January 3, 2008

HARRISONBURG—In his weekly “Strategic Interests” column for the World Defense Review, resumed today after a break for the holidays, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, assesses the current status of the “African front” of the war on terrorism and likely developments in the coming months.

After surveying developments in the former Somalia, Sudan, the Maghreb and Sahel, Nigeria and West Africa, and the rest of the continent, Dr. Pham concludes:

Two years ago, in the very first column in this series, I observed: “A war on terror must be fought globally, whenever and wherever extremists try to find shelter. While some priorities must inevitably be set in the allocation of scarce resources, entire regions must not be ignored simply because they do not figure prominently in certain conventional worldviews. Otherwise, in this conflict, a forgotten front can quickly inflame into an Achilles’ heel.” Through the creation of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and other initiatives, which this column has consistently advocated, Africa is no longer the “forgotten front” in the struggle against terrorism that it had been just a few years ago. However, there is still much to be done in what is, indeed, a “long war.”

To read the full text of Dr. Pham’s article, “The War on Terrorism in Africa: Assessment and Prospects,” click here.