"‘How to grab the Soviet Union by the Horns? He was released after the collapse of the Mengistu regime in 1991), Col. Abdullahi Ahmed Irro commanded SNA on the Godey Front. Soviet military aid (second in magnitude only to the October 1973 gigantic resupplying of Syrian forces during the Yom Kippur War) and advisors flooded into the country along with around 15,000 Cuban combat troops. The battle was primarily fought to the south of Harar and Jijiga. Abdullahi Geelqaad commanded Dirir-Dewa. Despite the violence, the Soviet Union, which had been closely observing developments, came to believe that Ethiopia was developing into a genuine Marxist–Leninist state and that it was in Soviet interests to aid the new regime. War ensued, involving tens of thousands of casualties until Ethiopia invaded part of southwestern Eritrea in June 2000. , The Somali National Army committed to invade the Ogaden on July 12, 1977, according to Ethiopian Ministry of National Defense documents (some other sources state July 13 or 23 July). From October 1977 until January 1978, the SNA-WSLF forces attempted to capture Harar during the Battle of Harar, where 40,000 Ethiopians had regrouped and re-armed with Soviet-supplied artillery and armor; backed by 1,500 Soviet advisors and 16,000 Cuban soldiers, they engaged the attackers in vicious fighting. , Alongside Barre, the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) that assumed power after President Sharmarke's assassination was led by Lieutenant Colonel Salaad Gabeyre Kediye and Chief of Police Jama Korshel. The Ethiopian Air Force (EAF) also began to establish air superiority using its Northrop F-5s, despite being initially outnumbered by Somali MiG-21s.  On 22 January 2008, a government official announced the death of former top guerrilla commander Mohamed Sirad Dolal , following an operation in the Denan woreda of the Gode zone. The attacking for… , The USSR, finding itself supplying both sides of a war, attempted to mediate a ceasefire. By September Ethiopia was forced to admit that it controlled only about 10% of the Ogaden and that the Ethiopian defenders had been pushed back into the non-Somali areas of Harerge, Bale, and Sidamo. The Ogaden… His one aim—to reach Harar before Badoglio's March of the Iron Will reached Addis Ababa—was the victim of a sea of mud that slowed all progress to a crawl. Between 12 January and 20 January 1936, Ras Desta's army was completely decimated by the Italian Royal Air Force (Regia Aeronautica). One of the separatist groups seeking to take advantage of the chaos was the pro-Somalia Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF) operating in the Somali-inhabited Ogaden, which by late 1975 had struck numerous government outposts. Meanwhile, various anti-Derg as well as separatist movements began throughout the country.  Still, David Nicole writes: "The only real fortified positions [in Ethiopia] were those built by Ras Nasibu's forces under General Mehmet Wehib's (also known as Wehib Pasha) direction near Sassabaneh, southeast of Harar". By May 1980, the rebels, with the assistance of a small number of SNA soldiers who continued to help the guerrilla war, controlled a substantial region of the Ogaden. In roughly ten days of fighting, the Italians suffered over 2,000 casualties. What followed was a lop-sided slaughter known as the Battle of Genale Doria. Years: 1977-1978. , By 23 April, all three columns were in place in front of the "Hindenburg Wall." The Ogaden War, or the Ethio-Somali war (Somali: Dagaalkii Xoraynta Soomaali Galbeed), was a Somali military offensive between July 1977 and March 1978 over the disputed Ethiopian region of Ogaden, which began with the Somali invasion of Ethiopia. Deaths Are Put at 60,000 Since the Somali pullout, it is said, there have been 60,000 deaths in Ogaden, including 25,000 civilians and 6,000 Cuban soldiers supporting the Ethiopians. Barker indicates 38,000. , Graziani deployed an army of 38,000 men, which included 15,600 Italians. Other communist countries offered assistance: the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen offered military assistance and North Korea helped train a "People's Militia"; East Germany likewise offered training, engineering and support troops. However, the country remained in chaos as the military attempted to suppress its civilian opponents in a period known as the Red Terror (or Qey Shibir in Amharic).  A column of Ethiopian and Cuban troops crossed northeast into the highlands between Jijiga and the border with Somalia, bypassing the SNA-WSLF force defending the Marda Pass. It was fought by separatists, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), against the Ethiopian government. On 3 July 2007, an ONLF ambush outside the town of Shilaabo resulted in the deaths of 43 soldiers, the separatists suffered 5 casualties and 8 rebels were injured. The United States adopted Somalia as a Cold War ally from the late 1970s to 1988 in exchange for use of Somali bases, and a way to exert influence upon the region.  The Somali defense collapsed and every major Somali-occupied town was recaptured in the following weeks. The referendum turned out in favour of a continued association with France, largely due to a combined yes vote by the sizable Afar ethnic group and resident Europeans. However, the Somalis were unable to press their advantage because of the high attrition on its tank battalions, constant Ethiopian air attacks on their supply lines, and the onset of the rainy season which made the dirt roads unusable. , In addition to previous Soviet funding and arms support to Somalia, Egypt sent millions of dollars in arms to Somalia, established military training and sent experts to Somalia. The town had been declared an "open city" since 2 December 1935 and was devoid of military activity. However, by 1981 the insurgents were reduced to sporadic hit-and-run attacks and were finally defeated.  The majority of those who voted no were Somalis who were strongly in favour of joining a united Somalia, as had been proposed by Mahmoud Harbi, Vice President of the Government Council. All of these conditions led to a revolt in the army which eventually spiraled into a civil war. The Ogaden War (1977–1978) In 1972 oil and gas was found in the disputed Ogaden region and tensions, which had erupted into clashes in 1964 began to increase yet again. In September 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie had been overthrown by the Derg (the military council), marking a period of turmoil. Henceforth, Dire Dawa was never at risk of attack.. In addition, he had the garrisons of Jijiga and Harar. In 1950, as a result of the Paris Peace Treaties, the United Nations granted Italy trusteeship of Italian Somaliland, but only under close supervision and on the condition—first proposed by the Somali Youth League (SYL) and other nascent Somali political organizations, such as Hizbia Digil Mirifle Somali (HDMS) and the Somali National League (SNL)—that Somalia achieve independence within ten years. Ethiopia started to build up its military presence along the border; something that was quickly countered by Somalia and in 1973 the two countries were on the brink of open conflict. ( Aftoje became a General and a military attache to France). The attacking forces did suffer some early setbacks; Ethiopian defenders at Dire Dawa and Jijiga inflicted heavy casualties on assaulting forces. Believing that Badoglio would not share the laurels of victory with him, Graziani decided to launch an offensive in the south against Ras Nasibu's army. While the army of Ras Nasibu disintegrated, it was not destroyed.  This prompted an unsuccessful bid by Britain in 1956 to buy back the Somali lands it had turned over. Her losses included over 6,000 killed, and about 400 Cubans and 100 South Yemenis also died. Ethiopia closed the U.S. military mission and the communications centre in April 1977. (Later the leader of SSDF rebel group based in Ethiopia. The Somalis tallied their losses. Some 160 Ethiopians were executed in the early stages of the war. But it may have been the overcast skies more than a change of heart on Graziani's part that saved the withdrawing Ethiopians from the Italian Royal Air Force. Background: As the conflict intensifies in the Ogaden desert war, the casualties are mounting on both sides. The Somalis took a terrible beating from Cuban artillery and aerial assaults.. On the northern front, the usual ratio between Ethiopian and Italian casualties was ten to one.. The 29th "Peloritana" Division and the 6th "Tevere" Blackshirt Division were held in reserve. Ogaden War; Part of the Ethiopian–Somali conflict and the Cold War: Cuban artillerymen prepare to fire at Somali forces in the Ogaden: Date: July 13, 1977 – March 23, 1978 (8 months and 2 days) Location: ... Beginning of war: 25,000–47,000 soldiers in total WSLF had control of most of the Ogaden, the first time since the Second World War that all Somalia was united with the exception of the NFD region in Kenya. 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