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China Has A Naval Base A Few Miles From A U.S. Military Base In Djibouti
The Daily Caller
by Eliot Bakker
President Donald Trump has routinely called China out on its relentless attempts to take advantage of the United States. His administration should turn an eye to the unlikely contender for China’s latest gambit: the African nation of Djibouti, where erratic president Ismail Omar Guelleh recently claimed a landslide victory in legislative elections widely acknowledged to be a farce, and then forcibly seized control of the Doraleh port from the Emirati company, DP World, which had leased the harbor since 2006.
The United States has put up with Guelleh’s despotism for years because Djibouti has allowed the American military to use a former French Foreign Legion post as a launching pad for essential counter-terrorism operations in the Middle East. This benefit was mostly gutted when Djibouti blindsided American officials by allowing China to build a naval base only seven miles from the U.S. installation.
Guelleh’s government euphemistically described the hostile takeover of the Doraleh port as the “unilateral termination” of DP World’s contract and floated some flimsy excuses for commandeering the valuable harbor — from supposed irregularities in the original lease to allegations DP World paid bribes to get the concession. The Djibouti authorities didn’t appear to care that these same claims were summarily debunked in a recent United Kingdom arbitration case, in which Djibouti had been slapped down for submitting misleading and incorrect information.