Essay about Djibouti: Key to US Success in the Horn of Africa

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The Horn of Africa has become a hotbed for extremist activities, terrorist groups and piracy due to its diverse cultures, large Muslim populations, and poor economies. All of these components threaten the peace and stability of the area and affect many countries abroad. The United States plays a major role in assisting countries in the Horn of Africa to ensure stability and security. The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) was created to accomplish this mission in the region. Djibouti stands out as a country in this region that plays a large role in assisting the United States to protect its interests in the area. Djibouti’s current culture is shaped by its strategic location on the Gulf of Aden, its mixed ethnic…show more content…
Djibouti’s location has played a major role in defining its two major ethnic groups. Prior to the 16th century, the two major ethnicities were the Issa and the Afar people. Through the centuries, peoples from the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia, and Ethiopia all migrated to Djibouti and integrated into either the Issa or Afar tribes. The migrant Somalis integrated with the Issa tribes to become the modern day Issa-Somalis; while the Afar tribes were first descendents of Arabs that eventually allied with the Ethiopians. Centuries before colonization, both the Afar and Issa-Somalis became Sunni Muslims. In the late 1800’s, France began colonizing the country and established French Somaliland which united the Issa-Somalis and Afar. After nearly a century of French rule, Djibouti gained its independence in 1977. Djibouti’s modern culture has been formed by the social and cultural similarities between originally nomadic-pastoral populations that speak related languages, adhere to Islam, and share a way of life (“Culture of Djibouti,” 2011). Their current culture is strongly tied to the countries surrounding it and has proven that different ethnic groups can come together to become a peaceful and stable state. Djibouti has few natural resources and little industry; therefore, it is heavily dependent on foreign assistance to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. (“The World Factbook,” 2011). The

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