NELSON INSTITUTE DIRECTOR’S WALL STREET JOURNAL OP-ED WARNS OF ISLAMIST THREAT IN SOMALIA

June 19, 2006

HARRISONBURG—In an article published on the editorial page of today’s Wall Street Journal, Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, warned of the threat posed the Horn of Africa region by the armed militants of the Union of Islamic Courts which seized control of Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, earlier this month and are presently advancing throughout the country.

Disputing the moderate face that the Somali Islamists have tried to present as well as taking issue with those downplaying the significance of recent fighting, Dr. Pham noted the parallels with the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the late 1990s and concluded: “Unfortunately for Somalia, its neighbors, and, ultimately, the United States, it seems like we’re well on our way to proving once again the truth of Santayana’s warning that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Dr. Pham has been on of the most consistent advocates in the United States for stronger action against the Islamists in the East African country and last year briefed the Subcommittee on International Terrorism and Nonproliferation of the U.S. House of Representatives on the resurgence of Islamist groups there and their links to al-Qaeda and international terrorism. He also recently published several articles in the World Defense Review on the security issues in the Horn of Africa—including one calling specifically for the allocation of more attention and resources to combating terrorist activities in Somalia and another calling for recognition of the Republic of Somaliland—which have been cited in various media, including William Arkin’s national security column in the Washington Post.

Dr. Pham’s Wall Street Journal op-ed can be read by clicking here.