Chinese base in Djibouti near Camp Lemmonnier Africa US concern



US
Marine instructors with Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task
Force Africa with members of Djiboutian Groupe d’Intervention de
la Gendarmerie Nationale, August 30, 2012.


Marine
Corps via 1st Lt. Dominic Pitrone



The US’s Camp Lemonnier, a special-operations outpost in the
sweltering East African country of Djibouti, will soon have a new
neighbor.

China will open a new naval base — what it has called “logistical support” facilities — nearby,
bringing the US into closer proximity with a rival power than
some officers have ever experienced.

“You would have to characterize it as a military base,”
Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, chief of US Africa Command,
told reporters in Washington this week. “It’s
a first for them. They’ve never had an overseas base.”

“We’ve never had a base of, let’s just say a peer competitor, as
close as this one happens to be,” Waldhauser told Breaking Defense. “So there’s a lot of
learning going on, a lot of growing going on.”

The base, which Waldhauser said would likely be finished
sometime this summer, will be several miles away from Lemonnier.

Lemonnier, and Djibouti, are strategically located in the Horn of
Africa. They sit on the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a gateway to
Egypt’s Suez Canal, which is one of the world’s busiest shipping
corridors.

They’re also close to the restive country of Somalia and a short
distance from the Arabian Peninsula — particularly Yemen, where
the US has for some time been supporting a Saudi Arabian military
campaign and before that was carrying out operations against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.



Camp
Lemonnier, a US military base in Djibouti, is strategically
located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian
Peninsula.

Google
Maps


More than 4,000 US personnel are at Lemonnier, the US’s
largest…

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