|10DJIBOUTI3||2010-01-04 18:33:00||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy Djibouti|
VZCZCXYZ0003 OO RUEHWEB DE RUEHDJ #0003 0041833 ZNY SSSSS ZZH O R 041833Z JAN 10 FM AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI TO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1201 RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC INFO RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL RHMFISS/CJTF HOA FWD RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI RUEHYN/AMEMBASSY SANAA 0057 RUZEFAA/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
S E C R E T DJIBOUTI 000003
1.(C ) Summary: Djiboutian Foreign Minister convoked Ambassador
January 4 to convey a verbal message from President Guelleh
requesting additional USG counter-terrorism assistance in view of
growing extremist threats from Somalia and Yemen. Djibouti is "in
the middle" of these high-risk countries, the Minister noted, but
receives only modest CT assistance from the USG. Embassy believes
there would be benefit to increasing USG assistance for (1) GODJ's
incipient anti-terrorism unit, (2) border security programs, and
(3) professionalization of police and security forces. This
assistance would not only improve security for Djiboutians, but
would also enhance force protection for the more than 2,000 U.S.
military personnel stationed at Camp Lemonnier (the only U.S.
military base in sub-Saharan Africa) and the nearly 100 U.S. naval
vessels that call at Djibouti Port annually. End summary.
2.(S/NF) Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf called in
Ambassador early January 4. Youssouf said that President Ismail
Omar Guelleh had spoken with him the night before, very concerned
about extremist threats from Somalia and Yemen. Conveying the
President's message, Youssouf said the threat is "growing closer."
Earlier this week, Djiboutian services picked up two al-Shabaab
operatives in Djibouti who were apparently conducting surveillance
or other preparations for a possible attack. The nexus between Al
Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab in Somalia and Al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula in Yemen is clear, as al-Shabaab is now pledging to send
reinforcements to AQAP.
3.(C ) Youssouf said the President had stressed that Djibouti
faces special risks because it is "in the middle, between Yemen and
Somalia." While grateful for modest USG counter-terrorism
assistance (see para 4), this support could usefully be increased
he said. He also proposed that assistance to Djibouti also be
included in discussions he said would be held in London on January
28 to address requirements in Yemen.
4.(S/NF) Ambassador said USG was indeed aware of risks faced by
Djibouti in this dangerous neighborhood and assured the Foreign
Minister he would convey the request for additional USG CT
assistance. Ambassador noted current USG CT programs in Djibouti
include: operation of TIP/PISCES watchlists at Djibouti
International Airport; an S/CT-funded $500,000 project in the early
stages of implementation to rehabilitate a border post at Loyada
(on the Somaliland frontier) to permit installation of TIP/PISCES;
and a PKO-funded $1.9 million project in the early stages of
implementation to provide weapons, ammunition, and facilities
improvements to Djibouti's embryonic anti-terrorism unit. This
unit has also received some limited informal mentoring from USG
personnel in Djibouti. Djibouti and USG also cooperate in CT
intel-sharing, and a number of other assistance programs (e.g.,
Regional Maritime Awareness Capability, MEGAPORTS
counter-proliferation monitoring, and harbor security units) that
support CT objectives, though that is not their sole focus.
5.(C) Comment: While Djibouti has benefited from limited USG
counter-terrorism assistance, the Foreign Minister makes a valid
argument that the country still faces grave risks from extremist
elements operating in Somalia and Yemen. Djibouti's hostile
northern neighbor Eritrea -- whose role as a regional spoiler led
to sanctions imposed December 24 in UNSCR 1907 -- compounds the
danger. Additional USG assistance to enhance (1) Djibouti's
nascent anti-terrorism unit, (2) Djiboutian border security, and
(3) the overall professional capabilities of its military and
police forces would not only safeguard Djiboutians, but also
contribute to force protection for the more than 2,000 U.S.
military personnel at Camp Lemonnier and the nearly 100 U.S. Navy
ships that call at Djibouti Port annually. USG assistance in
response to this request would also recognize Djibouti's role as a
close CT partner for the USG in the region. End comment.