermath.

1.1 'Operation Lost Hope'

The UN Security Council Resolution (794) that authorised the intervention of the US-led, UN International Task Force (UNITAF) in Somalia in December 1992 provided 'Operation Restore Hope' (ORH) with the limited mandate to create a 'secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian relief'. Critical assessments of ORH have argued that, while delivery of food was improved, the operation failed to address wider problems in the country (African Rights, May 1993; Africa Watch, March 1993). Security declined in many areas, little progress was made on disarming the 'warlords' and gunmen, and the underlying political conflict was held in abeyance. The potential for substantial conflict remained, as was evident in the massacre of over 100 people of the Harti clans in Kismayo in February 1993, and in the re-capture of Kismayo by the SNF forces of General Morgan under the very eyes of the UN peace-keepers. The 'quick fix' solution of military intervention was itself creating long-term problems.

ORH was first and foremost a military operation with humanitarian objectives. Limited attention was given to longer-term political and humanitarian needs. The operation was initially welcomed by many Somalis. But with such a substantial force, local expectations of the intervention were more than the mere securing of routes for relief supplies. Its failure to do any more than this left many Somalis feeling bitter that their restored hopes had been betrayed.

The convening, in March 1993, of a Conference on Humanitarian Assistance, followed by a Conference on National Reconciliation, and a plan for UNITAF to hand over to a broader civilian and military operation (UNOSOM II) in May, provided an opportunity for the UN operation in Somalia to change its emphasis.

1.2 The Addis Ababa Conference on Humanitarian Assistance

In March 1993 two conferences were convened in Addis Ababa, which were intended, according to the UN, to build upon the 'dramatic changes' brought about by ORH. On 11 March, donors gathered at the Third Coordination Meeting for Humanitarian Assistance to Somalia, to discuss a request from the Department of Humanitarian Affairs (DHA) for $166.5 million, to fund a ten-month programme of relief and rehabilitation in Somalia. The UN received pledges of $142 million. Among the major donors were the EC with $43 million, the USA with $30 million, and Germany with $20 million.

1.3 The Addis Ababa Conference on National Reconciliation

The donors' meeting was followed on 15 March by a Conference on National Reconciliation. Many hopes were placed on this conference. Since January 1991, there had been three internationally sponsored reconciliation conferences, and several locally brokered meetings. If this one was to fail, people wondered whether there would be another chance.

Before it started, the Addis Ababa meeting came under criticism. The main concern was that the signatories at the conference were to be 15 political leaders, the 'warlords', who in the eyes of many Somalis were criminals, responsible for much of the suffering in Somalia. UNITAF, out of a need to protect its own forces, had sought the cooperation of the warlords, thus conferring on them a measure of legitimacy. Their participation in the Addis Ababa meeting would legitimise them further.

In response to these concerns, attempts were made to broaden representation at the conference. At least half of the 250 intellectuals, clan elders, religious leaders, women, and artists invited to the conference fell outside the narrow confines of the political factions. This broader participation was, in part, the result of efforts by some non-governmental peace institutes, such as the Life and Peace Institute (LPI), which sponsored a number of individual Somalis and NGOs to attend. Scheduling the Reconciliation Conference after the donor conference on humanitarian assistance also meant that a larger number of observers were present. In the end, however, it was the 15 factional leaders who signed the final agreement on 27 March 1993.

Somali African Mukti Organisation (SAMO) - Mohamed R. Arbow
Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA) - Mohamed F. Abdullahi
Somali Democratic Movement (SDM) - Abdi Musse Mayow
Somali Democratic Movement (SDM/SNA) - Mohamed Nur Alio
Somali National Democratic Union (SNDU) - Ali Ismail Abdi
Somali National Front (SNF) - Gen. Omar Haji Mohamed
Somali National Union (SNU) - Mohamed Rajis Mohamed
Somali People's Movement (SPM) - Gen. Aden Abdullahi Nur 'Gabiyo'
Somali People's Movement (SPM/SNA) - Ahmed Hashi Mahamoud 'Jess'
Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF) - Gen. Mohamed A. Musse
Southern Somali National Movement (SSNM) - Abdi Warsame Issaq
United Somali Congress (USC/SNA) - Gen. Mohamed Farah H. Aideed
United Somali Congress (USC) - Mohamed Qanyare Afrah
United Somali Front (USF) - Abdurahman Dualeh Ali
United Somali Party (USP) - Mohamed Abdi Hashi

