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Encyclopedia > Ogaden War
Ogaden War
Part of Cold War
Date 1977-1978
Location Ogaden
Result Ethiopian victory
USA adopts Somalia as a Cold War client state
Combatants
Ethiopia
Cuba
South Yemen
Somalia
WSLF
Commanders
Mengistu Haile Mariam
Vasily Petrov[1][2]
Siad Barre
Strength
217,000 Ethiopians[citation needed]
1,500 Soviet advisors
15,000 Cubans
2,000 South Yemenis
SNA 60,000
WSLF 15,000
Casualties
Unknown 20,000 killed or wounded
1/2 of the Air Force was lost
Recent conflicts in the Horn of Africa
Eritrean War of IndependenceEthiopian Civil WarOgaden WarSomali Civil WarDjiboutian Civil War – Eritrean-Ethiopian War – Ethiopian war in Somalia

The Ogaden War was a conventional conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977 and 1978 over the Ogaden region of Ethiopia. Fighting erupted as Somalia sought to exploit a temporary shift in the regional balance of power in their favour to occupy the Ogaden region, claimed to be part of Greater Somalia. In a notable illustration of the nature of Cold War alliances, the Soviet Union switched from supplying aid to Somalia to supporting Ethiopia, which had previously been backed by the United States, prompting the U.S. to start supporting Somalia. The war ended when Somali forces retreated back across the border and a truce was declared. For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Ogaden (pronounced and often spelled OgadÄ“n) is a part of the Somali Region in Ethiopia. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Ethiopia_(1975-1987,_1991-1996). ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Cuba. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_South_Yemen. ...   Capital Aden Language(s) Arabic Government Socialist state President Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas Prime Minister Yasin Said Numan Historical era Cold War  - Independence November 30 1967  - UN membership December 14, 1967  - Constitution October 31, 1978  - Reunification May 22 1990 Area  - 1990 332,970 km2 Expression error: unrecognised punctuation character... Image File history File links Flag_of_Somalia. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Ogaden. ... Somali guerrilla activity in the Ogaden and in the Haud area east of Harer flared sporadically after Somalia gained its independence in 1960, but the guerrilla activity remained essentially a police concern until a border war erupted in 1964. ... Mengistu Haile Mariam Mengistu Haile Mariam (born 1937[1] [2]) is a Communist politician who was the President of Ethiopia from 1977 to 1991. ... Vasily Ivanovich Petrov (born January 15, 1917) was appointed Marshal of the Soviet Union in 1983. ... Mohamed Siad Barre (Somali: Maxamed Siyaad Barre) (1919 – January 2, 1995) was the Head of State of Somalia from 1969 to 1991. ... This article, image, template or category should belong in one or more categories. ... The Eritrean War of Independence started in 1962 when Emperor Haile Sellassie of Ethiopia unilaterally dissolved the Eritrean parliament and annexed the country. ... Combatants Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Party (Ihapa), All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement (MEISON), Eritrean Peoples Liberation Front, Tigray Peoples Liberation Front Derg (later Peoples Democratic Republic of Ethiopia) The Ethiopian Civil War was a 17 year long civil war in Ethiopia. ... The Somali Civil War is an armed conflict in Somalia that started in 1988. ... The Djiboutian Civil War (also known as the Afar Insurgency) was a conflict in Djibouti between the Peoples Rally for Progress (RPP) government (predominantly Ciise in ethnicity) and the predominantly Afar rebel group, the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD). ... Combatants Eritrea Ethiopia Commanders Sebhat Ephrem Samora Mohammed Yunis Casualties 19,000 (Eritrean opposition and state official count, backed with names and date of death in combat) More than 123,000 upto 155,000[1] The Eritrean-Ethiopian War took place from May 1998 to June 2000 between Ethiopia and... Combatants Islamic Courts Union Pro-Islamist militias Alleged:  Eritrea Foreign Mujahideen al-Qaeda South:  Ethiopia Transitional Government of Somalia  United States North:  Ethiopia Galmudug Puntland After the invasion: AMISOM Commanders Hassan Aweys Sharif Ahmed Hasan Hersi Adan Ayrow Barre Adan Shire Hirale Abdi Qeybdid (Galmudug) Adde Musa (Puntland) Meles Zenawi... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... Ogaden (pronounced and often spelled OgadÄ“n) is a part of the Somali Region in Ethiopia. ... Flag of Somalia, the five edges of the star are said to symbolize the five parts of Greater Somalia Greater Somalia refers to those regions in the Horn of Africa in which ethnic Somalis live. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Origins of the war

