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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians

Susan G. Chesser
Information Research Specialist


This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001, and is ongoing. OEF actions take place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also includes American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen. 

Casualty data of U.S. military forces are compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as tallied from the agency's press releases. Also included are statistics on those wounded but not killed. Statistics may be revised as circumstances are investigated and as records are processed through the U.S. military's casualty system. More frequent updates are available at DOD's website at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/ under "Casualty Update." 

A detailed casualty summary of U.S. military forces that includes data on deaths by cause, as well as statistics on soldiers wounded in action, is available at the following DOD website: http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/castop.htm. 

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) does not post casualty statistics of the military forces of partner countries on the ISAF website at http://www.isaf.nato.int/. ISAF press releases state that it is ISAF policy to defer to the relevant national authorities to provide notice of any fatality. For this reason, this report uses fatality data of coalition forces as compiled by CNN.com and posted online at http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2004/oef.casualties/index.html. 

Casualty data of Afghan civilians are reported quarterly by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). Deaths of Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army personnel are reported by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in the quarterly reports to Congress that are required as part of P.L. 110-181. 

Because the estimates of Afghan casualties contained in this report are based on varying time periods and have been created using different methodologies, readers should exercise caution when using them and should look to them as guideposts rather than as statements of fact. 

This report will be updated as needed
.


Date of Report: August 11, 2010
Number of Pages: 6
Order Number: R41084
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Afghanistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance

Curt Tarnoff
Specialist in Foreign Affairs


The U.S. program of assistance to Afghanistan is intended to stabilize and strengthen the Afghan economic, social, political, and security environment so as to blunt popular support for extremist forces in the region. Since 2001, nearly $52 billion has been appropriated toward this effort. 

More than half of U.S. assistance—roughly 56%—has gone to the training and equipping of Afghan forces. The remainder has gone to development and humanitarian-related activities from infrastructure to private sector support, governance and democratization efforts, and counternarcotics programs. 

Key U.S. agencies providing aid are the Department of Defense, the Agency for International Development, and the Department of State. 

In December 2009, Congress approved the FY2010 State, Foreign Operations appropriations (H.R. 3288, Division F, P.L. 111-117), providing $2 billion in the Economic Support Fund (ESF) and $420 million in the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE) accounts. It also approved the FY2010 DOD appropriations (H.R. 3326, P.L. 111-118), providing $6.6 billion to the Afghan Security Forces Fund (ASFF) and allocating $1 billion for the Commander's Emergency Response Program (CERP) activities in Afghanistan. 

On July 29, 2010, the President signed into law P.L. 111-212 (H.R. 4899), the FY2010 supplemental appropriations, providing a total of $4.1 billion for Afghanistan foreign economic and military assistance. 

On February 1, 2010, the Administration issued its FY2011 regular budget request for foreign operations and DOD foreign assistance programs totaling $16.6 billion. 

This report provides a "big picture" overview of the U.S. aid program and congressional action. It describes what various aid agencies report they are doing in Afghanistan. It does not address the effectiveness of their programs. It will be updated as events warrant. 

For discussion of the Afghan political, security, and economic situation, see CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman. For greater detail on security assistance provided by the Department of Defense, see CRS Report R40156, War in Afghanistan: Strategy, Military Operations, and Issues for Congress, by Steve Bowman and Catherine Dale. For fuller information on U.S. counter-narcotics efforts in Afghanistan, see CRS Report RL32686, Afghanistan: Narcotics and U.S. Policy, by Christopher M. Blanchard. For information on the United Nations effort, see CRS Report R40747, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan: Background and Policy Issues, by Rhoda Margesson.



Date of Report: August 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 23
Order Number: R40699
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

The Sultanate of Oman is a long-time U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf. It has allowed U.S. access to its military facilities for virtually every U.S. military operation in and around the Gulf since 1980, despite the sensitivities in Oman and throughout the Middle East about a U.S. military presence there. Oman also has fully and consistently supported U.S. efforts to achieve a Middle East peace by publicly endorsing the peace treaties that have been achieved between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors, and by occasionally hosting Israeli political leaders or meeting with them outside Oman. It was partly in appreciation for this alliance that the United States entered into a free trade agreement (FTA) with Oman. The FTA was considered pivotal to helping Oman diversify its economy to compensate for its relatively small reserves of crude oil. 

Perhaps because of the extensive benefits the alliance with Oman provides to U.S. Persian Gulf policy, successive U.S. Administrations have tended not to criticize Oman's relatively close relations with Iran. Oman has a tradition of cooperation with Iran dating back to the Shah of Iran's regime and Oman has always been less alarmed by the perceived threat from Iran than have the other Gulf states. Oman's leaders view possible U.S. military action against Iran's nuclear facilities as potentially more destabilizing to the region than is Iran's nuclear program or Iran's foreign policy that supports Shiite and some other hardline Islamist movements. Still, there is a longstanding assumption among U.S. policymakers that, in the event of U.S.-Iran confrontation, Oman would at least tacitly back the United States. 

Another major U.S. priority in the Gulf region has been the promotion of human rights and democracy and the empowerment of civil society. The United States has praised Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id Al Said for opening up the political process in Oman, beginning this initiative in the early 1980s, long before the issue was highlighted by the United States. The political liberalization has given citizens the opportunity to express their views on issues but has not significantly limited Qaboos' role as major decision maker. Some Omani human rights activists and civil society leaders, along with many younger Omanis, who have always been unsatisfied with the implicit and explicit limits to political rights in Oman, and believe the democratization process has stagnated over the past five years
.


Date of Report: August 10, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RS21534
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Iran-Iraq Relations

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs


With a conventional military and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threat from Saddam Hussein's regime removed, Iran seeks, at a minimum, to ensure that Iraq can never again become a threat to Iran, whether or not there are U.S. forces present in Iraq. Some believe that Iran's intentions go far further—to try to harness Iraq to Iran's broader policy goals, such as defense against international criticism of and sanctions against Iran's nuclear program, and to enlist Iraq's help in suppressing Iranian dissidents located inside Iraq. Some believe Iran sees Iraq primarily as as providing lucrative investment opportunities and a growing market for Iranian products and contracts. 

Iran has sought to achieve its goals in Iraq through several strategies: supporting pro-Iranian factions and armed militias; attempting to influence Iraqi political leaders and faction leaders; and building economic ties throughout Iraq. It is Iran's support for armed Shiite factions that most concerns U.S. officials. That Iranian activity continues to a threat to stability in Iraq, according to senior U.S. commanders, and positions Iran to pursue its interests in Iraq after U.S. forces leave Iraq by the end of 2011. 

Many of Iraq's current leaders were in exile in Iran or materially supported by Iran during Saddam's rule, and see Iran as a mentor and an influential actor in Iraq. Even those who have longstanding ties to Iran have asserted themselves as nationalist defenders of Iraqi interests, but Iraq appears to be a clearly subordinate partner in the relationship. Perhaps resenting this relationship, many Iraqi citizens have appeared to reject parties and factions who accept preponderant Iranian influence in Iraq. This sentiment has caused Iran to suffer key setbacks in Iraq. The most pro-Iranian factions generally fared poorly in the January 31, 2009, provincial elections and again in the March 7, 2010, national elections for the National Assembly, which chooses the government. A political bloc that is decidedly against Iranian influence and which is supported by Iraq's Sunni Arabs won the most seats in the election, although no bloc has been able, to date, to build enough support among other blocs to assemble a government. Still, virtually all political blocs are consulting with Iran to try to gain its support for their inclusion in or dominance of any new government. 

Also see CRS Report RL32048, Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, by Kenneth Katzman.



Date of Report: August 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RS22323
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Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

The Sultanate of Oman is a long-time U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf. It has allowed U.S. access to its military facilities for virtually every U.S. military operation in and around the Gulf since 1980, despite the sensitivities in Oman and throughout the Middle East about a U.S. military presence there. Oman also has fully and consistently supported U.S. efforts to achieve a Middle East peace by publicly endorsing the peace treaties that have been achieved between Israel and some of its Arab neighbors, and by occasionally hosting Israeli political leaders or meeting with them outside Oman. It was partly in appreciation for this alliance that the United States entered into a free trade agreement (FTA) with Oman. The FTA was considered pivotal to helping Oman diversify its economy to compensate for its relatively small reserves of crude oil. 

Perhaps because of the extensive benefits the alliance with Oman provides to U.S. Persian Gulf policy, successive U.S. Administrations have tended not to criticize Oman's relatively close relations with Iran. Oman has a tradition of cooperation with Iran dating back to the Shah of Iran's regime and Oman has always been less alarmed by the perceived threat from Iran than have the other Gulf states. Oman's leaders view possible U.S. military action against Iran's nuclear facilities as potentially more destabilizing to the region than is Iran's nuclear program or Iran's foreign policy that supports Shiite and some other hardline Islamist movements. Still, there is a longstanding assumption among U.S. policymakers that, in the event of U.S.-Iran confrontation, Oman would at least tacitly back the United States. 

Another major U.S. priority in the Gulf region has been the promotion of human rights and democracy and the empowerment of civil society. The United States has praised Sultan Qaboos bin Sa'id Al Said for opening up the political process in Oman, beginning this initiative in the early 1980s, long before the issue was highlighted by the United States. The political liberalization has given citizens the opportunity to express their views on issues but has not significantly limited Qaboos' role as major decision maker. Some Omani human rights activists and civil society leaders, along with many younger Omanis, who have always been unsatisfied with the implicit and explicit limits to political rights in Oman, and believe the democratization process has stagnated over the past five years
.