The Addis Ababa Agreement reaffirmed the January 1993 agreement on a cease-fire and disarmament, and established agreement on the formation of 'transitional mechanisms' for the restoration of political and administrative structures. In particular it agreed upon the formation of (a) a Transitional National Council (TNC), with legislative functions; (b) Central Administrative Departments, to reestablish civil administration; (c) Regional Councils in 18 regions of the country; and (d) District Councils in all districts of the country.

The TNC is to comprise three representatives (to include one woman) from each of the 18 regions, five seats for Mogadishu, and one seat for nominees of each of the 15 factions present in Addis Ababa. This structure would be effective for two years. Four committees for Charter Drafting, the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, and Cease-fire and Disarmament were also established. A charter for the TNC was to be ready for approval at the second session of National Reconciliation on 8 June. The TNC was expected to be established by 1 July 1993.

The agreement also stated that the TNC would be the 'sole repository' of Somali sovereignty. This angered the SNM, who assumed observer status at the meeting, because it contradicted the wishes of those in Somaliland, involved at that time in their own National Reconciliation Conference at Boroma. Concern was also expressed at the legitimacy of those signatories (USP and SDA) purporting to speak for the non-Issaq clans of Somaliland, whose other representatives were also meeting in Boroma.

It has also been commented that the Addis Ababa agreement was 'so full of ambiguities' that any signatory who wished to repudiate it would have no difficulty in finding a pretext to do so (African Rights, May 1993). During the conference, fighting erupted in Kismayo between the forces of the SNF and the SPM. The fact that this could happen during the conference gave little hope that the signatories would stick to the agreements. Interestingly, one of the main complaints of Somalis (of different leanings) is that it has been UNOSOM which has repudiated the Addis Ababa agreements, by not implementing them.

While the Addis Ababa conference provided a framework for national reconciliation, insufficient time was allotted to determine clear mechanisms for implementing the agreements. In fact, the meeting was originally scheduled to finish on 23 March. Before an agreement was signed, the newly appointed Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), Admiral Howe, the newly appointed US special envoy, Robert Gosende, and the Head of Political Affairs in UNOSOM, Kapungo, returned to Mogadishu. The task of overseeing the drafting of the final agreement was left to the Deputy SRSG, Ambassador Lansana Kouyate. With the assistance of the Ethiopian government and the Standing Committee on the Horn of Africa, the meeting was extended for a further five days to allow time for the signatories to reach this final agreement.

Observers of the conference have very different perceptions of its outcome. It is alleged that when Kapungo returned to Mogadishu, from his analysis of the conference he proposed to the Secretary General that the peace process should be widened, in order to marginalise the warlords. A different version purports that Aideed 'performed well' and proved to be the only person with leadership potential. It is further alleged that this version of events was vehemently rejected by others, particularly US advisers in UNOSOM, who had decided there was no future role for Aideed.

Whichever version of events is correct, the lack of clarity in the mechanisms for implementing the agreements hampered the ability of the UN to build upon any progress made at Addis Ababa. This was critical, as the Addis Ababa conference was staged to coincide with a critical juncture in the UN programme in Somalia, when UNITAF was preparing to hand over responsibility to the UN-led administration, UNOSOM II.

The conflict that erupted at the beginning of June 1993 seems to have arisen from several factors:

1. confusion during the handover from UNITAF to UNOSOM and a change in the mandate of the UN in Somalia;

2. lack of clarity in the mechanisms for implementing the Addis Ababa agreement;

3. the fact that the UN set the agenda and pace of the post-Addis Ababa reconciliation process;

4. a re-alignment among the political factions, jockeying for positions in the new TNC and jobs with UNOSOM;

5. perceived bias within the UN/US body against Aideed's faction, and attempts by the UN to marginalise Aideed;

6. perceived preferential treatment by the UN of other politico-military leaders.

