In the final of the ‘Permanent War’ series from the Washington Post, Craig Whitlock reports on the expansion of Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the U.S. first ‘counter-terrorism’ base, and the hub of drone operations in Somalia and Yemen. In fact, drones take off and land around 16 times a day at the base, which is sandwiched between Somalia (10 miles to the Southeast) and Yemen (North, across the Gulf of Aden).
The origin of the base lies as a ‘Third World’ outpost by the French Foreign Legion (Yemen itself is a former French colony). About a decade ago it was used for marines looking to gain a foothold in the region. Since then, it has been transformed into the busiest Predator base outside of Afghanistan. The secretive 500 acre base is dedicated to counter-terrorism–the first of its kind–against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in a perpetual war.
Activities at Camp Lemonnier increased in 2010 after 8 Predators were delivered, turning the camp into a fully-fledged drone base. AQAP in Yemen had attempted to bomb two U.S.-bound airliners and jihadists in Somalia consolidated their hold. JSOC plays a central role at the base, with 300 Special Forces personnel coordinating raids from inside a barb wired compound. A total of 3,200 U.S. troops, civilians, and contractors are assigned to the camp where they ‘train foreign militaries, gather intelligence and dole out humanitarian aid across East Africa as part of a campaign to prevent extremists from taking root’.
Posted in Africa, Gulf Of Aden, Middle East, Somalia, Terrorist Supporters, War & Conflicts, Yemen
- Tagged Camp Lemonnier, Craig Whitlock, Djibouti, French Foreign Legion, Joint Special Operations Command, Somalia, Washington Post, Yemen
posted at 10:55 am on January 29, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
Over the last few days, the Obama administration reliance on a law-enforcement approach to counterterrorism has come under bipartisan fire. Reports that key CT officials were not consulted on how to handle the EunuchBomber angered Congress enough to propose a law requiring such consultation in the future. Now, with Democrats beginning to object to the New York City trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the closure of Gitmo hopelessly mired in what the Washington Post calls “dwindling options,” Lindsey Graham will attempt to reintroduce a bill prohibiting any funding for federal trials of 9/11 terrorists, at least:
The closure of the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is beginning to look like a protracted and uncertain project for the Obama administration as political, legal and security concerns limit the president’s options.
Having blown the one-year closure deadline set last January in an executive order, the administration is planning to transfer some detainees to a state prison it hopes to acquire in Illinois. But there appears to be little mood in Congress to provide the administration with either the funding for the prison or the authority to transfer detainees who will be held indefinitely. … Continue reading