Monthly Archives: November 2006

¿Derechos Armónicos u Orden Social?

Tras el fracaso de los valores asiáticos y su contraposición con los derechos humanos y políticos “occidentales” aparecen, de la mano de Xu Xianming, member of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. los llamados derechos armónicos. Son la fusión de los derechos humanos y la supuesta armonía oriental (ver artículo traducido en CDT):

Xu divided the development of human rights into four phases. He said the first three phases are freedom-oriented human rights, subsistence-oriented human rights, and development-oriented human rights.
Xu said the incorporation of Chinese culture’s innate spirit of harmony and the western human rights tradition will push human rights to a brand new generation–harmony-oriented human rights.

Este es un concepto en perfecta consonancia con la sociedad armónica + ascenso pacífico que predica el presidente chino Hu. Armonía parece la nueva palabra fetiche del gobierno Chino, quizás parecido a la palabra libertad en occidente. En este sentido, incluso El “Foro de Cooperaciónn de Asia Oriental 2006” que se inicia hoy en la Universidad Renmin de China en Beijing, lleva el nombre de “Construcción de un Asia Oriental armónico: responsabilidad y acción de China, Japón y la República de Corea”.

Analizando el artículo de Xu, me parece que hay dos aspectos interesantes incialmente: en primer lugar, Xu ha reformulado la Declaración Universal de los Derechos Humanos como Declaración Occidental de los Derechos Humanos. En segundo lugar, da por supuesto que existe este “espíritu innato de armonia” en la cultura China. Ninguno de estos dos aspectos estan tan claros.

Ya se que existen muchas Declaraciones de Derechos Humanos (asiáticos, islámicos, africanos, etc.) y también que estos derechos humanos no son perfectamente respetados ni en los países occidentales, sin embargo, ¿estamos dispuestos a aceptar que no són universales?. Pero por otra parte tampoco parece que actualmente la sociedad china sea tan armoniosa como presupone Xu, pues las protestas y conflictos estan aumentando (quizás ya no, ver notícia). Pero ¿en que consiste esta armonía? Xu dice:

Harmony consists of three important aspects: the harmony of bodies and spirits, the harmony of spirits, and the harmony of human beings and nature. Based on this, in a harmonious society, people pursue their human rights with a completely different horizon and spiritual level from the first three generations of human rights.

Xu dice que los derechos humanos no son armónicos pq:

Xu analyzed: freedom-oriented human rights ignore the inherent inequality between human beings, and the unequal human rights make a harmonious human rights system impossible;

(no entiendo esta frase, los derechos humanos no dicen que somos iguales, sino que deberíamos tener los mismos derechos)

subsistence-oriented human rights suppress the work force from actively incorporating with capital, and divert the society from a society of creativity to a society of welfare, which will make the society inactive and unharmonious

(bueno, dice que ¿no es deseable ni compatible el bienestar con la creatividad? ¿o simplemente quiere decir que el concepto de Estado del Bienestar está fracasando?😉

development-oriented human rights are overactive and will disrupt the human rights system, thus it will bring about an unharmonious society.

En el fondo, lo que está proponiendo ¿es un pacto para superar un supuesto choque de civilizaciones? ¿o es otra excusa para no adoptar los derechos humanos?
El problema de verdad lo vemos cuando intentamos ver ejemplos prácticos, y muy especialmente en las libertades políticas. ¿En qué piensa cambiar el derecho humano de libertad de reunión, de expresión, a no torturar, etc?

Las 3 generaciones anteriores han sido incrementalistas, han aumentado el aspecto de los derechos humanos, pero no entiendo cuales són los nuevos derechos de esta 4 generación. Y en este sentido, lo que más me ha preocupado es que no veo que Xu enfoque el tema desde un punto de vista legal, de derechos, sino de simple convivencia.

Xu habla de armonía pero se refiere al orden social, armonia como ausencia de conflicto, pero quizás también como ausencia de libertad. Los derechos humanos (como todo derecho) no quieren acabar con el conflicto sino gestionarlo de forma justa, las sociedades occidentales no consideramos el conflicto malo por naturaleza, sino que defendemos el derechos de las partes en expresarlo y en intentar gestionarlo a través de la participación política y el respeto mutuo. No siempre los conseguimos, y podemos mejorar mucho, pero lo intentamos.