1.4 UNOSOM II and a New Mandate

On 26 March 1993 the UN Security Council invoked Chapter VII of the UN Charter and unanimously adopted Resolution 814 (93) to expand the UN's role in Somalia, under a UN administration to be called UNOSOM II. By this resolution the security council approved the expansion of the multi-lateral force to 28,000 peace-keepers, with 8,000 logistic personnel, through to 31 October 1993. The budget for the military operation was $1.5 billion, making it the most expensive UN peace-keeping operation ever.

UNOSOM II has a two-year mandate, which will expire in February 1995. The objectives of the operation, as defined in Resolution 814, are to assist in the provision of relief and economic rehabilitation, promote political reconciliation and the maintenance of peace and stability, and to assist in the re-establishment of national and regional political and civil administrations in the entire country.

The formulation of UNOSOM II signalled a significant change in the UN's approach to Somalia. Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, UNOSOM II was given powers of 'peaceenforcement', above those given to UNITAF. This enabled those in charge of UNOSOM to opt for force when 'international peace and security' were threatened, rather than normal rules of engagement which would limit UN military action to self-defence.

A further change from the UNITAF mission was the requirement that UNOSOM troops should be deployed throughout Somalia, not only in the south. While the Force Commander of UNOSOM II was required to take account of 'particular circumstances in each locality', UNOSOM II was given powers vastly in excess of those assumed for the US-led UNITAF intervention.

While Somalia was not placed under UN trusteeship, UNOSOM was given, de facto, international authority to make decisions for and on behalf of the Somali people. The problem is that in this process individuals and interested parties, under the UN umbrella, have been able to make decisions on behalf of the Somali people. It is partly from this change of mandate that accusations by some Somalis that the UN is 'recolonising' Somalia arise. By invoking Chapter VII, the UN fundamentally changed the nature of its operation in Somalia. In this process, the goals of the UN operation and the Somali people have come into conflict.

Authorised under UN Chapter VII, UNOSOM II is a unique UN peace-keeping operation. With military forces from 27 different countries, it is the largest multilateral force ever used in peace-keeping operations. It is also the first time that the USA has placed its troops under the UN flag and command. The arrival of German soldiers in Somalia on 15 May 1993 was the first time in the history of the Federal Republic that German soldiers were operating outside NATO. Unlike other UNOSOM forces, they are operating under Chapter VI.

Somalia has become a test case for a 'new world order', in which the Western-led UN will have a role to impose peace through force. In the words of one Somali: 'The UN is working under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Is this used anywhere else in the world? There are no set formulas, principles or precedents to follow. We are witnessing trial and error. Much of it is error.'

1.5 Regional Peace Conferences and Political Re-alignments

After the Addis Ababa conference the factional leaders began to realign and strengthen their support bases in the run-up to the formation of the TNC, which was scheduled to meet in July 1993. In May two peace processes were initiated. One focused on Kismayo and the Lower and Middle Juba regions, and a second on Galkaiyo and the central regions of Mudug and Galgaduud. The Kismayo peace process, which eventually led to a peace agreement for 'Jubaland' (see Part IV below), was initiated and supported by UNOSOM. The one in the central regions appears to have been locally initiated and did not receive the support of UNOSOM.

In order to understand the significance of these conferences, it is necessary to recall that, after the overthrow of Siad Barre in 1991, two power blocs emerged in southern Somalia, centred on General Aideed and Ali Mahadi. The division between Aideed and Ali Mahadi had its roots in a dispute between the Manifesto Group of businessmen, politicians and intellectuals who sought to persuade Barre to hand over power peacefully, and the more radical military wing of General Aideed, who sought Barre's removal by force. When the UNITAF forces entered Somalia at the end of 1992, two broad alliances had been formed:4

(a) Ali Mahadi
USC (Abgal, Murosade)
SSDF (Majeerteen)
SPM (Ogaden)
SNF (Marehan)
USP (Dolbahunte, Warsengeli)
SDA (Gadabursi)

(b) Aideed
USC (Hater Gedir, Xawadle, Galjaal)
SPM (Ogaden)
SDM (Dighil, Rahanweyne)
SSNM (Dir, Biyamal)
SAMO (Bantu)

The latter bloc (b), under Aideed, was known as the Somali National Alliance (SNA).

