Warplanes: Surrounding Somalia

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September 28, 2011: The U.S. is setting up two more bases for its Predator and Reaper UAVS, in order to keep an eye on Islamic terror groups in Somalia, Yemen, Eritrea and East Africa in general. The new bases will be in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia (apparently near the Red Sea coast.)

Since 2002, the U.S. has had use of an airbase in Djibouti, a former French colony (independent since 1977) on the Horn of Africa (the bit in the northeast that sticks out like a horn). Djibouti has a population of less than a million, is technically part of "Greater Somalia" but is content to remain separate from the mess that is current day Somalia. Djibouti is near the mouth of the Red Sea, and has a well-run port and airport. American UAVs have been operating out of Djibouti for about five years. A more recent American UAV base is in the Seychelles islands. Maritime patrol aircraft were sent there three years ago to search for Somali pirates operating far at sea. That was when Somali pirates began operating as far east as the Seychelles, which are a group of 115 islands 1,500 kilometers from the East African coast. The islands have a total population of 85,000 and no military power to speak of. They are defenseless against pirates. So the American patrol aircraft were welcome.

Ethiopia also appreciates American military assistance, especially aid against Islamic terrorists. Most Ethiopians are Christians, and have been for nearly two thousand years. Their Moslem neighbors, and their own Moslem minorities, have often been troublesome. Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia are also appreciative of the American UAVs, especially their ability to kill Islamic terrorists in neighboring countries.

The UAV bases only contain the maintenance personnel for the aircraft. The operators are based in the United States, where they control the UAVs via satellite link.

 


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