Somalia and the Future of Humanitarian Intervention

A Somali gunman loyal to Mohammed Hersi Morgan races through the streets of the southern port town of Kismayo, November 30, 1995. Reuters


The American-led operation in Somalia that began when U.S. Marines hit the Mogadishu beaches in December 1992 continues to profoundly affect the debate over humanitarian intervention. The Clinton administration's refusal to respond to the genocide in Rwanda that began in April 1994 was due in part to its retreat from Somalia, announced after the deaths of 18 U.S. Army Rangers on October 3-4, 1993. In Bosnia, U.N. peacekeepers under fire from or taken prisoner by Serb forces over the last two years were expected to turn the other cheek for fear of "crossing the Mogadishu line." This expression, reportedly coined by Lieutenant General Sir Michael Rose, former commander of the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia (UNPROFOR), describes the need to maintain neutrality in the face of all provocation for fear of becoming an unwilling participant in a civil war. In recent months, the design of the

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