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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Djibouti: From French Outpost to U.S. Base
Author:Bollee, Amedee
Periodical:Review of African Political Economy
Geographic term:Djibouti
Subjects:political change
foreign policy
Politics and Government
Economics and Trade
international relations
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03056244.2003.9659779
Abstract:When President Ismail Omar Guelleh was elected in April 1999 to succeed his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had been president of the Republic of Djibouti since independence in 1977, he faced four basic issues, two domestic and two external: first, how to retain the monopoly of power his Somali subclan (the Issa/Mamasan) had enjoyed since the French handed power to them, in the face of an Afar armed insurrection and a growing demand for democratization from the whole population; second, how to manage an economy bankrupted by the 1991-1994 civil war with the Afar rebels of FRUD (Front pour la restauration de l'unité et de la démocratie); third, how to keep Djibouti's balance in an unstable regional environment; and fourth, how to deal with the French, who did not particularly like him, but whose military presence and economic aid were essential to the country's economy. Then came 11 September 2001 and a huge opportunity for Djibouti. On 20 January 2003, Guelleh went to Washington on a State visit and clinched an undisclosed deal worth c. 30 million dollars a year. Washington sees Djibouti as a convenient and cheap platform where it can deploy troops for possible hit-and-run raids into Somalia and Yemen. The 'war on terror' has proved a bonanza for the mini-State on the Red Sea. Notes. [ASC Leiden abstract]