Djibouti: Tiny strategic hub plays host to armies from seven nations

Special to

By Backgrounder,

Djibouti, a former French colony, is a country of searing heat (summer temperatures average over 100 degrees) and little rain (17 days a year on average). The population of the East African state is 900,000, which ranks 159th in the world.

djiboBut the tiny state on the Horn of Africa is also strategically located with shipping access to the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. Six nations already have their African military hubs in Djibouti and China is knocking on the door as well.

Djibouti lies on one side of the Bab al-Mandab strait, through which all shipping passing northward through the Suez Canal to Europe or southward to the Indian Ocean has to sail through.

The United States has the center of its African network of drone and surveillance bases at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Spain also have a military presence in Djibouti. China will soon have one.

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