Wars Between the East African Neighbors of Ethiopia and Somalia
Somali "Mad Mullah" Jihad (1899-1905)--Somali tribesmen led by religious leader Muhammad ibn Abd Allah Hasan waged a desert guerrilla war against Britain, Italy and Ethiopia. Following repeated defeats by the Somalis, the colonial powers offered him territory in Italian Somaliland in exchange for peace. He resumed his war in 1908 and harassed the occupiers of his country until 1920. Though this war pre-dates Somali independence, which occurred in 1960, it serves as an example of the ages-old conflict between Ethiopia and the Somali people.

Somali Border War with Ethiopia and Kenya (Feb. 1964-April 1964) --Ethiopia and Kenya accused Somalia of aiding Somali-speaking rebels in the border areas. Somalia's post-independence leaders sought to unite all Somalis within a "Greater Somalia," and this goal brought Somalia into nearly constant conflict with its neighbors. In the early 1960s, Ethiopia and Kenya had grown tired of Somalia's aggression, and eventually small-scale military clashed between Somali and Ethiopian armed forces broke out along the ill-defined border. In February 1964, armed conflict erupted along the Somali-Ethiopian frontier, and Ethiopian aircraft raided targets in Somalia. Fighting ended in April, 1964 through the mediation of Sudan. Ethiopia and Kenya later signed a mutual defense pact in 1964, as a form of mutual protection from Somalia.

Ogaden War (1977-1978)- Ethiopia against Somalia and Somali rebels in the Ogaden desert area. The Soviet Union and Cuba aided Ethiopia, with Cuba sending nearly 15,000 troops, aided by 1,500 Soviet advisors. Somalia lost the war, its military was wrecked, and the stage was set for the civil war of the 1980s.

Ethiopia-Somali Border Clashes (1982)- In the early 1980s,repeated attacks across the Somali border in the Mudug (central) and Boorama (northwest) areas by Somali rebels and elements of the Ethiopian army revived the old Ethiopia-Somali conflicts. In mid-July of 1982, Somali rebels with Ethiopian air support invaded Somalia in the center, threatening to split the country in two. They managed to capture the Somali border towns of Balumbale and Galdogob.

Ethiopian Intervention in Somali Civil War (2006-Present)- The long-standing Somali Civil War (1988-Present) entered a new phase with the growth of the Union of Islamic Courts, an Islamic militant group, gained control of Mogadishu and the central part of Somali. The UIC is in opposition to the official, yet weak, government based in Baidoa. In late 2006, Ethiopia sent troops to Baidoa to support the government against the Islamic forces. In late December, 2006, Ethiopian planes bombed the Mogadishu airport and ground troops seized control of three towns, including one on the border.

See also: Ethiopian-Oromo Conflicts


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