FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Djibouti Faces Dark Days to Come; Eritrean Ports, Pipeline Threaten Ethiopian Trade Lifeline

Djibouti has been landlocked Ethiopia’s only access to the sea and depends of port taxes paid by Ethiopia for most of its income and with the Eritrean ports of Massawa and Assab on the Red Sea about to open finds itself faced with losing most of the Ethiopian trade it has enjoyed a monopoly on for the past twenty years.

For a country of less than a million mostly poverty stricken people the over $1.5 billion a year coming in from unloading cargo for Ethiopia’s almost one hundred million people is almost three quarters of its income and facing competition from Eritrean ports more conveniently located and better yet, tax free, most of the Ethiopian trade will be lost. Why should Ethiopia pay for services from Djibouti when they get Free Ports in Eritrea and can use the money saved to help with their balance of trade deficit? The just announced UAE funded oil pipeline from Assab to Addis Ababa is another nail in Djibouti’s coffin.

To try and diversify its economy Djibouti has taken to offering its services to any and all armies, hosting military bases for the French, its former colonizer, the USA and now China and its 10,000 troops. Even Turkey, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are rumored to be planting their flags in Djibouti soon.

Being right next door to the strategically critical Ba’ab al Mandeb, the “Gate of Tears” straights between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and a chokepoint for the worlds largest trading partners, Europe and Asia, it is in the “national interests” for any government with imperial ambitions to have a base in Djibouti.

Still, $500 million a year in base rents cannot make up for what could be a 75% loss in Ethiopian trade and port tax revenue. What this will mean to China’s new $3.5 billion railroad running from Djibouti to Ethiopia is a good question, with specters of it becoming a white elephant with little freight to carry and Ethiopia expected to pay what turns out to be an odious loan?

This railroad deal was made with the former TPLF gangster regime ruling Ethiopia since 1991 and was made without consideration taken for peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia breaking out. Now that “Ethiopia’s Peaceful Revolution” has taken root, a railroad between the Eritrean port of Assab and Addis Ababa is what is needed, not the now redundant one built by China under its shortsighted foreign policy. How is debt overloaded and foreign currency strapped Ethiopia supposed to pay for another multi billion dollar loan for a project built by the funding country that is now going to be a money losing operation from the start? Sometimes you really have to question just how well informed the Chinese Foreign Ministry is, with “economics for dummies” desperately needed.

Eritrea has been on a foreign policy offensive, by all appearences successfully directing a “soft coup” in Ethiopia, followed by a reproachment with Somalia with Djibouti next on the list for either another soft coup following the dark days to come or maybe some sort of foreign intervention under the watchful eyes of a few major imperial powers.

As 42-year-old Ethiopian P.M. Abiy Ahmed said, don’t worry about all these problems we Ethiopians face, Eritrea’s “Issias [Aferworki] is leading us”. What he is saying is rest assured a plan is in the works and when it is enacted it will serve the best interests of the almost 200 million people of the Horn of Africa and not those of imperialists large or small. Having spent his whole adult life, over 50 years now, fighting for a real peace based on respect and cooperation between neighbors free of domination and exploitation, Issias today is leading a fundamental change in how the future will be decided here in what has been called Africa’s Horn of Hunger. Hope that we will finally break free from war, famine and chaos here in the Horn of Africa is finally becoming a reality.

More articles by:

Thomas C. Mountain attended Punahou School for six years some half a dozen years before “Barry O’Bombers” time there. He has been living and writing from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at g_ mail_ dot _com

September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savoir
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
Farhang Jahanpour
Fascism and Islamic Fundamentalism
Sandy Tolan
After Oslo: How Peace Became a Dirty Word in the Middle East
Nino Pagliccia
The United States’ Disregard for International Law is a Menace to Venezuela and Latin America
Peter Certo
Nobody in the White House is Part of The Resistance
Fizz Perkal
Prison Labor is Slave Labor and We Should Get Rid of It
RS Ahthion
Two Long-Standing American Traditions: Committing War Crimes & Ignoring International Law
Ralph Nader
Where is the Democrats’ Contract with America 2018?
George Wuerthner
The Threat to Montana’s Wilderness
Rev. William Alberts
The Normalizing of Immorality
Chuck Collins
The Wealth Hiding in Your Neighborhood
Russell Mokhiber
Facebook Dostoevsky Postman and the Demise of Deliberative Democracy
Arnold August
Cuba’s ‘Sonic Attacks’ vs Edinburgh University: The 40% Mystery
Luke Ruediger
Smoke, Haze and Hypocrisy at the BLM
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Worth $1 Trillion, So Why is It Robbing Taxpayers?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail