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

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Zimbabwe's Mugabe is Gone, But What About His Enablers?

November 29, 2017  •  The American Conservative

An intervention by the same armed forces that had long helped keep him in power and the subsequent opportunistic repudiation by the very Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) liberation movement-cum-political party he co-founded, together with hundreds of thousands of peaceful (even celebratory) protesters demanding his ouster led to last week's spectacular, not-a-moment-too-soon end of Robert Mugabe's thirty-seven-year grip on Zimbabwe. While the deposed despot bears the primary responsibility for running Zimbabwe's once-thriving economy into the ground and turning the country into a pariah state, I argue that it is only fair to also acknowledge that he was empowered to do so over the years by a succession of leftist sympathizers, dupes, and other fellow travelers abroad.

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U.S. Strikes on ISIS in Somalia Underscore Threat, Vulnerabilities

November 6, 2017  •  New Atlanticist

On November 3, the United States carried out two separate airstrikes against ISIS in Somalia. The operations marked the first time that US forces have targeted ISIS militants in the conflict-ridden Horn of Africa country, where al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab has been the primary focus of American and partner efforts in recent years. The strikes also underscore the shift in ISIS's center of gravity following the group's losses not only in Iraq and Syria this year, but also the routing of its affiliate in Libya last December, which have sent surviving fighters and arms flowing into more remote areas. While most of the attention is on North and West Africa, where many of ISIS recruits originally came from, the eastern side of the continent presents its own vulnerabilities.

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Niger is on the Front Lines of the War against Terrorism

October 30, 2017  •  The Hill

While it may be some time before the thorough inquiry into the October 4 ambush of a U.S. Special Forces unit and local allies can be completed, what is clearer is why American personnel are deployed in Niger and why the West African country and women serve matters to the United States. Moreover, while security assistance is important, diplomatic, economic, and development support are perhaps even more critical to long-term success.

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Morocco Wrong-foots Its African Critics

February 1, 2017  •  Daily Maverick

If Morocco eventually gets its way, "defeat into victory" – a phrase popularised by the commander of Britain's "forgotten army" in World War II, Field Marshal The Viscount Slim – might prove an apt description of its new approach towards the African Union (AU). By joining the AU without the so-called Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic exiting the organization, Morocco appears to have accepted a setback in one political battle. But victory in the kingdom's long war is now within reach.

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Germany's "Marshall Plan" for Africa

January 23, 2017  •  New Atlanticist

Explicitly invoking the American aid initiative that rebuilt Western Europe's devastated infrastructure and weakened economies after World War II as a bulwark against Communist expansionism, the German government has unveiled an ambitious framework for a "Marshall Plan with Africa" (Eckpunkte für einen Marshallplan mit Afrika) with the twin objectives of increasing trade and development on the continent and, it hoped, of consequently reducing mass migration flows northward across the Mediterranean. Africa is the focus of the current German G20 presidency and the Marshall Plan for the continent will likely figure prominently in the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. The European Union is likewise working on a new Africa strategy ahead of the EU-Africa Summit, scheduled for November. Whether the Germans and other European countries will ultimately find the money and deploy the political will necessary to actually implement their big plans for Africa remains to be seen. Nevertheless the United States has a lot of catch up to do in bringing the public and private sectors together to forge a robust US approach to the new Africa, whose rising geopolitical importance and burgeoning economic dynamism ought to make it a strategic priority in the new administration, even without the threat of migrant waves that weigh so heavily on European calculations.

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