Mohamed Farrah Aidid

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Mohamed Farrah Aidid

In office
June 15, 1995 – August 1, 1996
Preceded by Ali Mahdi Muhammad
Succeeded by Hussein Mohamed Farrah Aidid

Born December 15, 1934
Mudug Region, Somalia
Died August 1, 1996
Mogadishu, Somalia
Political party United Somali Congress/Somali National Alliance (USC/SNA)

General Mohamed Farrah Aidid (Somali: Maxamed Faarax Caydiid; December 15, 1934 – August 1, 1996) was a controversial Somali leader, often described as a warlord[1]. He was the chairman of United Somali Congress (USC) and later Somali National Alliance (SNA) who drove Mohamed Siad Barre’s dictatorial regime from the capital, Mogadishu and eventually from Somalia altogether. Later he challenged the presence of United Nations and United States troops in the country. General Aidid was one of the main targets of Operation Restore Hope, the United Nations and United States military operation that came to the country to provide humanitarian aid and to break the military siege in the beginning but caused havoc and destruction in Somalia. He became president of Somalia for a short period after forcing UN forces to abandon the country in 1995.

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[edit] Biography

Aidid was born in the Habar Gidir clan of the Mudug region of Somalia. He was educated in Rome and Moscow and served in the Italian colonial police force in the 1950s. Later he rose in the military of Mohamed Siad Barre to the rank of general and served in the 1977-78 Ogaden War with Ethiopia.[1] He also served in the Barre's government in several capacities; in the end as intelligence chief.

[edit] Somali Civil War

Barre suspected him of planning a coup d'état and had him imprisoned for six years. In 1991, the clan of General Aidid did indeed overthrow Barre, and General Aidid, as leader of the United Somali Congress, emerged as a major force in the ensuing civil war.

Further information: Somali Revolution (1986-1992)

[edit] Opposition to UN Intervention

As the civil war grew, with the breakdown of centralized government, and no single successor to Barre's regime emerging, the term "warlord" came into use in Somalia. Tribalism of clan-based rebel organizations, and a complex web of regional and local domination elevated warlords who de facto ruled the country. Aidid was considered chief amongst them.[2] However, he was defeated by a rival, which led to the opportunity for UN peace keepers to be brought in.[1]

General Aidid hindered international U.N. peacekeeping forces in 1992. As a result, the US put a $25,000 bounty on his head and attempted to arrest and try him for war crimes. On October 3, 1993 a force of United States Army Rangers and Delta Force operators set out to capture several officials of Aidid's militia in an area of the Somali capital city of Mogadishu, controlled by him. Although technically successful, with the capture of several "tier-one personalities", the operation did not completely go as planned, and between 500 and 1500 Somalis, as well as 19 American soldiers, died as a result in the First Battle of Mogadishu.

The United States withdrew its forces soon afterwards and the United Nations left Somalia in 1995.

Further information: Operation Restore Hope,  Operation Provide Relief,  UNOSOM I,  UNITAF, and UNOSOM II

[edit] President of Somalia

Aidid then declared himself President of Somalia in June 1995,[3] but his government was not internationally recognized. Indeed within Somalia, and even within Mogadishu, his control was fiercely fought over, especially by Ali Mahdi Muhammad.

Aidid died on August 2, 1996 as a result of gunshot wounds sustained a week earlier in a fight with competing factions.

There have been persistent rumors (including articles in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today), that US Special Operations forces, or CIA Special Activities Division officers, were directly or indirectly involved with General Aidid's death.

[edit] Heir

Hussein Mohamed Farrah, son of General Aidid, migrated to the United States when he was 14 years old. He stayed 16 years in the nation and became a naturalized citizen, and later a United States Marine. Two days after his father's death, the Somali National Alliance selected him to become the new president of the Republic of Somalia.

He resigned his position in Cairo, Egypt following a peace process between the Salbalar administration and Soodare Group. Hussein Mohammed Farrah is seen by the West as a chance of improvement for the relationships between them and Somalia. When asked about his Marine days, he replied: "Once a Marine, always a Marine."[4]

Preceded by
Ali Mahdi Mohamed
President of Somalia
June 15, 1995August 1, 1996
Succeeded by
Hussein Mohamed Farrah Aidid

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ a b c Purvis, Andrew. "Wanted: Warlord No. 1", Time, June 28, 1993. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  2. ^ Key Somali Warlord Scorns U.N., Postpones Peace Talks MIT The Tech, January 6, 1993
  3. ^ President Aidid's Somalia (September 1995). Retrieved on 2007-02-04.
  4. ^ Kampeas, Ron. "From Marine to warlord: The strange journey of Hussein Farrah Aidid", Associated Press, 2 November 2002. Retrieved on 2007-02-28.

[edit] References