La democracia vive del conflicto, de la contraposición de intereses legítimos, de la participación ciudadana, la libertad, etc. Esta sociedad armónica de Xu me parece muy, muy, muy sospechosa…

Otros links:

Desarrollo harmónico en China. Discurso de Hu a Yale, se puede ver como no pasaría nada si cambiasemos la palabra armonía por orden, así lo entendemos mejor. DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA AND ORIENTATION OF POLICY OF SOCIAL HARMONY

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Calcular la pobreza en China

La revista China Economic Review cita un informe del Banco Mundial (que no he podido encontrar) que establece que en los dos últimos años el 10% de la población más pobre en China ha perdido un 2,3% de sus ingresos, mientras que el 10% de los ricos han incrementado en un 16% sus ingresos. ESto biene a confirmar la creciente desigualdad contra la que intenta luchar el gobierno. Sin embargo, hay otros datos interesantes. China considera pobre aquél que no llegue al 5% del PIB por Capita (83 dólares anuales) mientras que EEUU considera pobre aquél que no llegue al 12% del PIB por capita. Los “pobres” en China són más del doble de pobres que en EEUU.



China’s poor fall behind during boom years
MarketWatch – Nov 21, 2006
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) — The gap between China’s rich and poor widened at a time when the nation was enjoying fast economic growth and vast wealth creation
China’s poorest worse off after boom China Daily
In China, Growth at Whose Cost? Wall Street Journal

Nazarbayev impulsa el neo-pan-turquismo en Asia Central

Cuando aún estamos analizando las reformas constitucionales de Kirgyizistan hemos visto el intento turco de crear una Comonwealth de países de habla turca. En la reunión asistieron Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan y Turquia y además de buenas intenciones en temas culturales, económicos, etc… la reunión tuvo un interesante apunte de seguridad. Así se llegaron a declarar:

We declare that we support peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with the principle of territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, and that we will further support fraternal Azerbaijan in this dispute,”
“increasing importance of the Caspian Basin for the energy security of Europe” and the “strategic importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan [BTC] oil pipeline opening and the [expected] completion of the Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum [BTE] natural gas pipeline.” They also stressed the importance of the possible addition of trans-Caspian transportation routes to both the BTC and the BTE.
Kazakshtani President Nursultan Nazarbayev took observers, and even many participants, by surprise by proposing the creation of a Turkic parliamentary assembly. Nazarbayev went on to nominate former Turkish president and prime minister Suleyman Demirel to serve as the proposed assembly’s first chairman.
If the Turkic states actually opted to coordinate diplomatic action, they might have the collective muscle to alter the existing equilibrium in many geopolitical matters. In the case of Turkey’s troubled drive to join the EU, for example, a Turkic commonwealth could influence Brussels’ decision-making calculus by playing the energy card, letting it be known that a rebuff of Ankara could hinder the EU’s access to Central Asian energy supplies.

Pero, cómo dsetaca IWPR:
Although a proposal to establish an economic and energy union was floated at the recent summit of Turkic states, NBCentralAsia analysts say it is unlikely such a grouping could be founded merely on the basis of linguistic similarities. A cultural and political grouping of Turkic countries seems a more realistic prospect.

Pero ya tenemos el problema de Uzbekistán, una vez más, central para cualquier OIG regional.

Beyond the steps toward closer cooperation, the Turkic summit will be remembered for the public airing of a diplomatic feud between Turkey and Uzbekistan. Some news reports claimed that Uzbek officials stayed away from the gathering to protest the final declaration’s wording on the Karabakh settlement. However, a senior Turkish official said the reason for Tashkent’s displeasure was Turkey’s decision to join the United States in supporting a draft measure in UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Council that would condemn human rights violations in Uzbekistan.

The official was outspoken in his criticism of both Uzbekistan’s rights behavior and Tashkent’s reaction to Ankara’s vote. “It is time that some countries learned that democracy and human rights are essential to integrate into the global system,” he said. “Turkey will persistently work to promote democracy and human rights for the region`s own benefit.”

Turkey’s decision to vote for the draft Human Rights Council resolution was “a reflection of our ideals and understanding of the importance of democracy and respect for human rights,” the official continued. “Turkey has been criticized for similar reasons [human rights violations] in the past, but we never turned it into a bilateral issue, and chose to make improvemenst in our [democracy and human right] records instead.”

