In January 1992, Andrew Natsios, head of the
United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign
Disaster Assistance, testified before Congress that “Somalia was the greatest
humanitarian emergency in the world” (35).
At around the same time, the United Nations made a similar statement, saying
that it was alarmed at the heavy loss of life and widespread damage resulting
from the conflict in Somalia (36).
Newly sworn in UN Secretary General Boutros-Boutros
Ghali made the first move toward peace. In February 1992 he invited
representatives of Muhammad Ali Madhi and Muhammad Farah Aideed to UN headquarters
in New York (37). There, on March 3,
the two sides reached a vague cease-fire agreement. The UN Security
Council then established an Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM) in order to monitor
the cease-fire and provide emergency humanitarian assistance (38).
The cease-fire, though, was used only to provide food and medical assistance
rather than to help facilitate a permanent peace plan (39).
On November 26th, President Bush (who recently
lost his bid for re-election) pledged 30,000 troops for a U.S. led-UN military
operation in Somalia (UNITAF). While President Bush wanted the effort
to be mainly a humanitarian effort, Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali
insisted that the troops promote peace (44).
The mission began by securing airports and transportation routes in order
to get food to the remote areas of the country, where most of the starving
people were. President Bush also called on Robert Oakley, a former
ambassador to Somalia, to begin talks with the warlords (45).
|went on, the fighting and looting resumed (40).
In July 1992, the crisis started to make headlines
in the western media. Pictures of starving children and newspaper
stories with titles such as The Hell Called Somalia raised public awareness
and increased pressure on the United States to do something. The
UN food supplies were no longer getting to those who needed them.
Much of it was stolen by the warring clans and sold. More and more
Somalis were starving to death (41).
The United States responded in August 1992,
as President George Bush announced that a U.S. military aircraft would
be assigned to transport food to Somalia’s interior. Like the UN
relief effort, though, much of the food was stolen.
“Although the airlift provided the needed food, the policy
failed to recognize the political challenges that state collapse posed.
The problem was never predominantly insufficient food but the absence of
political authority and security for a civil society to operate (42).”
After the failed attempt by the United States,
the United Nations' security force authorized UN Resolution 751, which
ordered a 500-member security force to Somalia. The operation was
made up of 500 lightly armed Pakistani soldiers. Aideed and his followers
forcibly restricted the Pakistani’s to their barracks, allowing them to
accomplish nothing (43). Another mission
had failed, as the death toll from starvation continued to rise.
Muhammad Farah Aideed
Oakley met with Aideed and Ali Madhi on December
11, succeeding in getting them to sign a cease-fire and general truce agreement.
The warlords, scared of the strength of the U.S. military, let the forces
have their way. The troops brought food to the starving, disarmed
many citizens, and raided several sites where powerful weapons were stored
The mission was regarded as a huge success. Oakley again met with
Aideed and Ali Madhi in order to form a police force so the U.S. could
eventually pull out of Somalia