7 May 2014
US American base in Dijbouti will continue to serve as a hub for counterterrorism operations and training
On 5 May, the US signed a 20-year lease on its military base in Dijbouti, in the Horn of Africa. The focus of the talks between President Obama and the president of Dijbouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh, were represented by the critical role played by Camp Lemonnier, a base of 4,000 American service members and civilians. The camp is the only American installation on the continent and represents a hub for training and counterterrorism operations in Yemen and Somalia, thus playing a critical role.
The US is not the only state to have taken an interest in Dijbouti. Security forces belonging to other countries, such as France, Japan and Italy, are also present in the region. According to the NY Times, the agreement concerning Camp Lemonnier is proof of the small country’s strategic importance in helping the US and other Western countries in their fight against terrorists, pirates and smugglers in the region. Mr Guelleh told reporters that he views the bilateral relation as one of strategic partnership and went on to state the following: “The fact that we welcome U.S. forces in our country shows our support for international peace, and for peace in our region as well.”
The renewal of the long-term lease stands as evidence of the base’s increased importance, from an expeditionary way stop for American troops following the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, to a Pentagon plan that centers around an investment of nearly USD 1 billion in order to upgrade the camp and other facilities. According to the NY Times, defense officials envision Camp Lemonnier as a major regional base, tailored to support operations through Africa, as well as part of the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean.