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

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After Mali's Runoff, Challenges Remain

August 13, 2018  •  AfricaSource

Millions of Malians went to the polls Sunday to vote in the presidential runoff between the incumbent head of state, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, commonly known by his initials "IBK," and Soumaïla Cissé, a former finance minister. It may be day or two before results are announced, but IBK, who received 41.42 percent of the votes cast in the first round, is expected to trounce his challenger, who garnered only 17.8 percent. the likely result of Sunday's poll, there are still two outstanding questions to be answered: What will the winner do with his new mandate? Will the international community be forthcoming with the resources needed to sustainably secure the progress achieved over past few years in Mali?

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20 Years After the Embassy Bombings: The Long War in Africa

August 6, 2018  •  New Atlanticist

It has been twenty years since that morning of August 7, 1998, when suicide bombers detonated, almost simultaneously, trucks laden with explosives outside the United States embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The attacks, the first claimed by al-Qaeda against U.S. targets, left 224 people dead, including a dozen Americans, and around 5,000 wounded. They also marked the opening in Africa what would become a major front in what only came to be recognized in the years after 9/11 as the "long war" against jihadist militancy.

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Why Mali's Election Matters

July 30, 2018  •  AfricaSource

While today's general election in Zimbabwe – the first in almost four decades where longtime ruler Robert Mugabe won't be on the ballot – has been attracting a great deal more attention, yesterday's presidential election in Mali matters just as much and, arguably, is even more important to the immediate security and geopolitical interests of the United States and its European allies.

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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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