November 17, 2006

HARRISONBURG—Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, was interviewed today on a Voice of America (VOA) news segment on the findings of the Monitoring Group tasked by the Sanctions Committee of the United Nations Security Council with reviewing compliance with international sanctions on Somalia. Among other conclusions, the UN report accused a number of Middle Eastern and African countries with supplying weapons, training, and personnel to the Islamists who have seized control of much of the territory of the former Somali Democratic Republic.

Dr. Pham told Nairobi-based VOA correspondent Alisha Ryu that he believed it was plausible the largely Muslim countries named in the report had indeed established collaborative relations with the hard-line leadership of the Somali Islamic Courts Union despite sectarian differences. “Often, what unites these groups is the enemy rather than anything they may have in common,” he said. “And I have argued for several years now that the Islamic Courts movement and its lead personalities have long-standing and quite strong ties to Middle Eastern regimes and terrorist organizations. The trends are there today that this is going to be a very dangerous place unless somebody steps in to deal with it while it is still manageable.”

To read a transcript of or to listen to an audio stream from the segment, click here.