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

Latest Articles

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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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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