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

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Congo on the Edge

September 27, 2016  •  The Hill

The government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo missed an important deadline this past week, an intentional failure that is already sending Africa's fourth most populous country (and its second largest by area) hurtling towards the edge of a frightful abyss. Unless the international community acts quickly to compel the regime of President Joseph Kabila to give up on its efforts to cling onto power beyond the expiration of its legal mandate less than three months away, the dozens killed in clashes in recent days may well be just the first casualties of what could be a cataclysmic convulsion in the heart of the African continent.

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Beware of Boko Haram's Resilience

September 1, 2016  •  The Cipher Brief

While claims last week by a Nigerian army spokesman that Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau was "fatally wounded" in an August 19 airstrike should be taken with a dose of skepticism—after all, the military has announced the elusive militant's death on at least four prior occasions, only to have him reappear taunting them—there is no doubt that the Islamist insurgents have had a bad run of late. However, while the once-puissant group, affiliated since early 2015 with the so-called Islamic State, has lost almost all of the territory it once controlled in the northeastern part of the West African country and has been riven with factional disputes, it would be a mistake to forget its record of resilience or discount its continued threat potential.

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The Unlikely Contender to Dethrone Gabon's 50-year-Old Dynasty

August 29, 2016  •  Washington Post

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President Obama's Legacy in Africa Is A State of Mind

August 28, 2016  •  Newsweek

As President Barack Obama winds down his time in office, pundits around the globe, not just in Washington, will begin assessing the impact of his administration. Secretary of State John Kerry's stops in Kenya and Nigeria this week focused attention on the administration's record in Africa. In stark contrast to 2008, when Obama's unique personal history made his campaign for—and ultimate election to—the White House the cause for intense pride and excitement across the continent, many Africans today may well be tempted to shrug off the upcoming transition as they carry on with their lives. But if the Obama legacy does not include signature initiatives comparable to the enactment of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) under President Bill Clinton or the creation of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) by President George W. Bush, it would be a mistake to discount the change that has occurred during Obama's watch.

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King Affirms Africa as "Top Priority" in Moroccan Foreign Policy

August 22, 2016  •  AfricaSource

In a nationally-televised speech on August 20, Morocco's King Mohammed VI characterized Africa as the "top priority" of his country's foreign policy, emphasizing that "this multi-dimensional relationship puts Morocco in the center of Africa" and "Africa holds a special place in the heart of Moroccans." Coming just a month after the historic decision by the kingdom to seek to assume its place in the African Union after having quit the old Organization of African Unity over the latter's controversial admission of Western Sahara separatists three decades ago, the monarch's remarks reaffirmed a strategic orientation with significant implications not only for Morocco and other countries of the African continent, but also their global partners, including the United States.

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