Ras Hassan (1928-Present) (Full name Hassan Yusuf al-Soomaaliyeed) is Dezajmach (Commander and Defense Adviser) of the Ethiopian military. Born the son of a Somali village leader, Hassan joined the Ethiopian military when he came of age and participated in the Third Ethiopian Civil War and the early days of the Congo Revolution, where he attained the rank of Captain. In 1955, Hassan was given command over prince and future emperor Yohannes Iyasu's guard. He quickly gained the trust of Yohannes and popularity in military circles, and when Commander Seyum Mangasha retired in 1966, Hassan took the honorific title of Ras and became Commander of the Ethiopian military. As Commander of the Ethiopian Empire, Hassan served as Emperor Yohannes right hand man until Yohannes's assassination in 1974. Hassan supported Yohannes son and heir Sahle Yohannes until Sahle broke ties to China and began a one sided semi-colonial relationship with Germany. Their break up exacerbated the ongoing civil war, in which Hassan began to support Sahles younger brother Yaqob. Yaqob won the Civil War, and Hassan took his place as Yaqob's head of military, a title renamed "Dejazmach".
Born in the Somalian village of Jowhaar, Hassan was the grandson of an Arab warlord who was exiled from Arabia to Somalia in the late 19th century. This grandfather married the daughter of the village elder and inherited his position. Upon the death of Hassans grandfather, his father inherited the title. When Hassan was born, he had two older brothers, making it unlikely that Hassan himself ould inherit the position.
Hassans youth was marked by the conflicts surrounding Ethiopia at the time. Somalia had been gained by Ethiopia during the Great War, and many Somalians felt they should be independent. Hassans family supported Ethiopian control of the region, citing the security they got from this deal, particularly through the arming of those who supported Ethiopia.
The rought nature of life in Somalia at that time left its mark on the young Hassan. Stories of violence and harsh law play a notable part of his early memory. In one instance, there was a man in his village who did little for himself, and lived off the hospitality of others. The villagers were good people and were willing to share with this man, but he wanted more and he stole from the market. Because the law was harsh, the man was sentenced to have his right hand severed. The punishment was carried out to the letter. As a doctor attended to the criminals bleeding wrist, the magistrate who had passed the sentence stood in front of the crowd that had gathered to see the punishment carried out, and read to them a passage from the Quran. "A punishment by way of example, from Allah, for their crime: and Allah is Exalted in power"
Early Military Career.Edit
In 1945, at the age of 17, Hassan joined the military. In his first five years of service in the late 40's, most action he seen was quelling riots taking place due to Iyasu V's religious policies. In 1952, the riots turned into a rebellion against Iyasu when several nobles who opposed him returned from exile. Hassan was present during the skirmish at Lalibela, and was one of the soldiers who raided Debre Damo.
After the Third Civil War, Hassan was part of a group of Ethiopian soldiers who were secretly sent into the Congo to help Congolese rebels fight the Belgians, in which he climbed the ranks to Captain. He fought in the Congo until 1955, when he was reassigned as commander of the guard for Yohannes Iyasu, the prince and heir to the Ethiopian throne
Service Under YohannesEdit
Yohannes was made Emperor of Ethiopia in 1959, taking Hassan as his guard commander. Hassan, who had seen combat in the Congo and the Third Civil War, was one of Yohannes military advisers, though Seyum Mangasha was the official military adviser. From 1959 to 1966, Hassan became one of the primary advisers under Mangasha, and when Mangasha retired Hassan took his place as Commander of the Ethiopian military
Wars of ExpansionEdit
The Congo rebellions continued to heat up until 1970, when the Belgians gave the Congo their independence. The Congo joined Ethiopia for protection. Shortly after, Ethiopia gained Sudan and Hejaz under joint invasions with other powers. Though Hassan was military adviser in these situations and supported them, he didn't get directly involved in the ground tactics involved.
Tswana and RiotsEdit
Ethiopia supported the Tswana uprising against the British, helping Tswana gain its independence in 1971. Behind the back of Yohannes, Hassan ordered the murder of the Tswanan government, allowing Ethiopia to enter and stabilize the country. The Tswanan occupation became a disaster, causing unrest in the nation that ended with the assassination of Yohannes.
Ethiopian Civil WarEdit
Steward to SahleEdit
After the assassination of Yohannes in 1974, his son Sahle took over and fled the country for safety, leaving Hassan as steward. Sahle made an agreement with Europe that was one sided and colonial in nature, which bothered Hassan. Hassan led the army in a rebellion against Sahle, with Sahles European allies backing him against Hassan.
Support for YaqobEdit
Yaqob Yohannes, the younger son Yohannes, became popular among those who rebelled against Sahle. Hassan joined those the support for Yaqob as a potential Emperor, and continued to lead the military personally against Sahle's German allies in the Congo. After two years of leading the army personally, Hassan defeated Sahle
Under Yaqob, Sahle has been granted the title "Dejazmach", an ancient honorific for Commander of the Ethiopian military.
Hassan looks slighty more Arabic then the typical Somalian due to his ancestry. He has a large boned built and wide shoulders, but age has caused him to get a slight gut. Age has also caused him to begin to bald and his hair to grey. His face is slightly scarred from his two seperate campaigns in the Congo
Though loyal to the Imperial throne, Hassan is much more a nationalist then a true Imperialist; seeing what is good for the nation as more important then what is good for the Emperor.