Posts Tagged ‘AFRICOM’

Global Voices: Djibouti

April 21, 2008

The Republic of Djibouti and negative response to US Military presence

I found a country in the D section of Global Voices that I have heard of, but know nothing about – the Republic of Djibouti – located on the coast just below the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aden, and surrounded by Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia and across the gulf from Yemen.

Map of Djibouti

According to the CIA World Fact book – Djibouti at 23,000 sq km is approximately the size of Massachusetts with a population of 506,221 (July 2008 est.) which is about 50 thousand fewer than the residents of DC. It is 94% Muslim and 6% Christian and the average life expectancy is 43.25 years. By comparison the US average life expectancy is 78.14 years with a breakdown of 75.29 for men and 81.13 for women. The CIA site also states that it is primarily wasteland but that it is a “strategic location near world’s busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; terminus of rail traffic into Ethiopia”, which is relevant information given the posting I read.

Global Voices has only one posting for Djibouti – The groundswell of opposition to AFRICOM from African bloggers – by John Liebhardt who lives on the opposite side of the continent in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, a landlocked country north of the Ivory Coast and Ghana. This means that technically I did not find a single blogger on Global Voices from Djibouti, but rather those not please with the US Military presence there. I would guess there is not much time or money for computers and blogging since according to the CIA data the country has 59% unemployment in urban areas, 83% in rural areas and 42% of the population lives below the poverty line.

In 2002 the US Navy started operations in Djibouti Camp LeMonier, a location deemed strategic for the US War on Terror, under the auspices of The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) which was created in 2001 to coordinate US military operations in Africa. George W. Bush went on a 5 nation tour of Africa, this trip and the US Military interest in Africa is the impetus for the postings in this blog.

Liebhardt’s posting, and those that he links to, expresses concern among many African nations with the intense interest of the US, and China, in establishing a greater presence in Djibouti and other nations. Specifically they think US interest is primarily in securing claims to oil, and the spreading of US hegemony.

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