Today, many combat ships belonging to various nations are engaged in counterpiracy missions around the Gulf of Aden. For Somali people, piracy is an easy as well as necessary means to acquire economic gains against the backdrop of a dysfunctional state. The roots of this intricate problem can be dated back to the Ogaden War in late 1970s.
The territory known as the Horn of Africa lies in the Black Continent along the western shores of the Red Sea. Although the strategic value of the Suez Canal is indisputable given the fact that it connects the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean, it requires passing through the Gulf of Aden as well as the Red Sea to reach this canal. Thus, taking into account the sea route between the West and the East, the Horn of Africa stands out as an important venue. Ogaden War, the subject of this issue’s War History section, took place exactly at this critical region.
Early 1970s heralded great turbulence for Ethiopia and Somalia, the two major states located in the Horn of Africa. Emperor Haile Selassie, ruling Ethiopia for 62 years was brought down by a military coup in 1974, while the country became a republic. Sudden disappearance of such a long period of rule naturally paved the way for chaos. Differing from the Western-oriented Haile Selassie, the military government called the “Derg” embraced the socialist ideology, which complicated the issues even further.