While the cause of the conflict was the desire of the Somali government of Siad Barre to incorporate the Somali-inhabited Ogaden region of Ethiopia into a Greater Somalia, it is unlikely Barre would have ordered the invasion if circumstances had not turned in his favor. Ethiopia had historically dominated the region. By the beginning of the war, the Somali National Army (SNA) was only 35,000-men strong and was vastly outnumbered by the Ethiopian forces. However, throughout the 1970s, Somalia was the recipient of large amounts of Soviet military aid. The SNA had three times the tank force of Ethiopia, as well as a larger air force. Mohamed Siad Barre (Somali: Maxamed Siyaad Barre) (1919 – January 2, 1995) was the Head of State of Somalia from 1969 to 1991. ... Flag of Somalia, the five edges of the star are said to symbolize the five parts of Greater Somalia Greater Somalia refers to those regions in the Horn of Africa in which ethnic Somalis live. ... The Somali National Army was made up of the army, navy, air force, and air defense command. ... Template:A year The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ...


Even as Somalia gained military strength, Ethiopia grew weaker. In September 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie had been overthrown by the Derg (the military council), marking a period of turmoil. The Derg quickly fell into internal conflict to determine who would have primacy. Meanwhile, various anti-Derg as well as separatist movements began throughout the country. The regional balance of power now favored Somalia. 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Haile Selassie Haile Selassie (Power of Trinity) (July 23, 1892 – August 27, 1975) was the last Emperor (1930–1936; 1941–1974) of Ethiopia, and is a religious symbol in the Rastafarian movement. ... Derg party badge, c1979. ...


One of the separatist groups seeking to take advantage of the chaos was the pro-Somalia Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) operating in the Somali-inhabited Ogaden area, which by late 1975 had struck numerous government outposts. From 1976 to 1977, Somalia supplied arms and other aid to the WSLF. Somali guerrilla activity in the Ogaden and in the Haud area east of Harer flared sporadically after Somalia gained its independence in 1960, but the guerrilla activity remained essentially a police concern until a border war erupted in 1964. ...


A sign that order had been restored among the Derg was the announcement of Mengistu Haile Mariam as head of state on 11 February 1977. However, the country remained in chaos as the military attempted to suppress its civilian opponents. Despite the violence, the Soviet Union, which had been closely observing developments, came to believe that Ethiopia was developing into a genuine Marxist-Leninist state and that it was in Soviet interests to aid the new regime. They thus secretly approached Mengistu with offers of aid that he accepted. Ethiopia closed the U.S. military mission and the communications center in April 1977. Mengistu Haile Mariam Mengistu Haile Mariam (born 1937[1] [2]) is a Communist politician who was the President of Ethiopia from 1977 to 1991. ... February 11 is the 42nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Marxism-Leninism, strictly speaking, refers to the version of Marxist theory developed by Vladimir Lenin; see Leninism. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ...


In June 1977, Mengistu accused Somalia of infiltrating SNA soldiers into the Somali area to fight alongside the WSLF. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, Barre insisted that no such thing was occurring, but that SNA "volunteers" were being allowed to help the WSLF.


