Tiny African Nation to Host Largest Base of U.S. Troops
Monday, 20 December 2011 06:51
Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network -
(GIN) - With the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq, Djibouti - a major U.S.
ally - will be the "central location" in fighting terrorism, according to
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during his visit this week to the north
The U.S. base in Djibouti, which borders Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, has
more than 3,500 military personnel, most of them assigned to combat
terrorism in Somalia, Yemen and other flash points.
"We've made a hell of a lot of progress," Defense Secretary Panetta told the
troops this week in Camp Lemonnier Thunderdome.
In addition to ground troops, American drones are launched from Djibouti
against Al-Qaeda operatives in the region, according to Globalsecurity.org.
The country was an active participant during the Bush years in the detention
and rendition of detainees, and held prisoners until U.S. intelligence
agents determined where next to send them, according to testimony by the
International Crisis Group before the African Commission for Human and
This month, Washington announced the opening of a new multi-building embassy
for Djibouti, constructed by Caddell Construction Company of Montgomery,
Alabama. The $147 million project generated jobs in both the United States
and Republic of Djibouti, according to the press release.
Meanwhile, Djibouti's president, Ismail Omar Guelleh, in a recent interview
with Jeune Afrique, a French language magazine, defended his regime from
critics who cite the absence of a free press, TV or independent radio. He
also disputed charges by the International Federation of Human Rights of
"all-out repression" and the existence of political prisoners in Djibouti
Finally, U.S. advisors are believed to have been piloting a plane belonging
to the Uganda People's Defense Force that crashed near the Dem. Rep. of
Congo this week where a military offensive against the Lord's Resistance
Army is underway. There were no survivors.
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Received on Tue Dec 20 2011 - 09:41:01 EST