Today in History: Ethiopia withdraws from Somalia


On the 13th of January 2009, Ethiopian forces began withdrawing from Somalia after a two-year attempt to crush Somali Islamist insurgents, known as the Islamic Court Union (ICU).

In 2006, Ethiopian forces, in opposition to the ICU, entered Somalia in a US-supported effort to aid the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), a government which, with the United Nations’ help, came into existence in 2004.

The Ethiopians withdrew in the wake of The Guardian reporting that much of Somalia remained “in the hands of violent insurgents.”

A parallel can be drawn here in mirroring the events of the early 90’s in that US forces, attempting to oust the then warlord leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid, eventually withdrew from Somalia too – while Aidid was still at large.

Later, in 2011, Ethiopia would once again invade Somalia in opposition to Al-Shabaab (a group whose formation was arguably formed by Ethiopia’s first invasion) and, despite seriously considering withdrawal in early 2013, remained in Somalia to formally join the African Union forces in early 2014.


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