Articles

Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham authored an essay for the latest edition of the French-language magazine Pouvoirs d'Afrique.

In the piece entitled "What Legacy will Barack Obama Leave in Africa?", Pham writes, "With both U.S. political parties, Democratic and Republican, under pressure to demonstrate to the electorate ahead ofthe 2016 presidential election that they are capable of governing, rather than merely obstructing their opponents, there is demand for policy areas where genuine bipartisan consensus can be found and Africa has traditionally stood out as one of those exceptions where there has been broad continuity between administrations."

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Bottom Line Up Front:

• The Islamic State accepted Boko Haram’s allegiance, or bay’at, pledged to the Iraq and Syria-based extremist group over the weekend

• Given the recent military setbacks for Boko Haram and the Islamic State, and their increasing convergence, this development is unsurprising and a propaganda victory for both groups

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Among those attending the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Washington last week was Roger Cukierman, president of an umbrella group of Jewish organizations in France.

Anti-Semitic violence there has gotten global attention since the January attacks on a Jewish deli and the headquarters of a satirical magazine in Paris, but the trend began more than a decade ago, Cukierman says.

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It is seductive to conclude that "hybrid war" is a creature of the 21st century in which technology now offers an alternative and indeed reinforcement to the blunter use of military force. Based on successful Russian encroachment into Ukraine and occupation of Crimea with hybrid war tactics, it is fair to ask if that could happen to the Baltic States. Consider Estonia as a candidate target for Moscow.

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AFTER RUSSIAN democratic leader Boris Nemtsov was gunned down in Moscow last weekend, I posed this question at a Harvard Kennedy School conference: Is it possible that, in Vladimir Putin's highly controlled dictatorship, no one in the Russian government had anything to do with Nemtsov's murder?

We may never know the answer. Possible culprits range from Russia's security apparatus to one of the extreme nationalist movements emboldened by Putin's climate of fear and paranoia. In a cynical regime like Putin's, the last thing we should expect is for the truth to emerge. Indeed, Kremlin apologists pointed to all the usual suspects in the killing's aftermath — Chechen terrorists, the Ukrainian government, Russia's democratic opposition itself, and even the United States. The Kremlin knows what to do at a moment like this — bury the truth deep beneath the Russian tundra, where no one will ever find it.

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The group that calls itself the Islamic State (IS) can't abide competition even from the mute remains of its region's fabled past.

An equal opportunity destroyer, IS has gone beyond lopping off the heads of live perceived enemies to demolishing priceless artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia that had survived previous waves of conquest.

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For those of us old enough to recall the Vietnam War, fact and reality were obscured and mangled by successive White Houses anxious to reach the delusional "light at the end of the tunnel." Tragically, at the end of the tunnel lay a quagmire that consumed 58,000 American and countless Vietnamese lives. In the highly complex and complicated fight against the Islamic State (IS), are fact and reality similarly being distorted or ignored by the White House either because of lack of understanding of the conflict or other human error and misjudgment?

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HE INVADED Crimea a year ago and then formally annexed it in a brazen, illegal act of aggression not seen in Europe since the Second World War. He sent thousands of Russian soldiers across the border to tilt the balance of Ukraine's civil war in favor of pro-Moscow separatists and then refused to own up to it in a Big Lie reminiscent of Stalin's days.

He gave rebels the sophisticated weapons that shot the Malaysian airliner out of the sky in July and have pulverized Ukrainian villages and towns.

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Friction between the United States and Israel is not uncommon.

On issues ranging from the 1956 Suez war to the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, the leaders of the U.S. and Israel have often clashed in ways that reflected different perceptions of their national interests.

Still, there is something particularly disturbing and counterproductive about the current disagreement over Iran.

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This morning, a legend and giant in journalism died. There will be no more like him. Arnaud de Borchgrave would have been eighty-nine this Fall. And his career was the stuff of Hollywood movies not the least of which was marrying his stunning and glamorous wife Alexandra with more than enough of the "right stuff" to keep pace with her formidable and much admired husband and his extraordinary wit and sense of humor.

Born to Belgium aristocrats in Brussels in 1926, his parents were Countess Audrey Dorothy Louise Townshend, daughter of Major General Sir Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend, KGB, DSO, and Belgian Count Baudouin de Borchgrave d'Altena, head ofBelgium's military intelligence for the government-in-exile during World War II. De Borchgrave would renounce his title in 1951 for American citizenship.

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