US Intervention 1992-1994
Series : Africa@War #9
Author : Peter Baxter
Paperback Helion & Company 297mm x 210mm 72 pages 8pp colour photos, c 100 b/w photos, maps
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The end of the Cold War introduced an altered global dynamic. The old bond of East/West patronage in Africa was broken, weakening the first crop of independent revolutionary leadership on the continent who no longer had the support of one or other of the superpowers. With collapse of the Soviet Union, all this changed. The question of global/strategic security devolved into regional peacekeeping and peace enforcement, characterized primarily by the Balkans War, but also many other minor regional squabbles across the developing world that erupted as old regimes fell and nations sought to build unity out of the ashes. In Africa the situation was exacerbated by an inherent tribalism and factionalism that had tended to be artificially suppressed by powerful, often military, dictatorships, generally unconcerned with the needs and requirements of an oppressed population.
No more striking example of this can be found than Somalia. One of the only effective armed resistance movements mounted against European colonisation in Africa took place in Somalia, which was suppressed only after enormous military expenditure. The crisis in Somalia that began to take shape with the ouster of military leader Mohammed Siad Barre during the early years of the 1990s forced both the United States and the United Nations to adapt their collective military policy toward the challenges of peacekeeping, and peace enforcement, in a human environment only dimly understood, extremely austere in terms of local infrastructure and with a warring clan leadership.
This book tells the story of the international intervention that took place in Somalia, the successes, failures and lessons learned. Many broad assumptions were made based on an unclear understanding of the dynamics of a regional conflict, coupled with the necessity for the first time in modern military history to balance political necessities with military. The crisis in Somalia set the tone for military intervention in a post-Cold War world, and although the same mistakes have been depressingly often repeated, the complexion of global military organization changed dramatically as a consequence of this episode.
At any given time, there are at least half a dozen conflicts taking place in Africa, from civil strife and brutal insurgencies to full-blown conventional wars. Yet, apart from the grand campaigns and battles of colonial yesteryear—Omdurman, Isandlwana, Spioenkop et al—little is known outside the Dark Continent of the plethora of brushfire wars that occur with monotonous regularity. Following the Second World War, with the colonial powers—Britain in particular—looking to divest themselves of their burdensome empires, the ‘winds of change’, fuelled by the Cold War, swept through every nook and cranny of the continent. From Algeria to South Africa, from the Congo to Kenya, the continent literally erupted in conflict. Butchery and barbarism, under the guise of Black Nationalism, became bywords of African insurgencies; the tactics of terror, so espoused by Chairman Mao, one of the principal backers—in competition with Soviet imperialism—of African liberation movements, became standard operating procedure.
Africa—the continent that gave the world ‘pseudo’ counterterrorist operations as developed in Kenya to combat the Mau Mau, the Rhodesian Fireforce concept, radical innovations in vehicle mine-proofing, South African armour which fought the Cubans to a standstill at Cuito Cuanavale in the largest continental tank battle since Alamein, MiG and Mirage dogfights over the skies of Angola—is not all doom and gloom: it is as rich in its cultural diversity as it is in its martial traditions. Apart from a colourful array of liberation movements, mercenaries, brigands, pirates and terrorists, the cast includes such legendary units as the King’s African Rifles, the Portuguese Flechettes, the French Foreign Legion, the Rhodesian Selous Scouts and SAS, and the South African Recces, 32 Battalion and Koevoet.
Africa@War, a ground-breaking series, studies Africa’s post-1945 conflicts and military players in an informative and entertaining manner, examining some of the lesser known campaigns and shedding new light on some of the better known operations.
“Africa@War is a ground-breaking series concept, studying Africa’s conflicts and military players in an informative and entertaining manner, examining some of the lesser-known campaigns and shedding new light on some of the better-known operations … great models of what the combination of authors and publishers can produce by way of useable case studies for the market place in a concise illustrated format. They are recommended as professional military education references.”
Charles D. Melson, Chief Historian, U.S. Marine Corps
"Each of the books in this series is a well-documented and researched synopsis of the events that they are focused upon. They layouts and presentation are logical and of a very high quality ... As an introduction to this field of operation, this series is outstanding. A definite asset for those wishing to improve their knowledge and understanding of the development of successful, multi-faceted doctrine in the fight against insurgent/assymetric war."
Major Chris Buckham, Royal Canadian Air Force Journal
- Helion & Company
- Date of Publication
- August 2013
- Book Size
- 297mm x 210mm
- 72 pages
- 8pp colour photos, c 100 b/w photos, maps
- English text
- Helion Book Code