AFRICOM’s $6 billion fiasco in Djibouti
Thomas C. Mountain - May 15, 2009
ASMARA, Eritrea — The USA African Command (AFRICOM) is building their new African megabase in the tiny Horn of African country of Djibouti. The first phase is costing $2 billion, according to reports, and eventually another $4 billion will be spent. This latest expansion of USA imperial might, this time on African soil, is turning into a fiasco for the Pentagon and US State Department.
To understand why one must review the recent history in the region. Djibouti is and has been little more than a province of Ethiopia. It was a French colony and continues to host a significant French military base. Since 9-11, the USA military has been feverishly trying to find a site for a major military presence in a strategic place in Africa. Unfortunately for the Pentagon, no African country with a suitable site will allow the USA to set up shop there.
So enter Djibouti. With a population of about 500,000, and one of the poorest countries on the planet, Djibouti sits at the entrance to the Red Sea, through which passes much of the world’s shipping, including a sizable portion of the oil used in Europe and Asia. The USA made the Djiboutian president an offer he couldn’t refuse and now the concrete is being poured and the new runways and docks are growing out of the sand and desert of the North African coastline of the Indian Ocean.