Such blunt talk would appear to mark a significant shift in Turkish policy, as Turkish officials had unitl now avoided open criticism of Uzbek government action. It may be that Turkey’s desire to meet EU accession criteria, especially the need to bolster its human rights credentials, is playing a role in the adoption of a toughter line toward Tashkent. The official also indicated that Ankara is growing tired of Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s demands. “They [Uzbek officials] also accuse us of supporting the Uzbek opposition, citing [the fact that] opposition leader Mohammad Solih freely travels to and lives in Turkey. Mr. Solih is free to travel anywhere he wants to go, and travels to Norway, Britain and the United States. Why is Turkey being singled out?” the official said.

Pero Uzbekistán se está replanteando volver a la CSTO (Interfax):

TASHKENT. Nov 22 (Interfax) – The lower house of Uzbekistan’s parliament has ratified the Protocol on the restoration of the country’s membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the parliament’s press service told Interfax.

Y otros problemas sociales entre kazajos y turcos (Eurasianet):

The rioting October 20-21 reportedly was sparked by an incident in which Turkish workers at a construction site at the Tengiz oilfield – one of the largest in the world – accused a Kazakhstani colleague of trying to cut into the lunch line. Nasty words gave way to fisticuffs, and the situation rapidly spun out of control as other workers joined in the mayhem. The ensuing brawl involved roughly 400 workers.

“We have become slaves on our land,” said one. “We do what the Turks say, but you can’t please them. They constantly threaten to fire us. If you are three minutes late, you lose your job.” “We work better and they earn more,” added another.

Finalmente, un buen análisis clánico de las protestas en Kirguizistan, en Eurasianet:

The protest participants represented all generations and most social groups, although unemployed men in their thirties and forties were most conspicuous. There were certainly genuine supporters of democratic reform found in the protester ranks, but the majority of demonstrators were tied to influential opposition leaders through extensive kinship and/or regional networks, known in Russian by the term zemlyachestvo.

For example, Azimbek Beknazarov, a member of parliament, brought in busloads of supporters from the Aksy region, his home region and the site of the 2002 confrontation between government troops. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

Former parliament speaker Tekebayev’s supporters came from his constituency in Bazarkorgon and Jalal-Abad, in southern Kyrgyzstan. Tekebayev also relied on his personal ties with influential MPs and former officials to bolster support for the For Reforms coalition.

Melis Eshimkanov, an opposition MP who owns the Agym newspaper was instrumental in mobilizing rural dwellers as well as his supporters from Naryn province.

Most importantly, the opposition coalition received strong financial backing from several prominent entrepreneurs, including Almazbek Atambayev, Omurbek Babanov and Temir Sariyev. In addition, these wealthy oligarchs mobilized supporters from their home towns in the North, employees of their vast holdings, their relatives and friends.

The logistical capabilities demonstrated by the opposition sharply contrasted with those exhibited by Bakiyev and his supporters. The president, like his political opponents, attempted to tap into kinship and patronage networks. Only Bakiyev’s networks proved far less organized than the opposition’s.

There are good and bad lessons to be learned from the constitutional crisis and its outcome. On the positive side, the events of early November in Bishkek showed that a well-organized and peaceful protest movement in Central Asia can accomplish desired change. It’s especially noteworthy that the For Reforms movement proved capable of bridging regional divisions in pursuit of a common goal. The movement’s success could prompt political elites in other Central Asian nations to develop similar vertical and horizontal networks to challenge authoritarianism.

The potential negative consequence is that the November events could accelerate the trend known as “hyper-democracy,” in which self-interested wealthy actors rely on mass mobilization to promote their own narrow political and economic interests.

Un blogg carregat de mala llet

Falsa noticia , segons la qual, el president nordamericà va causar un incident internacional al esquinçar-li la màniga a hu Jintao. Una mica de photoshop, i a fer miracles…

Si el visiteu, veureu que es centra en l’administració Bush per fer humor salvatge, salvatge. Alguns, són prou bons. D’altres, són malintencionats (ataquen sense compassió). I d’altres… terrorífics.