Course of the war

Somalia decided to make a decisive move and invaded the Ogaden on 23 July 1977. They numbered 35,000 SNA soldiers and another 15,000 WSLF irregulars. By the end of the month 60% of the Ogaden had been taken by the SNA-WSLF force, including Gode, on the Shabelle River. The attacking forces did suffer some early setbacks; Ethiopian defenders at Dire Dawa and Jijiga inflicted heavy casualties on assaulting forces. The Ethiopian Air Force (EAF) also began to establish air superiority using its Northrop F-5s, despite being initially outnumbered by Somali MiG-21s. July 23 is the 204th day (205th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian Calendar, with 161 days remaining. ... For the album by Ash, see 1977 (album). ... Irregular soldiers in Beauharnois, Quebec, 19th century. ... The Shebelle River (with numerous spelling variations, including Shabele and Shabell, sometimes with Wabe or Webi prepended, Shabeelle in Somalia) begins in the highlands of Ethiopia, and then flows southeast into Somalia towards Mogadishu. ... Map of Ethiopia showing Dire Dawa (in red). ... Jijiga is a city in eastern Ethiopia, located approximately 80 km east of Harar and 60 km west of the border with Somaliland. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Air superiority is the dominance in the air power of one side air forces of another side during a military campaign. ... The F-5 Freedom Fighter (or Tiger II) is a fighter aircraft, designed and built by Northrop in the USA, beginning in 1962. ... Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 (NATO reporting name Fishbed) is a fighter aircraft, originally built by the Mikoyan and Gurevich Design Bureau in the Soviet Union. ...


The USSR, finding itself supplying both sides of a war, attempted to mediate a ceasefire. When their efforts failed, the Soviets abandoned Somalia. All aid to Siad Barre's regime was halted, while arms shipments to Ethiopia were increased. Soviet military aid, only second in magnitude to the October 1973 gigantic resupplying of Syrian forces during the Yom Kippur war, plus Soviet advisors flooded into the country along with around 15,000 Cuban combat troops. Other Communist countries offered assistance: the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen offered military assistance and North Korea helped train a "People's Militia"; East Germany likewise offered training, engineering and support troops[3]. As the scale of Communist assistance became clear in November 1977, Somalia broke diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. and expelled all Soviet citizens from the country. Combatants Israel Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq Commanders Moshe Dayan, David Elazar, Ariel Sharon, Shmuel Gonen, Benjamin Peled, Israel Tal, Rehavam Zeevi, Aharon Yariv, Yitzhak Hofi, Rafael Eitan, Abraham Adan, Yanush Ben Gal Saad El Shazly, Ahmad Ismail Ali, Hosni Mubarak, Mohammed Aly Fahmy, Anwar Sadat, Abdel Ghani el-Gammasy, Abdul...   Capital Aden Language(s) Arabic Government Socialist state President Haidar Abu Bakr al-Attas Prime Minister Yasin Said Numan Historical era Cold War  - Independence November 30 1967  - UN membership December 14, 1967  - Constitution October 31, 1978  - Reunification May 22 1990 Area  - 1990 332,970 km2 Expression error: unrecognised punctuation character... GDR redirects here. ...


Not all communist states sided with Ethiopia. Due to the Sino-Soviet rivalry, China supported Somalia diplomatically as well as with token military aid. Romania under Nicolae Ceauşescu had a habit of breaking with Soviet policies and maintained good diplomatic relations with Siad Barre. The Sino-Soviet split was a major diplomatic conflict between the Peoples Republic of China (PRC) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), beginning in the late 1950s, reaching a peak in 1969 and continuing in various ways until the late 1980s. ... Nicolae CeauÅŸescu (IPA , in English, normally (and erroneously) ) (January 26, 1918 - December 25, 1989) was the leader of Communist Romania from 1965 until shortly before his execution. ...


The greatest single victory of the SNA-WSLF was a second assault on Jijiga in mid-September, in which the demoralized Ethiopian troops withdrew from the town. The local defenders were no match for the assaulting Somalis and the Ethiopian military was forced to withdraw past the strategic strongpoint of the Marda Pass, halfway between Jijiga and Harar. By September Ethiopia was forced to admit that it controlled only about 10% of the Ogaden and that the Ethiopian defenders had been pushed back into the non-Somali areas of Harerge, Bale, and Sidamo. However, the Somalis were unable to press their advantage because of the high level of attrition among its tank battalions, constant Ethiopian air attacks on their supply lines, and the onset of the rainy season, which made the dirt roads unusable. During that time, the Ethiopian government managed to raise a giant militia force in its 100,000s and integrated it into the regular fighting force. Also, since the Ethiopian army was a client of U.S weapons, hasty acclimatization to the new Warsaw-pact bloc weaponry took place. Harar (sometimes spelled Harrar, Hārer, or Harer) is an eastern city in Ethiopia, and the capital of the modern Harari ethno-political division (or kilil) of Ethiopia. ... Hararghe, sometimes spelled Harerge, was a province in the eastern part of Ethiopia, with its capital in Harar. ... Bale was a province in the south-eastern part of Ethiopia, with its capital city at Goba. ... Sidamo was a province in the southern part of Ethiopia, with its capital city at Irgalem, and later at Awasa. ...


