East Africa

  • Pham Joins VOA to Discuss Melania Trump's Trip to Africa and Another South Sudan Peace Deal


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  • Pham Quoted in Foreign Policy on South Sudan


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  • South Sudan’s First Vice President Optimistic About Peace, But No One is Buying It

    Atlantic Council’s Damon Wilson urges release of former Millennium Fellow

    On a visit to the Atlantic Council in September 2016, South Sudan’s First Vice President Taban Deng Gai had a clear message for his interlocutors in Washington: “What we tell them is, ‘Look, there is peace. Let us not allow that to collapse.’”

    Deng spoke even as the death toll in South Sudan’s civil war steadily mounted. The war, which broke out in December 2013, was triggered by the bitter rivalry between South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and his on-again-off-again First Vice President Riek Machar. A new study backed by the US State Department concluded that at least 382 900 people have died since 2013; millions have been displaced.

    It’s little wonder then that Deng raised plenty of eyebrows when he expressed optimism about the prospects of peace in his country at his latest appearance at the Atlantic Council on October 2.

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  • Fifth Anniversary of Westgate Mall Attack: Fighting Al-Shabaab in Africa

    September 21, 2013, started out like any other day at the Westgate mall. Shoppers in search of deals strolled unaware that their lives would soon be changed forever. At midday, heavily armed militants lobbing grenades and firing indiscriminately turned the upscale shopping center in Kenya’s capital city, Nairobi, into a war zone. Security forces, caught off guard and woefully unprepared, struggled to rescue hundreds of shoppers and hunt down the assailants. By the end of a four-day siege—the worst attack on Kenyan soil since the 1998 US Embassy bombing by al Qaeda—sixty-seven people were dead and more than two hundred wounded. Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terrorist group that has pledged allegiance to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack.

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  • In South Sudan, It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

    The so-called peace deal between South Sudan’s warring parties is in fact a “desperate play” by the country’s two main political actors to fend off international sanctions and extend their hold on power, according to J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center.

    South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, and his main political rival, Riek Machar, signed an agreement in Addis Ababa on September 12 that attempts to end the country’s five-year civil war. Tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced in the conflict that erupted as a result of the Kiir-Machar rivalry.

    “Most of the key issues that have been at the heart of the conflict have been ambiguously addressed—if they have been addressed at all,” said Pham.

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  • Pham Quoted in Daily Nation on Uhuru White House Visit


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  • Hruby in Axios: Trump–Kenyatta Meeting an Opportunity for Kenya to Court Investment


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

    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 US targets, left 224 people dead, including a dozen Americans, and around 5,000 wounded. While the bombings took place eight years to the day after US troops arrived in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait—Osama bin Laden took offense at the presence of American forces in the land of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina—they also opened 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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  • 20 Years After the Embassy Bombings: The Long War in Africa

    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 US targets, left 224 people dead, including a dozen Americans, and around 5,000 wounded. While the bombings took place eight years to the day after US troops arrived in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait—Osama bin Laden took offense at the presence of American forces in the land of the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina—they also opened 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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  • South Sudan Must End the Arbitrary Detention of Peter Biar Ajak

    We urge the government of South Sudan to end the arbitrary detention of Peter Biar Ajak, an alumnus of the Atlantic Council Millennium Fellowship, who was arrested in Juba July 28, 2018.

    The Millennium Fellowship is the Atlantic Council’s premier program for young leaders. Peter joined the extended Atlantic Council family upon his selection as a Millennium Fellow. He is the Founder and former Director of the Center for Strategic Analyses and Research, a policy think tank based in Juba, South Sudan. Peter is one of over 4,000 Sudanese “Lost Boys,” who came to the United States in 2001.  

    We urge that Peter’s rights be respected, his safety assured while in custody, and that he be released immediately. 

    Peter is one of many people to be arbitrarily detained in recent years in South Sudan. Too often, these cases go unnoticed and no one is held accountable.

    We call on our community to raise awareness using the hashtag #FreePeterBiar so this injustice does not continue to go unnoticed. 

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