Un exemple:

09/28/06 White House Pronounces Musharraf, Karzai, Bush Dinner Meeting a Success

Washington, DC (APE) – Billed as an event that might have descended into international slapstick, the White House today announced that President Bush’s dinner meeting last night with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf went off without a hitch. White House spokesperson Tony Snow stated that the president had become further impressed with his two allies, describing them as a couple of very “wise guys”.

The evening began with the three leaders discussing highly classified plans for the war against Al Qaeda over drinks. The only tense situation occurred when Afghan President Karzai almost disclosed the secret location of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, but he was quickly and politely muffled by Bush and Musharraf. The White House described the meeting overall as very cordial otherwise, and filled with much of the exaggerated nuances in body language that they had expected.
In typical Bush administration tradition, Bush early on assigned nicknames to both leaders, and referred to them as “Pervey” and “Karzey” throughout the evening.

Enllaç a http://www.dudehisattva.com/

Dragones Africanos

Excelente artículo de James Traub en el IHT sobre las posibilidades de desarrollo que ofrece China para África. Gracias a las inversiones y comercio con China, Angola se ha convertido en una de las principales economías emergentes, creciento más de un 16% en 2006 y se preve un 20% para el 2007. ¿Puede este fenómeno extenderse?

Africa has moved from last place to third in this year’s regional rankings for reforms that encourage new enterprises, formal sector jobs and growth, according to the World Bank.

Pero parece que el desarrollo no va a ser tan rapido y que nos encontramos en una Africa de dos velocidades (BM):

About a third of Africa’s population lives in countries where population growth outstrips economic growth and where the economy is actually regressing, Page says.

But he says prospects are good in about 14 countries that are home to 65 percent of Africans. About 30 percent live in natural resource exporting countries, and another 35 percent live in countries that have been growing at an average rate of 5 percent a year for the last 10 years.

China quiere a Africa por sus riquezas naturales y especialmente sus recursos energéticos. Resulta paradójico que el continente se encuentra acutalmente en una crisis energética que afecta a la mitad de los países. Como ya sabemos, el crecimiento basado en los hidrocarburos no lleva al desarrollo sino a la trampa de los recursos, pero puede ser el primer empujón para África.

Estos posibles dragones pueden impulsar el crecimiento regional, pero ¿existe una oca que lidere?.

The Little Data Book on Africa 2006 – Download e-book – PDF 558
Blue Square 50 Interesting Facts about Sub-Saharan Africa

Can Asia Count on Russian Oil?

Michael Richardson

As oil exports start to flow to India and other parts of Asia from a new field near the Russian Pacific coast, can the region count on Russia as a reliable supplier of energy?

Russia is a key player in the energy game because it is the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and the second-biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia. It also has the potential to become an even bigger supplier to other countries. The energy outlook for Asia and the Pacific will unfold a bit further when Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov arrives in Beijing later this month on a scheduled visit. He will do so amid signs that Moscow is seeking to enhance its power in Asia by offering to meet an increasingly large portion of the region’s rapidly growing demand for energy.

However, it is China that seems most likely to become the main partner and beneficiary of Russia’s Asia-Pacific strategy. This will cause consternation in Japan just when its new leader, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is trying to reassert Japanese influence in the region. The United States, too, will be concerned that the energy security of its key Asian ally is being undermined while China is being promised much bigger long-term supplies of Russian oil and gas. Europe is also likely to worry that future Russian energy sales in Asia will be at the expense of supplies to the European Union.

Japan’s ties with Russia are bedevilled by an unsettled territorial dispute that dates back to the end of World War II. By contrast, China and Russia closed a long chapter of Cold War enmity in 2004 when they resolved remaining issues and signed a border treaty. Political, military, trade and investment ties are expanding fast and Mr Fradkov will be aiming to make them stronger still when he visits Beijing. Both Russia and China have said they want to counterbalance the power of the US and its allies.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pointedly told a group of Western journalists and academics in September that relations with China were at their best ever, and that conditions were now in place for keeping them at this level for a long time. He added that Russia plans a massive increase in its energy exports to Asia by selling 30 per cent of its oil and gas to the region in 10 to 15 years, compared with 3 per cent today.

