November 30, 2002 1:04 PM   Subscribe

Djibouti As the United States builds up its combat power in the Horn of Africa, tiny Djibouti has emerged as the staging area for Washington's campaign against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups in the region. But Djibouti is also a telling example of a problem that has bedeviled the Bush administration's war on terror: the struggle to harmonize its own military goals with the needs of the countries in which it is operating. Put simply, the administration seems to be better at taking the fight to its enemies than helping its friends.(NYT)
posted by elwoodwiles (3 comments total)
I don't want to dispute that the "three-legged stool" concept has merit, and that its implementation will frequently be lacking. I think this article is slanted, though, and may be part of a concerted campaign for aid.

[Djibouti's] new friendship with Washington is expected to mean about $10 million in aid next year. That's after seven years without any help, followed by $8.7 million in 2002.

To me, that looks like a significant increase in aid, directly tied to Djibouti's military and diplomatic cooperation. Also, if you remove the monies for the airport upgrades (which will no doubt assist, to some degree, in improving prospects for commerce and tourism, not to mention the added security of working closely with two of the largest powers in the world), you get about $6M this year alone for other purposes. Keeping in mind that Djibouti is an entire country smaller in population than Milwaukee, you get about $10 per capita. This is in contrast to other US aid spending, which is generally at a much lower level (Egypt and Israel are the exceptions, receiving around $70 and $750 per capita, respectively). Picking a few African countries at random, I found aid levels in the $3-5 per capita range, including drought-stricken Zambia.

So it actually seems as though US aid to Djibouti is higher than average for the region, and has recently increased substantially, both of which run counter to the standalone numbers (just this one year, just this one country) given in the NYT article.
posted by dhartung at 11:08 PM on November 30, 2002

I can't help it -- every time I read "Djibouti" I immediately think of some forgotten comedian's riff on the poor country's name. "I want some of Djibouti! Woo!"
posted by tweebiscuit at 10:07 PM on December 1, 2002

Yeah, "Djibouti" sounds silly. They should have stuck with "Afars and Issas."
posted by languagehat at 12:14 PM on December 2, 2002

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