updated 7:33 AM MST, Nov 17, 2017


Lewiston-Auburn residents protest Djibouti president in Kennedy Park

Mako Hussein, in pink, of Lewiston, stomps on a photo of Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh on Friday afternoon in Kennedy Park. Dozens of people gathered in the park with signs and a bullhorn to protest.
Dozens of people gathered in Kennedy Park in Lewiston Friday afternoon with signs and a bullhorn to protest Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, the treatment of his people and Guelleh's allowing the Chinese to build a new military base in Djibouti.

Abdillahi Bouh, who owns the Djibouti Store & Halal on Lisbon Street, said Lewiston has a roughly 800-900 member Djibouti community.

"Today we're just manifesting," said Omar Youssouf, who's been in the U.S. since 1983. "He's got to go, man. That's why we ask America, we need help."

Fahmi Galab, who also lives in Lewiston, said the new Chinese naval base upsets him.

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US and China Move In On Djibouti As It Distinguishes Itself From Horn of Africa Neighbors

Merlin Linehan -
It was no accident that James “Mad Dog” Mattis made Djibouti one of his first overseas trips as US Secretary of Defence, this tiny African country on the Horn of Africa is home to the USA’s only African military base, a significant hub for the ongoing fight against terrorism across Africa and the Middle East. Djibouti also hosts French and Japanese bases and will soon house China’s first overseas military logistics centre.

Many countries are described as strategically located, which often a cliché, but in Djibouti’s’ case it is true as it guards the Bab el Mandeb Strait at the entrance to the Red Sea where much of the world’s shipping traffic passes. Djibouti City which houses much of the nation’s population is a lively trading entrepôt terming with merchants and traders from Africa, the Gulf and beyond as well as soldiers, sailors and spies on account of the number of military bases there. According to the Djiboutian government the Russians also requested permission to build a base in the country something which the authorities are currently considering.

In this spirit the country has declared itself open for business; foreign investment is encouraged and foreigners are given (in theory at least) the same rights as locals in terms of property. The Djiboutian Franc is pegged to the dollar giving a degree of foreign currency stability not enjoyed by other African currencies. The nation’s lack of natural resources bar its location means that it has been forced to look elsewhere to make a living.

There are noises about Djibouti becoming the next Dubai, which is seems a bit fanciful right now but the country has attracted much attention and funding from the Emirate including the building of luxury complex the US$400 million Palace Djibouti Hotel. In the long term in order to emulate Dubai the Djiboutian government are focusing on the three “Ts”; namely Trade, Transport and Tourism.

Transport is an obvious sector as Djibouti is the link to the sea for landlocked Ethiopian trade, its proximity to busy shipping lanes also make it an obvious logistics hub for passing container traffic. Chinese companies have featured heavily in the development of transport links building the new rail line to Addis Ababa and the new Dorelah port which has massively increased the nation’s port capacity.
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The country is also encouraging light manufacturing centres which can complement neighbouring Ethiopia’s industrial drive. To help this ambition Chinese firm Dalian Port Corporation just started construction work on a what will be Africa’s biggest free trade zone and will house numerous manufacturing facilities.
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Tourism is less obvious but the government are planning to make the country a eco-tourism destination and could expect to attract tourists from the Gulf region, the wider Middle East and even Europe. The country features the world’s saltiest lake, active volcanos and excellent scuba diving.

All this make Djibouti an idea place to set up a regional logistics firm, eco-tourism centre for visitors from the Gulf or some kind of manufacturing facility, perhaps for goods started in Ethiopia and completed in Djibouti.

Overall Djibouti’s economic performance has been good of late with GDP growth of 7% in 2016 which indicate that the country is at least moving in the right direction.

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Saudi Arabia and Djibouti sign military cooperation deal

Deputy Crown Prince, Djibouti Defense Minister Discuss Aspects of Cooperation and Latest Developments in the Region (SPA)

Riyadh – Saudi Arabia and Djibouti signed on Wednesday a cooperation agreement in the military field.

The agreement, which aims at enhancing military cooperation between the two states, was co-signed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, and his Djiboutian counterpart Ali Hasan Bahdon.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed held a meeting with Bahdno at his office where they reviewed bilateral relations and discussed aspects of cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense. They also discussed the latest developments in the region and the joint efforts supporting peace and stability, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The meeting was attended by Chief of General Staff Abdul Rahman al-Bonyan, Consultant at the Royal Court and Supervisor General of the Defense Minister’s office Fahd al-Isa, Deputy Chief of Staff of Djibouti Maj-Gen Taher Muhammad Ali, and Commander of the Djibouti Naval Forces Colonel Abdurahman Ali.

Earlier, the Deputy Crown Prince met with Brett McGurk, the US president’s envoy for the global coalition to counter ISIS, SPA said.

During the meeting, they reviewed the latest developments in the Middle East, including the fight against ISIS terrorist organization and international efforts to ensure the region’s security and stability, it added.
Asharq Al-Awsat

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