Is this an attempt by Moscow to use Asia as a bargaining chip in its dispute with Europe over the terms on which Russia supplies vast quantities of gas to the continent and gains access to its energy industry? Perhaps in part. But Mr Putin himself noted that economic activity was moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific and that Russia, which has about two-thirds of its territory in Asia, wanted to take advantage of this.

Several recent developments suggest that Russia is serious about strengthening ties with Asia, chiefly with China, and using its abundant energy reserves as leverage to gain greater economic and political influence. Two multi-billion-dollar oil and gas fields being brought into production by mainly foreign producers off Sakhalin Island in Russia’s far east have run foul of Russian regulators. This is widely seen as part of an attempt by Russian state-owned oil, gas and pipeline construction monopolies to take control of energy reserves and distribution networks in Siberia and the Pacific coast in preparation for government-directed sales to favoured customers in Asia.

For the Exxon Mobil-led Sakhalin-1 project, this happened just as its first oil exports were starting.

Japan’s new leader, Mr Abe, has warned that forced contract changes or delays in the second of these projects, known as Sakhalin-2, will have ‘negative repercussions on the whole of our relations with Russia’.

Japan’s electricity utilities have signed long-term contracts with this Shell-led project on Sakhalin Island, which is immediately north of Japan, to deliver gas equal to about 10 per cent of Japan’s total needs, starting in 2008. Mitsui and Mitsubishi, two of the country’s largest trading companies, own 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively of the project, being built at an estimated cost of US$20 billion (S$31 billion).

Meanwhile, China, too, is keen to lock in pipeline supplies of both oil and gas from Russia, which has the world’s biggest natural gas reserves and the eighth-largest oil reserves. Last year, China imported nearly 13 million tonnes of crude oil from Russia, or just over 10 per cent of total imports. This ratio has been rising steadily since 1999, when imports of Russian oil were negligible.

Russia is now China’s fourth main source of foreign oil, after Angola, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Sales would be growing even faster if they did not have to rely so much on Russian rail transport, which is expensive. Mr Putin indicated that building new oil and gas pipelines to China over the next few years would intensify shipments.

This sounds like music to Chinese ears. But Russia has a history of failing to deliver on some of its energy promises. Oil sales to China this year are unlikely to be more than 11 million tonnes, 4 million tonnes less than projected. Many of the oil and gas reserves believed to be in Siberia have yet to be proven.

And Moscow still has not made it absolutely clear whether the pipeline being extended eastwards from Taishet in Siberia will first carry oil into China, or to Japan and other customers via an outlet on the Pacific coast.

At this point, however, China appears to be the likely winner.

US forces stretched thin worldwide

Some military and defense analysts say the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are diluting troop strength, equipment and morale on other fronts.

By Carmen Gentile for ISN Security Watch (16/11/06)

The continuing deployment of US troops to Iraq and Afghanistan has diluted the pool of soldiers stationed throughout the world to dangerously thin proportions in some areas, according to experts, also resulting in a chronic dearth of military equipment both on the home front and at overseas posts.

The 140,000-plus US troops in Iraq and 30,000 or more stationed in Afghanistan have caused a drain on other long-time US military obligations abroad, such as South Korea, Japan and Germany, notes one military analyst.

Others point out that a systematic redeployment of US troops from the Korean Peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and other locales has been planned for several years.

Last month, ISN Security Watch reported on fatigue among enlisted personnel and troops – some of whom are on their third tour of duty in Iraq – and the waning morale among reservists and other part-time members of the military.

With some 350,000 troops stationed in approximately 120 countries, over 60 percent of the US Army is dedicated to active duty. Currently, the US military is enacting a “one in three” policy in which active duty soldiers must serve one year abroad for every three years of duty.

Meanwhile, the ongoing conflicts have led some to believe that the US military is at a “tipping point” that could lead to serious shortcomings regarding its “ability to field sufficient forces of a high level of quality and equipment that ensures our security,” according to a soon-to-be released report by the Washington think-tank The Brookings Institution, obtained in advance by ISN Security Watch.

The report notes gaps in the demand for new equipment and the supply available to forces on the front lines. Several experts note that those shortcomings often are filled with supplies from other US posts throughout the world, leaving those bases with supply and manpower shortages.

Some analysts also warn that while recruitment levels were adequate for 2006, the US Army failed to meet its quotas for the previous two years. With some 500,000 plus troops needed to field a rotating fighting force of 170,000 or so in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military could face a shortage of the fresh faces needed to replenish its legions.

