Published on 06 August 2015

Diplomat dust-ups in Djibouti


It took only a simple slap to ruin ties between the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti, and beyond that to trigger a major shift in diplomatic alliances around the Gulf of Aden. The Gulf states, which had planned to install a military base in Djibouti, are now turning instead to Eritrea, Djibouti's big rival. In response, Djibouti president Ismaïl Omar Guelleh is playing more than ever on his country's strategic position in the Gulf of Aden to stir up rivalry between Washington and Beijing. After allowing the Chinese to set up a naval base at Obock, Guelleh is now trying to smooth maters over with the United States. He flew to Addis Ababa on July 25 to confer with Barack Obama during the American president's diplomatic tour of East Africa.

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