The Somali Civil War is the term given to an ongoing collection of wars and conflicts that began on November, 1983. While it is known as the Somali civil war only three of the four conflicts involved the Somali government as the fourth conflict took place without the involvement of the Republic Of Somalia's government.
The first stage of the Somali Civil War was a revolution by three major groups in Somalia inspired by the example of Somaliland. Despite the fact that the Somali army had a massive numerical advantage, the rebels were determined to achieve their independence. The war would turn out to be a massive mistake for the weakend Somali central government.
The Somali government had been oppressing the Islamic majority in Jubaland since the early 1980's and the government was keen to continue its program of oppression and total control. However the independence movement in Somaliland saw Doomsday as the perfect way to gain independence with the country declaring sovereignty on the 1st of November. The regions of Puntland and Jubaland both declared their independence three days later and Somali troops invaded both regions on the 12th of November. Jubaland and Puntland were both unprepared for fighting a war with a fully armed and well trained army and both countries suffered heavy losses in the first week of the war, Puntland didn't want a full scale war so they surrendered on the 2nd of February 1984 in exchange for full autonomy. Somaliland forces would continue to operate out of Puntland until the end of the war, though.
With Puntland effectively removed from the war the Somali army was blocked off from Somaliland unless the wanted to risk another war with Puntland so on the 3rd of May the Somali and Somaliland governments signed a peace treaty granting Somaliland independence. Dissolution at this led to a group of 15 US officers and some Somali army units defecting to Puntland but it had no major effect on the Somali army as a fighting force and by June 1984 Somali forces had ocupied and crushed Jubaland.
The war showed up several weaknesses in Somalia but more importantly led to the establishment of Somaliland and Puntland, Less than a year after the first revolution the second conflict of the Somali Civil War would break out as an attempt by Puntland to gain full independence. The Somali revolution would prove to be Siad Barre's first and most major mistake and is considered the reason that Somalia ceased to exist as a fully united country.
The Disintegration of Somalia
The Disintegration of Somalia was part of the four wars that are collectively known as the Somali Civil War. It was the second longest and bloodiest of the four wars and ended with Somalia no longer existing as a sovereign state and the government's control being limited to some areas in the east of Somalia. Over 100,000 soldiers, pilots and sailors would die as would nearly a quarter of a million civilians.
The Disintegration Of Somalia began on March the 16th 1985 when Somali troops moved into Puntland in preparation for invading Somaliland, Puntland's government viewed this as a breach of the terms of their autonomy and declared war on Somalia. Soon half of the entire Somali army was moving north to Puntland and several tribal groups began a campaign of guerrilla warfare.
The Somali army soon occupied southern Puntland but the army was only able to make smaller gains against the tribes and soon the army units in Puntland were withdrawn to deal with the rebels. Puntland was therefore able to take back its southern territories and started advancing into mainland Somalia. The Somali government was forced to introduce conscription which further deepened the moral of the population and several other tribal groups declared their independence. However the Somali Army was able to crush these rebellions by late 1986 and was again moving in on Puntland. Desperate for help Puntland handed over control of the Sanaag and Sool regions to Somaliland in exchange for Somaliland entering the war on Puntlands side.
With help from Somaliland Puntland was finally cleared of Somali troops and they began pushing into mainland Somalia. The combined forces broke through the Somali lines until they reached the town of Gaalkacyo where the northern part of the Somali Air Force was based. If the air base and town could be gained by Puntland it would allow them control of the skies and would be a catastrophic defeat for Somalia. On the 17th of December 1987 armoured forces from Somaliland and Puntland totaling 100 Tanks, over 100 IFV's and around 2,000 Mechanised Infantry in APC's followed by 8,000 Infantry and 10,000 Militiamen moved in on the town which was garrisoned by 40,000 Infantry, 20,000 Militiamen and around 150 Tanks. Knowing that if the Tanks and IFV's reached the town the Somali infantry would be able to do little damage. The Somali Army moved out all 150 Tanks backed up by some Anti-Tank platoons. The two tank forces were due to meet on the fields near the air field where Somali tanks were dug in and waiting for those of Puntland and Somaliland. However, the attack never came as the Puntland force had bypassed the town and broken through the weakened Somali lines elsewhere. By the time the Somali forces realised their mistake it was too late as the town was already in Puntland's hands and they surrendered. With a much larger mechanised army and a proper air force Puntland was now able to start securing its territory and despite three attempts by the Somali government, they were never able to retake the town and by 1990 rebellions across Somalia reduced the government's influence to an area near the border with Ethiopia.
The Tribal War period of the Somali Civil war lasted from 1990 until 2005 when the Confederation of African Marxist Countries (Led by Ethiopia) intervened. Fighting took place between Puntland, Somaliland, The Islamic Courts Union and the Republic of Somalia as well as a variety of Tribal groups. Although direct casualties from the war were low, it indirectly caused the death of over half a million Somalis through starvation and disease.
The War had its origins in the disintegration of Somalia in the late 1980's. The remainder of the Somali Government under the name of the Republic of Somalia tried several times to retake its old lands but was fought off by the Islamic Courts Union and other tribal organisations. Throughout the war Puntland and Somaliland fought in several skirmishes for control of the disputed provinces and the ICU tried to exert its influence by carrying out raids on the "Christian Devils" in Ethiopia.
From the beginning of the Tribal wars the Islamic Courts Union had sent fundamentalists into neighboring Ethiopia to cause damage and discontent. The leader of Ethiopia's military Ligan Lopez urged the President to intervene but Ethiopia was still in a major war with Eritrea and even after the war ended both countries were undergoing a major program of rebuilding. More importantly, however, was the fact that Lopez had led Ethiopia into the war with Eritrea and was still disliked by the countries hierarchy for it.
However, even Ethiopia's most conservative politicians couldn't ignore what happened on the 14th of March 2005. ICU militants made it to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa with a car filled with explosives and were planning to blow up the Presidential Palace. Luckily they were stopped by Ethiopian military units but the event sparked anger within Ethiopia and on the 16th of March the Ethiopian part of the CAMC Rapid Response Force invaded the areas of Somalia controlled by the ICU.