In a recent turn of events, Djibouti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, has sparked controversy by openly supporting Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

This declaration comes amidst his candidacy for the African Union’s chairmanship, a position currently held by Moussa Faki. Youssouf’s bold statement, asserting that Houthi attacks on commercial shipping vessels are a legitimate act aimed at supporting Palestine, has raised eyebrows and drawn criticism from various quarters.

The Houthis, designated as terrorists by the US and several Western nations, have been at the center of regional conflicts and have been implicated in numerous violent incidents. Despite this, Minister Youssouf has adamantly refused to condemn the group or align Djibouti with US-led anti-Houthi naval patrols in the region. This stance has not only raised concerns about Djibouti’s foreign policy direction but also cast a shadow over its aspirations for a leadership role within the African Union.


Critics have pointed out that Djibouti, historically known for its strategic location and hosting of foreign military bases, has often pursued policies that prioritize its own interests over regional stability and cooperation. The country’s perceived attempts to contain Ethiopia and Somaliland, under the guise of economic interests, have been met with skepticism and criticism from neighboring nations.

The contradiction between Djibouti’s purported Western-leaning stance and its support for Houthi attacks has left many observers puzzled. How can a country claim alignment with Western values while endorsing actions that are deemed as terrorism by key Western powers? The decision of Minister Youssouf to deliver his controversial remarks in Somali, rather than French or English, has further fueled speculation about the underlying motives and allegiances at play.

Djibouti's Foreign Policy Dilemma, A Controversial Stance On Houthi Attacks And The African Union Chairmanship
Mahmoud Ali Youssouf, Djibouti’s Foreign Minister

As Djibouti vies for the African Union chairmanship, the implications of its foreign policy choices cannot be understated. The country’s bid for leadership in a continental organization that champions peace, security, and cooperation raises questions about the compatibility of its actions with the values espoused by the African Union. The disconnect between Djibouti’s support for Houthi attacks and its aspirations for regional leadership presents a complex dilemma that requires careful consideration and scrutiny.

In a world where geopolitical dynamics are constantly evolving, Djibouti’s stance on Houthi attacks serves as a reminder of the intricate web of alliances, interests, and ideologies that shape international relations. As the African Union prepares to elect its next chairperson, the spotlight on Djibouti’s foreign policy choices underscores the need for transparency, accountability, and a commitment to upholding the principles of peace and stability in the region.

The unfolding saga involving Djibouti, Minister Youssouf, and the controversial stance on Houthi attacks underscores the complexities and challenges inherent in navigating global politics. As the world watches with bated breath, the outcome of this diplomatic saga will undoubtedly have far-reaching implications for Djibouti, the African Union, and the broader international community.

In conclusion, the juxtaposition of Djibouti’s support for the Houthi attacks and its aspirations for African Union leadership presents a compelling narrative that underscores the intricate interplay between national interests, regional dynamics, and global diplomacy. As the world awaits the outcome of this unfolding saga, one thing remains clear: the stakes are high, and the implications are profound.

Watch it below, Djibouti’s FM speech