From October 1977 until January 1978, the SNA-WSLF forces attempted to capture Harar, where 40,000 Ethiopians backed by Soviet-supplied artillery and armor had regrouped with 1500 Soviet advisors and 11,000 Cuban soldiers. Though it reached the city outskirts by November, the Somali force was too exhausted to take the city and was eventually forced to retreat outside and await an Ethiopian counterattack. Artillery with Gabion fortification Cannons on display at Fort Point Continental Artillery crew from the American Revolution Firing of an 18-pound gun, Louis-Philippe Crepin, (1772 – 1851) A forge-welded Iron Cannon in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. ... An armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) is a military vehicle, protected by armour and armed with weapons. ...


The expected Ethiopian-Cuban attack occurred in early February. However, it was accompanied by a second attack that the Somalis were not expecting. A column of Ethiopian and Cuban troops crossed northeast into the highlands between Jijiga and the border with Somalia, bypassing the SNA-WSLF force defending the Marda Pass. The attackers were thus able to assault from two directions in a "pincer" action, allowing the re-capturing of Jijiga in only two days while killing 3,000 defenders. The Somali defense collapsed and every major Ethiopian town was recaptured in the following weeks. Recognizing that his position was untenable, Siad Barre ordered the SNA to retreat back into Somalia on 9 March 1978. The last significant Somali unit left Ethiopia on 15 March 1978, marking the end of the war. March 9 is the 68th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (69th in leap years). ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... March 15 is the 74th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (75th in leap years). ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ...


Effects of the war

Following the withdrawal of the SNA, the WSLF continued their insurgency. By May 1980, the rebels, with the assistance of a small number of SNA soldiers who continued to help the guerilla war, controlled a substantial region of the Ogaden. However by 1981 the insurgents were reduced to sporadic hit-and-run attacks and were finally defeated. 1980 (MCMLXXX) was a leap year starting on Tuesday. ...


The Ogaden War ruined the Somali military. One-third of the regular SNA soldiers, three-quarters of the armored units and half of the Somali Air Force (SAF) were lost. The weakness of the Barre regime led it to effectively abandon the dream of a unified Greater Somalia. The failure of the war aggravated discontent with the Barre regime; the first organized opposition group, the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), was formed by army officers in 1979. Flag of Somalia, the five edges of the star are said to symbolize the five parts of Greater Somalia Greater Somalia refers to those regions in the Horn of Africa in which ethnic Somalis live. ... Somali Salvation Democratic Front (in Somali: Jabhadda Diimuqraadiga Badbaadinta Soomaaliyeed), formed in 1981 as the Democratic Front for Salvation of Somalia. ...


The United States adopted Somalia as a Cold War client state from the late 1970s to 1988 in exchange for use of Somali bases, as well as a way to exert influence upon the region. A second armed clash in 1988 was resolved when the two countries agreed to withdraw their militaries from the border. 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


External links

2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the Anno Domini (common) era. ... March 17 is the 76th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (77th in leap years). ...

References

  1. ^ Cooper, Tom. Ogaden War, 1977-1978. Air Combat Information Group (www.acig.org). Retrieved on 2007-03-18.
  2. ^ Why Ogaden War. (globalsecurity.org). Retrieved on 2007-03-19.
  3. ^ Ethiopia: East Germany. Library of Congress (2005-11-08). Retrieved on 2007-02-24.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ogaden War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1280 words)
The Ogaden War was a conventional conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia in 1977 and 1978 over the Ogaden region of Ethiopia.
Fighting erupted as Somalia sought to exploit a temporary shift in the regional balance of power in their favor to occupy the Ogaden region, claimed to be part of Greater Somalia.
The failure of the war aggravated discontent with the Barre regime; the first organized opposition group, the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), was formed by army officers in 1979.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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