In Djibouti for Good

President Barack Obama secured basing rights in the Horn of Africa by agreeing to a 20-year lease deal for US forces to continue using Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. “Obviously, Camp Lemonnier is extraordinarily important not only to our work throughout the Horn of Africa, but throughout the region,” Obama said after meeting Djiboutian President Ismail Guelleh at the White House in a May 5 joint statement. Roughly 4,000 defense personnel are currently deployed to Camp Lemonnier supporting anti-terror and counter-piracy missions in Yemen, the Gulf of Aden, and around the region. Pending final approval, the new deal more than doubles the annual lease cost from $30 million to $70 million, due primarily to planned base expansion, reported the New York Times. The Pentagon has already invested in new hangars, taxiways, and utilities, and plans to sink roughly $1 billion to upgrade and expand the base from 88 acres to nearly 500 acres, reported the Times.