The Chinese also want to protect their interests, and they are welcome,” said Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh in an interview with Agence France-Presse in May. Guelleh said that “discussions are ongoing” that will establish China’s first overseas naval base in Djibouti.
According to reports, China will send 10,000 troops to its new base in Obock, a port city in the north of the country. Obock is presently occupied by a small contingent of U.S. military personnel, but the Djibouti government has already asked the U.S. to vacate the site.
The Chinese will pay $100 million per year to the Djibouti government for use of the base. From there, the Chinese say they will be able to project power into the oceans surrounding the Horn of Africa and protect their ships from pirates.
China has also recently sent soldiers into Sudan to protect oil interests. With its new port facilities, China might find it easier to reinforce the ports and support other economic activities in Africa.
However, the main reason China has made its move into Djibouti is because of its strategic location at the narrow Bab el-Mandeb choke point leading into the Red Sea and the strategic Suez Canal. Growing percentages of China’s trade is with Europe, and its presence in Djibouti is a sign to the world that it is willing to take action to protect its trade routes.
It is probably not a coincidence that China’s announcement about its presence in Djibouti coincided with Egypt’s announcement that the Suez Canal expansion was complete.
This development will leave the United States with only one base in Djibouti—its only one in Africa—Camp Lemonnier. The U.S. currently has 4,500 military personnel there, and it is currently paying $63 million per year for use of the base—significantly less than China’s $100 million for Obock.
America started using Camp Lemonnier in 2001 to help in its fight against terrorism. It uses the base for gathering intelligence on the Islamic State, al Qaeda and their affiliates in both Africa and the Gulf region. Camp Lemonnier is also the United States’ main base of drone operations in the region, and it’s equipped with fighter jets and helicopters.
The Pentagon is worried about the viability of U.S. intelligence-gathering operations now that China plans to move in next door. It fears that China will intercept U.S. intelligence and compromise its operations.
A senior U.S. official told the Telegraph that China’s presence poses “serious security concerns with regard to Camp Lemonnier.” He said that there are “fears that if President Guelleh gets too close to China then he may be tempted to impose restrictions on U.S. access to the base.”
Some members of the U.S. Congress warned about China’s influence in the region and urged the Obama administration to prevent the establishment of a Chinese base in Djibouti.
The relationship between the U.S. and President Guelleh is already strained: Washington accuses him of dictatorial leadership, and it hopes that new elections could change those edgy relations. China is taking advantage of this strain as it has in other parts of Africa—a continent in which it invests about $200 billion every year.
“Barring drastic unforeseen change in China itself, this is the new normal,” said Alex Sullivan, an analyst at the Center for a New American Security. “There’s a much larger story, and this is emblematic,” he continued. “China is becoming more active in international security affairs than at any time in the history of the People’s Republic because they have an increasing global interest.”
In addition to its new base, China purchased a $185 million stake in the Port of Djibouti. It also has promised to invest $400 million to modernize Djibouti’s ports.
Foreign Affairs noted that if the United States doesn’t take decisive action to counter Chinese dominance, “Washington might find that the country hosting its only military base in sub-Saharan Africa owes more favors to China, its rising global rival, than to the United States itself.”
Djibouti’s location along the gateway that gives the world access to the Red Sea and the Suez Canal makes it strategically critical. As the United States rapidly loses control of sea gates around the world, China is moving in. To learn more about this trend, request our free book by Herbert W. Armstrong The United States and Britain in Prophecy.
Somaliland Head To Polls For Councillors And MPs On May 31, 2021 Last updated May 31, 2021
Voters in the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland are heading to the polls on May, 31 to choose their member of parliament for the first time since 2005.
Somaliland broke off from mainland Somalia after the regime of Siad Barre in 1991.
The 5.2 Million citizens of Somaliland will be making yet another stab at global recognition as some 1.3 million voters head to the polls to choose 82 members of parliament and 247 local councils.
An election whose measure of democracy Somaliland hopes to use in its quest to certify its sovereignty.
Somaliland’s three political parties in the polls are opposition politicians Faisal Warabe’s UCID, Wadani led by another opposition leader Abdirahman Erye and President Muse Bihi Kulmiye party.
The elections is observed by over a hundred international observers including Uganda’s former opposition leader, Kizza Besigye and ex-president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Korma.
”Our visit to the headquarters of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission left us with a good impression about the Commission’s preparedness to conduct peaceful and credible elections,” said in a Twitter post.
The elections are taking place in six regions of Somaliland, namely Awdal, Sahil, Marodi-Jeeh, Toghdeer, Sanaag and Sool.
3 Somalia Regional States Say No To Farmaajo Term Extension.
The regional state leaders of Southwest, HirShabelle, and Galmudug allied with incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo have opposed to any form of extension on Tuesday evening.
In a joint statement Galmudug and HirShabelle called for dialogue based on 17 September pact.
“We agreed that the country should hold elections as soon as possible and that any form of extension should be abolished,” read part of the joint statement by HirShabelle and Galmudug.
Southwest leader Abdiaziz laftagaren also opposed the term extension of the President just an hour after Galmudug and HirShabelle released a joint statement.
The move by the three regional states allied to President was welcomed by Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble who also instructed the military commanders to pull back forces to their locations and barracks.
“I would like to welcome the press statements made by Galmudug and HirShabelle federal states, ” PM Roboe said in a statement.
“I call on the FMS states of Puntland and Jubaland and Benadir region to fully commit to a peaceful process in our efforts to hold free and inclusive election, ” he added.
United Nations, United Kingdom, United States and opposition leaders including former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud commended the move by the regional states.
“The UN in Somalia noting statements by Qoorqqor, Ali Gudlawe, PM Roble and others recalls int’l partners position: consensus is vital for any electoral process; only 17 September model can be endorsed by FGS and all FMS; all parties must reject violence and resume dialogue, ” the United Nations said.
The development comes as families in some parts of Mogadishu fleed from their residences and moved to other district followings clashes.
Somali Gov’t Warns Al-Shabaab & ISIS Will Capitalize On SNA Faction Clashes.
Somali National Security Minister Hassan Hundubey has warned opposition groups to be wary of “unknown elements” including Al-Shabaab and Daesh who might seek to use the current crisis to inflict harm to the public.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday said that the government may take action to confront people with the “behaviour of militias” who are taking advantage of the situation.
“The government has enough troops to take control of the city. It is Ramadan, but more actions need to be taken to prevent it.” mr. Hundebey said.
”The reason the prime minister called for dialogue is that the government does not want the fighting to affect the residence,” he added.
The remarks by the interior minister come hours after the international partners strongly condemned the outbreak of violence in the capital.
“We are alarmed especially by the emerging fragmentation of the Somali National Army along clan lines, which detracts from its primary task of combating Al Shabab and protecting the Somali population. Use of security forces for the pursuit of political objectives is unacceptable” the statement read in part.
As tensions increase in Mogadishu following Sunday clashes between government soldiers and those who were against President Farmaajo’s two years term extension.