Militarily, Aideed and Ali Mahadi had fought each other to a stand-still in four months of brutal warfare in Mogadishu between 1991 and 1992. After a UNbrokered cease-fire in May 1992, the inter-clan fighting was mainly restricted to southern Somalia, between Aideed's SNA alliance and the SNF. In December 1992, when UNITAF intervened, Aideed was said to be losing ground, having overextended his forces. The SNF, reconstituted under Morgan, was beginning to regain some ground. On the eve of the UNITAF intervention the SNF captured Bardheere. It is suggested that Aideed welcomed the US-led intervention as a means of shoring up his diminishing power base. In March 1993 this was further weakened when the SNF recaptured Kismayo.

On 24 and 25 March 1993, during the Addis Ababa conference, fighting broke out in Mogadishu between the Habr Gedir and Abgal. This is said to have arisen from pressure exerted on Aideed by factions that had regrouped under Ali Mahadi. During the Addis Ababa conference the SDM split into three. The loss of the SDM (Digil-Mirifle) further weakened the SNA alliance. Aideed's two-year mandate as USC Chairman was coming to an end, and was challenged by a call for a USC Central Committee meeting.5 The initiative was unsuccessful.

Diagram 4: Hawiye Genealogy ·

· Other clans associated with Hawiye are the Xawadle, Degodia, Galjaal, Garre, Hober, and Aurmale.

1.6 The Galkaiyo Conference and the Marginalisation of Aideed

Following the Addis agreement, elders in Mudug region, from the Habr Gedir, Majeerteen and Marehan (from Abudwak), initiated a process of reconciliation in Galkaiyo. Also involved in the process were the Lelkasse and Awrtabley (Darod). Aideed (Saad/Habr Gedir) and Abdillahi Yusuf (Rer Mahad/Omar Mahmoud/Majeerteen) of the SSDF, both of whose sub-clans come from Galkaiyo, gave their support to the meetings.

It is not clear where the initiative came from for this peace conference. One interpretation is that it was initiated by Aideed and Abdillahi Yusuf (the first leader of the SSDF, and since 1992 commander of the SSDF military), who met in Addis Ababa. Another interpretation is that it was initiated by the elders and hijacked by Aideed and Abdillahi Yusuf to strengthen their own support bases. Whatever the truth, the meeting was endorsed by both leaders. On 29 May 1993, Aideed called a meeting in Mogadishu to draft a peace agreement for the central and southern regions of the country. Under the impression that UNOSOM was supposed to provide support for such meetings, Aideed applied for financial and logistical support for the meeting.

UNOSOM, however, had not been involved in the Galkaiyo initiative and refused to recognise the conference as official, or support it. They were clearly concerned about Aideed's motives. They were suspicious that Aideed was prepared to bargain over Kismayo, in return for a settlement in Galkaiyo. They also objected to the participation of Omar Jess, who had been marginalised from the Kismayo meetings. This latter argument held little water with the supporters of Aideed, who saw UNOSOM using General Abshir (Chairman of SSDF) to broker the peace meetings on Kismayo.6

While the Galkaiyo and Kismayo conferences were in preparation, fighting took place in Kismayo between the SNF and the SPM. On 12 May, Admiral Howe criticised SPM/SNA for their attacks on Kismayo, stating that they were a violation of the Security Council Resolution 814 and the Addis Ababa accord. On 3 June 1993 Somali clan elders from the Kismayo area adopted a peace declaration for the Juba region.

The Galkaiyo meeting was concluded on 4 June in Mogadishu. According to Aideed, 227 people participated in the meeting, from the SSDF, SDNU (Lelkasse and Awrtabley), SNA and communities from Mudug, Nugaal and Bari regions. The meeting committed the participants to the return of property, the withdrawal of militia from Galkaiyo, and the opening of roads to traffic. (SWB 415/93)7

The meeting also resolved that UNOSOM should be asked to assist in the demobilisation of encamped militia and to store and maintain all 'technicals' (land cruisers, cut down and mounted with guns) that had been collected. The meeting was chaired by Dr Ali Ismail Abdi of the SNDU. Aideed reportedly concluded the meeting by urging delegates from Lower Juba to take seats at the negotiating table. (SWB 415/93)

At the same time, another conference was taking place in Karaan district of Mogadishu, involving Ali Mahadi (USC), General Abshir (SSDF), and Omar Moalim (Deputy Prime Minister to Ali Mahadi), Aden Abdille Osman (first Prime Minister of Somalia), and representatives from USC, SPM, SSDF, USF, USP, SDA, SAMO, SNF, SDM, and SNDU. (SWB 515/93) In contrast to the meeting called by Aideed, this meeting received the support of UNOSOM. It was concluded on 5 June.

