VintageSomalia: This is the period when it all started to unravel. You guys all know what happened in 1991 and the subsequent years after.
Human Rights Watch World Report 1989 - Somalia
For the past 20 years, Somali president Mohamed Siad Barre has presided over a one-party military dictatorship. His reign has been characterized by vicious discrimination against certain ethnic groups – currently the Isaaqs in northern Somalia – as well as political imprisonment, torture and summary executions, in an effort to suppress all dissent in Somalia. A long-simmering war in northern Somalia between the Somali National Movement (“SNM”) and government forces erupted in May 1988 when the SNM launched military operations from Ethiopia. The army responded with a savage counterinsurgency campaign. Throughout the rest of 1988 and 1989, the Somali armed forces engaged in extensive efforts to deprive the SNM of civilian support –members of the Isaaq clam make up most SNM combatants – by driving Isaaq noncombatants from the country through such means as indiscriminate aerial bombardment, the widespread killings of civilians, the destruction of crops, cattle and food-storage facilities, the poisoning of wells, and the jailing of hundreds of political prisoners. Some 450,000 Somalis fled such attacks for Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya, and an additional 600,000 were displaced within Somalia.
Until September 1989, the Bush administration’s policy toward Somalia was largely a continuation of that of the Reagan administration. That policy was based on interest in the Berbera port as a strategic location – it is viewed as an important staging area for the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. That interest provided the rationale to extend economic, military and diplomatic support to the U.S. ally in Mogadishu. At the same time, paradoxically, the administration went to considerable lengths to investigate the human rights situation in Somalia, and U.S. officials appeared to have no delusions about the ruthlessness of the Barre regime. Read more here