"My Clan Against the World": US and Coalition Forces in Somalia, 1992-1994
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS COMBAT STUDIES INST
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American participation in the international humanitarian mission to Somalia is best remembered today as a well-intentioned venture that somehow went terribly wrong. To most Americans, this endeavor reflected both the nobility and naivety of US foreign policy impulses and was a poignant reminder of how little we understand distant cultures and the motives that animate people whose societal values are removed from our own. Prompted first of all by compelling video images of emaciated mothers and children in a country ravaged by unbridled civil war, the mission to Somalia took US military personnel on a completely unforeseen and bewildering ascent along the spectrum of violence. This study will focus on the major aspects of the Somalia mission. It will discuss the Somalis, their history, their collective experiences, and their outlook. It will also review the missions logic and evolution at each successive stage. These mark not only a chronological division of the mission but also discrete periods entailing varying strategic approaches and entirely different sets of leaders and units. The initial UN-sponsored humanitarian mission, the UN Operation in Somalia UNOSOM I, gave way in late 1992 to a potent US-led peacekeeping force referred to as the Unified Task Force. Then, in May 1993, another UN force, UNOSOM II, took over with an expanded nation-building mandate but with a less robust capability with which to implement it. Through each phase of the Somali adventure, this study will consider the roles of joint and multinational commands as well as individual military units conducting tactical operations on the ground. In addition, it will identify and examine critical insights gained from the mission to Somalia, especially as they pertain to a range of military issues from command and control to military operations in an urban environment to coping with clan-based factions in collapsed states.
- Unconventional Warfare