In May, another dispute arose between Aideed and UNOSOM over attempts by the USC to set up a judiciary. They objected to UNOSOM's replacing a Habr Gedir General (All Kadir) with an Abgal (Jillao) as Chief of Police.

As a result of the preferential treatment shown by UNOSOM to the Ali Mahadi meeting, Aideed began to broadcast anti-UN propaganda. Aideed insisted that conferences aimed at pacifying areas in the centre and south were a Somali affair, for which the UN should provide the resources, but not the agenda. Through Mogadishu Radio, Aideed accused UNOSOM of opposing the implementation of the Addis agreement, rather than implementing it.

In the view of Aideed's people, after the Addis Ababa meeting, UNOSOM tried to set the pace and the agenda for political reconciliation in Somalia, and the form that new political structures, like the TNC, should take. This is not untrue. According to the Life and Peace Institute, UNOSOM Political Division was unhappy at the way in which the Addis Ababa meeting had further legitimised the warlords. It was their contention that a peace process should be broad-based and inclusive. At Addis Ababa it was agreed that the transitional committees should be composed of representatives of the 15 factions. The Political Division, in the interests of broadening the process, insisted that representation should be increased to 30.

From the perspective of Aideed's people, UNOSOM was therefore acting like a 'colonial power', deciding what process political negotiations should follow. This clearly threatened Aideed's own ambitions. His efforts in Galkaiyo may have been less to do with making peace than with a deliberately provocative attempt to challenge this assumption of 'colonial' authority by UNOSOM. UNOSOM were equally unsubtle. The speed at which they tried to push through negotiations and prevent Aideed from regaining a footing was at fault. Whatever crimes Aideed has committed (and in the eyes of many Somalis they are countless), there are other warlords who can equally be described as criminals. Trying to marginalise the warlords by forcing the pace of negotiations at the top, without enabling reconciliation at other levels to take place, had its inevitable consequences.

1.7 The 5 June Killings

There was much speculation that once the UN took over from UNITAF, General Aideed, who had never favoured UN military intervention, would try to test the new UN forces when UNOSOM II assumed control.

It is reported by those present in Mogadishu in May 1993 that the tension caused by these two meetings, expressed in the anti-UN rhetoric from the Aideed-controlled Radio Mogadishu, was such that conflict seemed inevitable. Perhaps mindful of the February riots in Mogadishu, stirred up by the recapture of Kismayo by the SNF, a contingent of UNOSOM troops entered Radio Mogadishu at 12 noon on 5 June, on what, according to some reports, was a staged operation and, according to UNOSOM, was a 'routine' weapons search to confiscate arms. Aideed was notified beforehand of the weapons search.

At the radio station the Pakistani peace-keepers met resistance from USC fighters. In the fight 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed, and an unknown number of Somalis. Six of the Pakistanis listed among the dead were killed away from the radio station, while overseeing food distribution at a feeding centre. Apparently unaware of what was happening at the radio station, they were pinned down by morijan (bandits) for five hours until their ammunition ran out. During this time, locals say that UNOSOM helicopters and vehicles passed by, but did nothing to assist them.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the killings of the soldiers, and a factor that has reinforced hardline opinion against Aideed, was the fact that many of the Pakistanis killed were badly mutilated. It is alleged that women were responsible for the mutilation.8

The UNOSOM action against Radio Mogadishu was seen by Aideed and his supporters as an attempt to interfere with those efforts to implement the peace resolutions reached on 4 June by leaders from Nugaal, Mudug and Galgaduud. Aideed accused UNOSOM of sabotaging the 'peace meeting'. Why didn't UNOSOM support the peace solution and why, instead, did they carry out this ugly act?', they asked. 'The country does not belong to UNOSOM ...'. (SWB 5/4/93)

