Playing maiden to America's war machine: not many people can spot it on the map, but Djibouti has increasingly become important in the American scheme of war. (Around Africa: Djibouti).Like it or not, Africa will have to play a part in the looming war against Iraq. Djibouti's militarily strategic ports on the Red Sea, wanted by America since the September 11 attack, are going to be a vital staging post staging post n → escala
staging post n → relais m
staging post n → Zwischenstation f . Djibouti's president, Ismail Omar Guelleh Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Somali: Ismaaciil Cumar Geelle. Arabic: اسماعيل عُمر جليه) (born November 27, 1947 in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia) is the second president of Djibouti. , has agreed that America and Britain could establish military bases in his country. They may have twisted his arms with the argument that Djibouti was the ideal place from where they could monitor and pursue terrorists trying to transit, hide, train or organise in areas in or near the Horn of Africa Horn of Africa, peninsula, NE Africa, opposite the S Arabia Peninsula. Also known as the Somali Peninsula, it encompasses Somalia and E Ethiopia and is the easternmost extension of the continent, separating the Gulf of Aden from the Indian Ocean. . This area covers Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti itself, Sudan, Kenya (a theatre recently of terrorist attack) and Yemen.
Tiny Djibouti, a former French colony, lies across the Red Sea from Yemen where Britain and America suspect members of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network have hideouts.
America has a 9,000 strong military command called the "Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa", commanded by Maj-Gen John F. Sattler Lieutenant General John F. Sattler, United States Marine Corps, is the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Biography
Born and raised in Monroeville, PA, Sattler received his commission as second lieutenant in June 1971, following , in place in Djibouti. They have joined more than 2,000 French troops already stationed there. Another 1,000 Germans as well as a number of British forces have also been deployed, adding up to the biggest international military build-up ever seen on African soil.
In the past several weeks, as the preparations for war against Iraq have gathered momentum, America has deployed an additional 1,000 marines to Djibouti. The deployment followed private talks in December between the US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and President Guelleh. Rumsfeld, then on a tour in the region, was accompanied by a large delegation of high-ranking military officials.
Since then, Djiboutians have been witnessing a great display of American military power and advanced weapons systems. The growing US influence in the country is also reflected in the opening in December of a Voice of America Voice of America, broadcasting service of the United States Information Agency, est. 1942. Originally set up as a means of fighting the cold war, the Voice of America produces and broadcasts radio programs in English and foreign languages to other countries in order FM radio station in the capital, Djibouti City.
Elsewhere, Diego Garcia Diego Garcia, coral island, 11 sq mi (28 sq km). Indian Ocean, largest island of the Chagos Archipelago, SW of Sri Lanka. Part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the island was leased (1970) to the United States and later developed as a joint U.S. , "Africa's forgotten island" in the Indian Ocean Indian Ocean, third largest ocean, c.28,350,000 sq mi (73,427,000 sq km), extending from S Asia to Antarctica and from E Africa to SE Australia; it is c.4,000 mi (6,400 km) wide at the equator. It constitutes about 20% of the world's total ocean area. , colonised Adj. 1. colonised - inhabited by colonists
inhabited - having inhabitants; lived in; "the inhabited regions of the earth" by Britain and then handed over to America in a secret deal in 1965 (see NA, Sept 2002), will soon host the giant US Navy hospital ship, USS Comfort, which left its home port of Baltimore after the New Year. Diego Garcia acted as a critically important refuelling re·fu·el
v. re·fu·eled also re·fu·elled, re·fu·el·ing also re·fu·el·ling, re·fu·els also re·fu·els
To supply again with fuel.
v.intr. and launch base during the 1991 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein. On 17 December 1998, America launched nearly 100 long-range cruise missiles from there aimed at Iraq.
Meanwhile, African voices against a new war against Iraq are becoming louder and louder. In mid-January, African delegates to the Afro-Arab Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, expressed strong solidarity with Iraq.
The first salvo of the African anti-war voices had come last September in the shape of Nelson Mandela, accusing America of being "a threat to world peace" in an interview with Newsweek magazine. Mandela told the magazine that "Bush's decision [to attack Iraq] was motivated by his desire to please the arms and oil industries in the United States whose mouthpieces were found amongst the very 'dinosaurs surrounding him".
On 5 January, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace laureate and prominent antiapartheid campaigner, added his voice, telling a British ITV (1) See interactive TV.
(2) (iTV) The code name for Apple's video media hub (see Apple TV). programme that Tony Blair's support for the US over Iraq was "mind-boggling".
"Many, many of us are deeply saddened to see a great country such as the US being aided and abetted extraordinarily by Britain to wage war on Iraq", Tutu added.
To him, "compassion not destruction" was needed to bring about change in Iraq. He accused the US of maintaining "a double standard" over weapons of mass destruction Weapons that are capable of a high order of destruction and/or of being used in such a manner as to destroy large numbers of people. Weapons of mass destruction can be high explosives or nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological weapons, but exclude the means of transporting or , which are also found in Israel, Europe and America itself, and said Washington was failing to listen to the concerns and fears of the world as it steam-rolled its way to war against Iraq.