Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Oil Wars

This article on the plethora of countries camping out in Djibouti is interesting. The Saudi Arabia participation is most interesting to me.

It's all about the location:

Home to only around 800,000 people, Djibouti is now crowded with the military bases of several world powers.

Its port guards the entrance to the Red Sea and Suez Canal on one of the world's busiest shipping routes.

"This is certainly the reason why in addition to the French there are today many international forces wanting to establish a presence in Djibouti," said General Philippe Montocchio, the commander of French forces in the country.

"There are of course the Americans, the Japanese, the Italians, now the Chinese, and certainly in the near future, the Saudis."

We have a very low-key base--although we would never call it that--that monitors the region and carries out operations in both CENTCOM and AFRICOM. Despite being in Africa, I think of it as more of a CENTCOM asset, really.

The French are there, a left-over from when it was their colony. We are there for anti-terror operations. The Italians have a history in the region, having once controlled southern Somalia and having conquered Ethiopia prior to World War II.

The Japanese and Chinese have interests in securing the starting point of their oil imports.

And then there is Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has interests in blocking Iranian efforts to gain influence along the Red Sea--whether in Yemen or across the sea in Africa--in order to secure their alternate oil export facilities on the Red Sea that bypass Iran's power to interdict oil exports out of the Persian Gulf.

So Saudi Arabia will join the international gathering in the Horn of Africa, too.

Location, location, location.

And the oil, of course.