The US is dramatically increasing the tempo of its military operations in MENA (the Middle East and North Africa), especially in the Horn of Africa. Djibouti has an important role to play in the military planning. The small republic guards the entrance to the Red Sea and Suez Canal to make it a perfect springboard for launching military interventions in Africa and the Middle East.
Housing 4,000 military and civilian personnel, Camp Lemonnier, the US military base in the country, is the hub of a network of American drone bases in Africa. It is used for aerial strikes at insurgents in Yemen, Nigeria and Somalia, as well as exercising control over the Bab-el-Mandeb strait – a strategic maritime waterway linking the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean through the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea.