Soviet Union Table of Contents
In 1977 and 1978, the Soviet Union airlifted large numbers of Cuban troops into Ethiopia to help defeat an incursion by Somalia into the disputed Ogaden region. Somalia had signed a treaty of friendship and cooperation with the Soviet Union in 1974 and had received large amounts of Soviet arms. The Soviet leadership, however, ended this relationship in 1977 and switched support to Ethiopia because of Ethiopia's much greater population and economic resources and because of its location on the strait of Bab al Mandab, which links the Horn of Africa to inland Africa and the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. During the 1980s, the Soviet Union moved toward normalizing relations with Somalia but appeared to be waiting for a change in regime before attempting to greatly improve contacts.
Data as of May 1989