1.8 The Significance of the Galkaiyo Conference

It is somewhat ironic, if not surprising, that the conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed arose over two such potentially important conferences. Kismayo, strategically and economically, is the second most important town after Mogadishu in the south. It has been fiercely fought over by the USC/SNA and the SSDF/SNF/SPM since 1991. Galkaiyo, which lies in the central rangelands region of Mudug on the main road connecting southern Somalia with the north, is also of critical importance. A historical political analysis of the Somali conflict suggests that, in many ways, an agreement in the central rangelands was more critical than Kismayo in the reconciliation process in Somalia.

Since independence, the clans which live in Mudug and Galgaduud region have been influential in Somali national politics. Here the Omar Mohamoud/Majeerteen, Habr Gedir/Hawiye, and Rer Koshin/Marehan share and compete over grazing lands. The coastal town of Hobbio was one of the first ports of entry for the Italians into Somalia, in 1889. Essentially a pastoral area, it is also one of the most underdeveloped of Somalia's regions. The Majeerteen and the Habr Gedir were some of the first to benefit from the education system introduced by the Italians, while the Marehan, smaller in number, were taken into the army.

In the first pre-independence Somali administration in 1956, the first Prime Minister, Abdillahi Issa Mohamed, was Habr Gedir Saad (related to Aideed). At independence Aden Abdulle Osman (Sheikal/Hawiye) became President, with Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke (Majeerteen) the Prime Minister. In 1964 Abdirizak Haji Hussein (Majeerteen) became Prime Minister, and Aden Abdulle Osman remained President. In 1967 Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal (Issaq) became Prime Minister and Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke President. The 1967 elections returned the same Prime Minister and President.

In 1969, General Mohamed Siad Barre (Rer Koshin/Marehan) overthrew the civilian government, and power passed into the hands of the Marehan. In 1977, Majeerteen colonels attempted to overthrow the Barre regime. Colonel Abdillahi Yusuf (Rer Mahad/Omar Mohamoud/Majeerteen from Galkaiyo) went on to form the SSDF. Most of the military activities of the SSDF took place in the central rangelands, where they captured Galdogob, 50 km from the Marehan town of Abudwak. General Aideed (Hater Gedir) commanded some of Somali forces in the central regions during the war against the SSDF in the late 1970s.

The Habr Gedir, Majeerteen and Marehan have therefore had central roles in Somali politics since independence. It has been suggested that Aideed's opposition to Ali Mahadi, who was a member of the Manifesto Group, in which several establishment figures from the Majeerteen were prominent, stems from a fear that the Habr Gedir would lose out to the Majeerteen (Darod)-Abgal alliance. From this perspective, the war between the Abgal and Habr Gedir, who have never fought before, was fuelled by this ancient conflict.

A settlement in Galkaiyo had potential to build a broader peace and reconciliation process in Somalia. The extent to which this would have happened can only be guessed. However, a significant factor in the process would have been the traditional relationship between the clans that occupy that area.

Marriage is most common between those clans who live closest together and share resources. Their relationships are defined by common xeer. Political alliances are also most likely between those who share a common xeer. The Habr Gedir Saad share common borders with the Omar Mahmoud, and in particular the Rer Mahad (Abdillahi Yusuf's lineage of the Majeerteen) and the Rer Koshin Marehan of Abudwak. The Habr Gedir and Xawadle also border each other in the Middle Shabelle and southern Galgaduud regions. Compared with the Habr Gedir and Abgal, who traditionally inhabit different locations, do not share common borders, and do not have an established xeer, reconciliation is probably more feasible among the Habr Gedir and the clans in the central regions around Galkaiyo.

These clans in the central regions also share a common resource. This is the Chinese road linking Beletweyne and Mogadishu with Bosasso. After the UNITAF intervention, the Xawadle and Habr Gedir lost control of Mogadishu port and airport. One can speculate therefore that, political motives aside, it was important for those clans in the Middle Shabelle, Galgaduud and Mudug regions to open the Chinese road and enable trade to resume to the north-eastern port of Bosasso. Motivating factors such as this would have been important in the Galkaiyo agreement. Since the agreement in Galkaiyo, traffic is moving between Bakara market in southern Mogadishu and Bosasso.

