Somali Democratic Republic
Somali Democratic Republic (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Dimuqraadiya
Soomaaliya, Arabic: الجمهورية الديمقراطية
الصومالية al-Jumhūrīyah ad-Dīmuqrāṭīyah
aṣ-Ṣūmālīyah, Italian: Repubblica Democratica Somala) was the
name that the Marxist–Leninist military dictatorship government of
President of Somalia
President of Somalia Major General Mohamed
Siad Barre gave to
Somalia during its rule, after having seized power in a bloodless 1969
coup d'état. The putsch came a few
days after the assassination of Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, the nation's
second President, by one of his own bodyguards. Barre's
Somalia for the following 21 years, until Somalia
collapsed into anarchy in 1991.
1.1 Supreme Revolutionary Council
3 Prime ministers
5 Further reading
Supreme Revolutionary Council
Main article: Supreme Revolutionary Council (Somalia)
Siad Barre with Romanian President
Nicolae Ceauşescu in 1976
Part of a series on the
History of Somalia
Laas Gaal (9,000~3,000 BCE)
Land of Punt
Land of Punt (2,500-1,500 BCE)
Dhambalin (3,000~1,000 BCE)
Berber city-states (c. 1st century)
(c. 1st century)
Adal Sultanate (9th-16th c.)
Ifat Sultanate (12th-15th c.)
Ajuran Sultanate (13th-17th c.)
Warsangali Sultanate (13th-19th c.)
Mogadishu (13th-16th c.)
Geledi sultanate (16th-1910)
Majeerteen Sultanate (16th-1924)
Sultanate of Hobyo
Sultanate of Hobyo (1876-1926)
Dervish State (1896-1920)
Trust Territory (1941-1960)
Modern Somalia(since 1960)
Somali Republic (1960-1969)
Communist rule (1969-1991)
Transitional National Government
Transitional National Government (2000-2004)
Transitional Federal Government
Transitional Federal Government (2004-2012)
Federal Government (2012-)
Alongside Barre, the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) that assumed
power after President Sharmarke's assassination was led by Lieutenant
Salaad Gabeyre Kediye and Chief of Police Jama Korshel. Kediye
officially held the title of "Father of the Revolution," and Barre
shortly afterwards became the head of the SRC. The SRC
subsequently arrested members of the former civilian government,
banned political parties, dissolved the parliament and the
Supreme Court, and suspended the constitution.
The revolutionary army established large-scale public works programs
and successfully implemented an urban and rural literacy campaign,
which helped dramatically increase the literacy rate. In addition to a
nationalization program of industry and land, the new regime's foreign
policy placed an emphasis on Somalia's traditional and religious links
with the Arab world, eventually joining the
Arab League (AL) in
1974. That same year, Barre also served as chairman of the
Organization of African Unity
Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the African
In July 1976, Barre's SRC disbanded itself and established in its
Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party
Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (SRSP), a one-party
government based on scientific socialism and Islamic tenets. The SRSP
was an attempt to reconcile the official state ideology with the
official state religion by adapting Marxist precepts to local
circumstances. Emphasis was placed on the Muslim principles of social
progress, equality and justice, which the government argued formed the
core of scientific socialism and its own accent on self-sufficiency,
public participation and popular control, as well as direct ownership
of the means of production. While the SRSP encouraged private
investment on a limited scale, the administration's overall direction
was essentially socialist.
In July 1977, the
Ogaden War against Ethiopia broke out after Barre's
government sought to incorporate the predominantly Somali-inhabited
Ogaden region into a Pan-Somali Greater Somalia. The war was part of
broader SNA effort to unite all Somali territories (Soomaliweyn). In
the first week of the conflict, the Somali National Army scored
spectacular victories over the Ethiopian forces, surprising many
American military observers who took on a position of neutrality
during the war. Southern and central
Ogaden were captured in the early
stages of conflict and for most of the war, the Somali Army scored
continuous victories on the Ethiopian Army and followed them as far as
Sidamo. By September 1977,
Somalia controlled 90% of the
captured strategic cities such as
Jijiga and put heavy pressure on
Dire Dawa, threatening the train route from the latter city to
Djibouti. After the siege of Harar, a massive unprecedented Soviet
intervention consisting of 20,000 Cuban forces and several thousand
Soviet advisers came to the aid of Ethiopia's communist
By 1978, a ceasefire was negotiated putting an end to the war, despite
this the majority of the
Ogaden remained in Somali hands until 1980
despite the odds. This shift in support by the
Soviet Union motivated
the Barre government to seek allies elsewhere. It eventually settled
on the Soviet Union's
Cold War arch-rival, the United States, which
had been courting the Somali government for some time. All in all,
Somalia's initial friendship with the
Soviet Union and later
partnership with the
United States enabled it to build the largest
army in Africa.
Main article: Somali Civil War
After fallout from the unsuccessful
Ogaden campaign, Barre's
administration began arresting government and military officials under
suspicion of participation in the abortive 1978 coup
d'état. Most of the people who had allegedly
helped plot the putsch were summarily executed. However,
several officials managed to escape abroad and started to form the
first of various dissident groups dedicated to ousting Barre's regime
A new constitution was promulgated in 1979 under which elections for a
People's Assembly were held. However, Barre's Somali Revolutionary
Socialist Party politburo continued to rule. In October
1980, the SRSP was disbanded, and the Supreme Revolutionary Council
was re-established in its place. By that time, Barre's
government had become increasingly unpopular. Many Somalis had become
disillusioned with life under military dictatorship. The regime was
weakened further in the 1980s as the
Cold War drew to a close and
Somalia's strategic importance was diminished.
The government became increasingly totalitarian, culminating in the
Isaaq genocide (1987-1988), largely destroying several major cities
and targeting members of the
Isaaq clan. Estimates of civilian deaths
range from 50,000-100,000 up to
over 200,000. Such tactics from the government prompted
resistance movements, supported by Ethiopia, which sprang up across
the country and eventually led to the Somali Civil War. Among the
militia groups were the
Somali Salvation Democratic Front
Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF),
United Somali Congress (USC),
Somali National Movement
Somali National Movement (SNM) and the
Somali Patriotic Movement
Somali Patriotic Movement (SPM), together with the non-violent
political oppositions of the
Somali Democratic Movement
Somali Democratic Movement (SDM), the
Somali Democratic Alliance (SDA) and the Somali Manifesto Group (SMG).
Barre was removed from power on January 26, 1991, and Somalia
subsequently collapsed into anarchy.
Siad Barre (October 21, 1969 – January 26, 1991)
Mohamed Farah Salad (November 1, 1969 – March 1970)
Post abolished (March 1970 – February 1, 1987)
Muhammad Ali Samatar
Muhammad Ali Samatar (February 1, 1987 – September 3, 1990)
Muhammad Hawadle Madar
Muhammad Hawadle Madar (September 3, 1990 – January 24, 1991)
Somaliland is not internationally recognized. Its territory is
considered part of Somalia.
Somaliland authorities, however, hold de
facto power in the region.
^ International Demographic Data Center (U.S.),
United States Bureau
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Land of Punt
Sultanate of the Geledi
Sultanate of Hobyo
Trust Territory of Somaliland
Sa'ad ad-Din Islands
South West Somalia
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