J. Peter Pham
J. Peter Pham
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review
 

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Reflecting on Mandela's Centenary

July 17, 2018  •  New Atlanticist

July 18 marks the centenary of the birth of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, who is rightly remembered as one of the great figures of the century that was virtually coterminous with his life. The dignity and magnanimity with which he guided his country's transition from a racialist dictatorship to a democratic state alone would have secured his place in history, but it is the example of his broad vision and pragmatic approach founded on realism that should perhaps constitute his most fitting legacy to those who will follow.

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The Reckoning South Sudan Needs

July 10, 2018  •  New Atlanticist

The seventh anniversary of South Sudan's independence is, at best, a bittersweet occasion. Seldom has a country come into being with such promise and good will. Alas, it did not take long for things to fall apart as the new country's leaders put personal ambition above all else. The result has been a brutal conflict that continues today, leaving, out of a population of approximately 13 million, 2.5 million refugees in neighboring countries, 1.9 million internally displaced, and 7 million requiring humanitarian assistance, including 5.3 million in need of food assistance. The much-ballyhooed recent "permanent ceasefire" between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and on-again-off-again Vice President Riek Machar lasted all of six hours before the attacks began again. Consequently, the Trump administration needs to take the comprehensive review of aid to South Sudan which it announced in May one step further, to its logical segue: a reconsideration of US recognition of the Kiir regime. A reckoning is overdue for both Kiir and Machar, the two most responsible for turning the dreams of millions of South Sudanese into an ongoing nightmare.

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The Reckoning South Sudan Needs

July 10, 2018  •  New Atlanticist

The seventh anniversary of South Sudan's independence is, at best, a bittersweet occasion. Seldom has a country come into being with such promise and good will. Alas, it did not take long for things to fall apart as the new country's leaders put personal ambition above all else. The result has been a brutal conflict that continues today, leaving, out of a population of approximately 13 million, 2.5 million refugees in neighboring countries, 1.9 million internally displaced, and 7 million requiring humanitarian assistance, including 5.3 million in need of food assistance. The much-ballyhooed recent "permanent ceasefire" between South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and on-again-off-again Vice President Riek Machar lasted all of six hours before the attacks began again. Consequently, the Trump administration needs to take the comprehensive review of aid to South Sudan which it announced in May one step further, to its logical segue: a reconsideration of US recognition of the Kiir regime. A reckoning is overdue for both Kiir and Machar, the two most responsible for turning the dreams of millions of South Sudanese into an ongoing nightmare.

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Somalia's Continuing Crisis Worsens with UAE Dispute

April 23, 2018  •  AfricaSource

The recent statement from the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) that American forces had carried out an airstrike destroying an al-Shabaab truck bomb near Jana Cadalle in southern Somalia on April 11 was the third time this month that the US military is reported to have hit the terrorist group in the East African country. While AFRICOM stressed that the action – and the eight other airstrikes that it has acknowledged since the beginning of this year alone – was taken "in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia," the truth is that this heightened operational tempo in response to the ongoing threat from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab as well as a smaller ISIS-affiliated group only underscores the ongoing weakness of the internationally-recognized Somali regime. The internecine power struggles among Mogadishu's political elites and, now, the fight the regime has picked with the United Arab Emirates only worsens the country's plight – and the terrorist threat that takes advantage of the continued crisis.

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Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Marks Milestone, Approaches Completion

April 3, 2018  •  AfricaSource

The April 2 anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in 2011 passed largely unremarked amid the cascade of momentous news coming recently from Ethiopia. Yet it would not be an exaggeration to say that, as the GERD approaches completion, its strategic geopolitical and socioeconomic impact on Ethiopia and, indeed, the entire Northeast Africa region may prove greater than of any of the developments that have lately filled the news.

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