After the intervention of UNITAF, much of Aideed's heavy weaponry was moved into the central regions. In April, the area north-east of Beletweyne was reported to be full of technicals and tanks. The Marehan were said to be equipped with 12 tanks, 32 technicals, several anti-tank guns and artillery pieces, and 5,000 fighters. Aideed was said to have 6,000 men with technicals and tanks. A settlement in that region, potentially, could have been important to a disarmament programmed.9

Whether by default, design, or bad advice, the impression of Aideed and his supporters is that UNOSOM deliberately undermined the Galkaiyo meeting. The political furore this created in Mogadishu was evident from the radio transmissions emanating from the Aideed-controlled Radio Mogadishu and the UN-run Radio Manta at the end of May. It led directly to the confrontation between Aideed supporters and UNOSOM on 5 June.

UNOSOM may have made a critical mistake in under-estimating the importance of a settlement in that region. It is possible that if UNOSOM had reacted in a different way and had worked with the elders of that region, they may have achieved their apparent objective to marginalise Aideed, without bloodshed.

1.9 Resolution 837: from Peace-keeping to Peace-Enforcement

The killing of the 24 peace-keepers shocked international opinion. On 6 June 1993 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 837, strongly condemning the attacks on UN personnel in Mogadishu. Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, they authorised the Secretary General 'to take all necessary measures against all those responsible for the armed attacks, to establish the effective authority of UNOSOM II throughout Somalia [and to secure] their arrest and detention for prosecution'. The resolution called on member states to contribute military equipment to provide UNOSOM with the capability to deter armed attacks against it.

The details of the 5 June killings, the subsequent shooting of civilians by Pakistani troops, the retaliatory bombing by UNOSOM of Aideed's headquarters on 17 June and 'the house of Abdi' on 12 July (now known as 'Bloody Monday') have been documented in the press. In the bombing of Abdi's house a number of elders and businessmen, representing the Habr Gedir, Ogaden, Dir, Majeerteen, Murosade and Sheikal, were meeting to discuss dialogue with UNOSOM. The killing of these people prevented an early resolution to the conflict.

Some crucial questions have been raised over the UN's response to the 5 June incident (MSF France, 1993; African Rights, July 1993). To date, however, despite a number of critical internal documents on the affair, the UN has not provided adequate answers to these questions. Whatever opinion one holds of Aideed, one expects different standards of behaviour and accountability from the UN.

1.10 The Situation in Mogadishu as of August 1993

Since 5 June Mogadishu south has experienced a spiralling of violent conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed, with both parties accusing each other of heinous acts. The SRSG Admiral Howe (with dubious legality) offered a reward for information leading to the capture of Aideed, and Aideed in response offered a reward for the capture of 'Animal Howe'. The situation in Mogadishu has turned into an urban war of attrition between the UN and one faction in Somalia. In effect the civil war in Somalia has turned into an international conflict.

There were daily attacks by Aideed supporters on UNOSOM targets. On 8 August, four US marines were killed by a hand-operated mine in Mogadishu, and on 22 August a further six US peace-keepers were wounded by a land mine. These tactics, unacceptable by any standards, create heightened tension among UNOSOM troops who travel the roads. There was some evidence to suggest that Aideed was using children and women in the war against UNOSOM. In August an armoured personnel carrier (APC) was stopped by a crowd of children standing in front of it. They climbed on board and robbed one of the soldiers. UNOSOM troops no longer carry out any foot patrols, and travel only in convoy. The majority of UNOSOM military and civilian staff move around Mogadishu by helicopter.

The response of the UN to this situation was to strengthen their military presence. In August 1993 a further 48 APCs were imported. On 20 August, Secretary-General Boutros-Ghali called for a further 5,000 UN troops for Somalia. The USA deployed a further 400 elite Rangers and a contingent of the special Delta Force, with the aim of capturing Aideed. The aim was to create enough stability to enable the USA to withdraw its 4,000 troops 'with dignity'.