At the same time, countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations go largely ignored, a serious concern among some defense and military intelligence officials who warn that those countries are breeding grounds for Islamic extremism and in some cases potential targets for future terror attacks.

“It is certainly far from broken, but serious warning symptoms are becoming clear; small compromises in accepting gaps in personnel and equipment are beginning to have huge consequences,” read the report.

“What keeps me awake at night is what will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?” General Richard Cody, Army vice chief of staff, said during a 2005 congressional testimony

The future of military staffing

While the US Army failed to meet its 2004 and 2005 recruitment goals, the US Marines reportedly met its mark for those same years, apparently due to superior marketing, according to John E Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org.

“The problem wasn’t the product, it was the sales pitch,” Pike told ISN Security Watch. The previous “Army of One” motto had proved to be a weak lure for perspective soldiers compared to “The Few, The Proud, the Marines,” he added.

“But the Army got a new ad agency and fixed their marketing problems,” Pike noted, referring to the “Army Strong” advertising made popular this year.

“With a bond new campaign, recruitment targets were back on track for 2006.”

Though recruitment may be back on track, there is a lingering dilemma regarding the US National Guard and Army Reserve, both of which are understaffed and “under-strength” due to shortfalls in everything from uniforms to arms and vehicles.

Budgeting has been blamed by some for the lack of certain equipment, but the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are also responsible for some of the setbacks experienced by troops stationed outside those two theaters.
According to Peter Singer, a military analyst at The Brookings Institution, the National Guard has 34 percent of needed equipment, while the Army Reserve has 76 percent of its equipment needs fulfilled.

Singer notes that equipment fatigue rates are higher than defense officials had originally calculated. Vehicles like Humvees that were expected to last 13 years in the field are more often than not wearing out after an average of two years. Light armored vehicles with a projected 30-year life span often last no more than six years.

Without adequate supplies, troops earmarked for deployment will not be combat ready for either front or even service at another foreign US post.
“Then comes a point at which when a unit just isn’t deployable,” Pike says.
The Pentagon is currently following a “one in five” deployment schedule for military reservists, according to Mackenzie Eaglen, military analyst with the Washington DC-based Heritage Foundation.

That ratio could be reduced in the coming years to the “one in three” ratio used by active duty forces if troop levels on both fronts are sustained for the foreseeable future.

Disengaging from other long-term deployments

US forces are currently scaling back troop levels in other long-term deployments like South Korea, where soldiers have been stationed for some 56 years and have begun a long-term withdrawal plan from the DMZ.
However, disengagement from South Korea is not easy, considering what some say is Seoul’s dependence on the US military presence.

“Does anyone think China or North Korea are going to overrun the South? Of course not,” opined the Globalsecurity.org director.

Though no one is sure why the US still has troops in South Korea, Pike says, “it’s still difficult to just up and leave.”

According to Eaglen, a “systematic reduction” in force levels in South Korea – currently around 30,000 – not only is needed to provide replacement troops for Iraq and Afghanistan, but would in essence slowly extricate US military involvement in the peninsula, a goal that has been on the books at the Pentagon for some time.

“Once you make a commitment it’s difficult to disengage because people rely on you and consider you an honest broker,” she said.

The role of US forces in Djibouti questioned

A lesser-known deployment of US troops is the 1,600-strong US Combined Joint Task Force based in Djibouti.

Its mission, according to a recent Globalsecurity.org report, is to “focus on detecting, disrupting and ultimately defeating transnational terrorist groups operating in the region – denying safe havens, external support and material assistance for terrorist activity.”

Western intelligence agencies believe that Somalia and other nations in the region, including Yemen, are recruiting and training centers for al-Qaida and other such networks.

Since moving to Djibouti in May 2003, the task force has worked with local troops in the Horn and East Africa toward “building relationships [with local leaders and informants] for when they might need them later,” Singer notes.

The Brookings analyst also notes that the 2002 Predator drone missile strike on Yemen that killed a US citizen was supposedly launched from the US base in Djibouti, which at one time was occupied by French forces.
The interest in the region could one day lead to the creation by the Pentagon of an “Africa Command” similar to the other area specific commands the Defense Department operates.