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04DJIBOUTI1156 2004-08-31 07:58:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Djibouti
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					UNCLAS DJIBOUTI 001156 



E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary. September marks the beginning of the school
year in Djibouti and with it, the return of thousands of
Djiboutians who have spent the last few months in cooler
neighboring climes. While historically part of the pattern of
life, expanded travel indicates growing middle class wealth.
The negative aspect from a security perspective is that it
also indicates how easy moving around has become. End summary

2. (U) Historically Djiboutians who could afford it, traveled
themselves and/or sent their families to cooler inland areas
from June through August, Djibouti's hottest months. This
predilection to get out of town was re-enforced by the French
habit of taking leave in August, but rather than go to the
sea, Djiboutians go to the hills. The Dire Dawa region of
Ethiopia is a favored destination because it is cooler, many
Djiboutians have roots and extended families there and khat
is readily available. Since khat is part of the local
lifestyle for thousands of Djiboutians, a vacation without
access to their daily jolt would be unthinkable. Nazreth and
Addis Ababa are also desired Ethiopian destinations. Hargeysa
in nearby Somaliland also serves the same purpose. All of
these destinations can be reached by road as well as air and
a journey to Dire Dawa can even be accomplished by a rickety
old train. In all these destinations, Djiboutian oriented
hotels and activities exist.

3 (U). Djibouti's daily paper the Nation reported that a
destination of choice this summer was Yemen. Sales of air
tickets were up three-fold. The highlands of Yemen were
reported to be cheap, cool and with a nice ambiance - also
khat. On the reciprocal side the paper observed that a good
number of persons from the Djboutian diaspora in Europe and
Canada returned home in August to visit.

4. (U) The extent of such regional tourism re-enforces
extended family links and underscores the interconnectivity
of folks in this region. For example, this week an embassy
FSN brought us an appeal from a relative who is a minister in
the Hargeysa government regarding Somaliland's viability.
Certainly this web of family and friendship, which unites
people of Somali ethnicity, is widespread.

5. (SBU) Although not reported in the paper, the GODj's
ability to track comings and goings through the airport will
be greatly enhanced by the installation of the U.S. provided
Terrorist Interdiction Program system, which is now in final
testing. However, the land and sea borders remain very porous
and records, even of those who travel in conformance with
regulations, are very skimpy. Thus, increased mobility of
the citizenry at large also improves the mobility and
hideability of bad actors.