UNOSOM military operations against Aideed override all other concerns. Almost daily skirmishes between these two forces and the continual overflight of helicopters creates a repressive and frightening atmosphere for anyone living in Mogadishu. In the words of UNOSOM's humanitarian division, Mogadishu has taken on the appearance of a 'city under siege'. What signals are the United Nations sending to the Somali people?

Despite the vastly superior weaponry available to the UN and the presence of the 13,000 troops in Mogadishu, the UN do not appear to be winning the war. The failure of the US elite troops, the Rangers, and the special Delta 4 forces to capture Aideed has left the UN looking embarrassed. On 30 August, the UN was further embarrassed when the Delta Force launched a night-time raid on UNDP headquarters in Mogadishu, in the belief that it was an Aideed command and control centre. In the process they also destroyed property belonging to Oxfam (UK/I) and AICF (Aide Internationale Contre Le Faim). The conflict has also led to disputes within the UNOSOM operation itself (see section 2 below) In addition to the heavy loss of life, UNOSOM's actions have wreaked a lot of destruction. The National University, the vaccine factory, the cigarette and match factory, Radio Mogadishu, the Ministry of Livestock, and several other buildings have all been destroyed by UNOSOM in the name of security.

UNOSOM, and the United Nations, appear unmoved by criticism of their military operations in Mogadishu. After 'Bloody Monday', Ambassador David Shinn of the US State Department visited Mogadishu. Shinn left convinced that all was going well for UNOSOM. They claim to continue to have the support of the majority of the Somali population. This may have been true during the first raids on Aideed. It is clearly no longer true. The longer the military operation continues, the more they will alienate the Somali people and raise serious questions about their own accountability.

1.11 Inter-clan Conflict

The conflict between UNOSOM and Aideed has also resulted in an increase in interclan fighting. There are intermittent killings between Abgal and Habr Gedir, and NGO Somali staff are more cautious about travelling to different parts of the city. In early August 1993 a well-known Somali gynaecologist from southern Mogadishu was killed in north Mogadishu.

During the first two weeks of August 1993, there was an increase in inter-clan conflict around Afgoi, between the Murosade and Abgal and the Habr Gedir. The Habr Gedir are perceived to have been weakened by the actions of UNOSOM, and there were reports of Murosade attacking Habr Gedir trucks. As a result, Murosade living in the Bakara market area of Mogadishu were feeling increasingly vulnerable.

In July there was a outbreak of fighting in Brava and reports of clashes in middle Juba. In early September there was fighting in Qorioley. On 10 August there was fighting between Xawadle and Habr Gedir in south Mogadishu in which two people were killed. Later that day over 100 Somalis, many of them women and children, were killed when UNOSOM helicopters fired on crowds after Pakistani peacekeepers came under attack.

1.12 Negotiations

Following the killing of four US peace-keepers on 8 August 1993 by hand-operated mines, it was generally expected that UNOSOM would make further retaliatory strikes against Aideed. When this did not happen, there was speculation that UNOSOM might be involved in negotiations with Aideed.

It materialised that UNOSOM were attempting to start dialogue with Aideed up to the beginning of September 1993. Kouyate, the Deputy SRSG, is reported to have staked his position on being able to open a dialogue with Aideed, saying he would resign if the military would not allow him. In mid-August, through intermediaries, Kouyate was able to start a dialogue between UNOSOM and moderates in the USC/SNA.

The initial negotiating position of UNOSOM was that the USC should surrender Aideed and his new radio. In mid-August, Aideed received offers to go into exile from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen. He turned these down, suspecting in them a sign of the UN's weakness. He felt his position was strong and was prepared to remain in hiding in Mogadishu, using hit and run tactics against UNOSOM, until they tired and left. He staked his own negotiating position on the call for an independent enquiry, by international jurists, to investigate events since 5 June.

On 4 September it was reported that Aideed was ready to sign a deal with UNOSOM, to include a cease-fire and the formal opening of dialogue. It is said that Kouyate asked for another 24 hours in order to convince the military. On 5 September, seven Nigerian troops were killed. Since then, it is not clear whether any further negotiations have taken place, and the violence in Mogadishu has intensified.