Date of Report: August 10, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RS21534
Price: $29.95

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U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians

Jim Zanotti
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs


Since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993 and the establishment of limited Palestinian selfrule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1994, the U.S. government has committed over $3.5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. Since the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004, U.S. assistance to the Palestinians has been averaging about $400 million a year. During the 1990s, U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinians averaged approximately $75 million per year. Despite more robust levels of assistance this decade, Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Hamas's heightened role in Palestinian politics have made it more difficult to implement effective and lasting aid projects that serve U.S. interests. 

U.S. aid to the Palestinians has fluctuated considerably over the past five years, largely due to Hamas's changing role within the Palestinian Authority (PA). After Hamas led the PA government for over a year, its forcible takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007 led to the creation of a non- Hamas government in the West Bank—resulting in different models of governance for the two Palestinian territories. Since then, the United States has dramatically boosted aid levels to bolster the PA in the West Bank and President Mahmoud Abbas vis-à-vis Hamas. The United States has appropriated or reprogrammed nearly $2 billion since 2007 in support of PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad's security, governance, development, and reform programs, including $650 million for direct budgetary assistance to the PA and nearly $400 million (toward training, non-lethal equipment, facilities, strategic planning, and administration) for strengthening and reforming PA security forces and criminal justice systems in the West Bank. The remainder is for programs administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development and implemented by nongovernmental organizations in humanitarian assistance, economic development, democratic reform, improving water access and other infrastructure, health care, education, and vocational training. In December 2009, Congress approved $500 million in total FY2010 assistance pursuant to P.L. 111-117, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2010. 

In addition to its bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, the United States is the largest singlestate donor to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which provides food, shelter, medical care, and education for many of the original refugees from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war and their descendants—now comprising approximately 4.8 million Palestinians in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, the West Bank, and Gaza. Since UNRWA's inception in 1950, the United States has provided the agency with nearly $4 billion in contributions. U.S. contributions to UNRWA have steadily increased over the past decade, with nearly $228 million thus far for FY2010. Whether UNRWA's role is beneficial overall, however, is a polarizing question, particularly with respect to UNRWA's presence in Hamas-controlled Gaza. 

Because of congressional concerns that, among other things, U.S. funds might be diverted to Palestinian terrorist groups, much of this aid is subject to a host of vetting and oversight requirements and legislative restrictions. Experts advise that PA stability appears to hinge on improved security, economic development, Israeli cooperation, and the continuation of high levels of foreign assistance. The possibility of a consensus or unity government to address the problem of divided rule among Palestinians could lead to a full or partial U.S. aid cutoff if Hamas is included in the government and does not change its stance toward Israel. Even if the immediate objectives of U.S. assistance programs for the Palestinians are met, lack of progress toward a politically legitimate and peaceful two-state solution could undermine the utility of U.S. aid in helping the Palestinians become more cohesive, stable, and self-reliant over the long term.



Date of Report: August 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: RS22967
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Iraq: Map Sources

Hannah Fischer
Information Research Specialist

This report identifies online sources for maps of Iraq, including government, library, and organizational websites. These sources have been selected on the basis of their authoritativeness and the range, quality, and uniqueness of the maps they provide. Some sources provide up-to-the minute maps; others have been selected for their collection of historical maps. Maps of Iraq, the Middle East, significant security incidents in Iraq, and public views of security in Iraq have been provided.


Date of Report: August 5, 2010
Number of Pages: 9
Order Number: RS21396
Price: $29.95

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Lebanon: Background and U.S. Relations

Casey L. Addis
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

Lebanon is a religiously diverse country transitioning toward independence and democratic consolidation after a ruinous civil war and the subsequent Syrian and Israeli occupations. The United States and Lebanon have historically enjoyed a good relationship due in part to cultural and religious ties; the democratic character of the state; a large, Lebanese-American community in the United States; and the pro-western orientation of Lebanon, particularly during the cold war. Current policy priorities of the United States include strengthening the weak democratic institutions of the state, limiting the influence of Iran, Syria, and others in Lebanon's political process, and countering threats from Hezbollah and other militant groups in Lebanon. 

Following Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in 2005 and the war between Israel and Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, the Bush Administration requested and Congress appropriated a significant increase in U.S. assistance to Lebanon. Since 2006, U.S. assistance to Lebanon has topped $1 billion total over three years, including for the first time U.S. security assistance for the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces (ISF) of Lebanon. 

Several key issues in U.S.-Lebanon relations could potentially affect future U.S. assistance to Lebanon. The scope and influence of foreign actors, primarily Syria and Iran; unresolved territorial disputes; concerns about extremist groups operating in Lebanon; and the strength and character of the LAF are among the challenges facing the Lebanese government and U.S. objectives in Lebanon. 

On November 9, 2009, five months after the parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Hariri announced that consensus had been reached and a cabinet had been formed. Since then, Hariri has faced the challenging task of governing in an environment where sectarian tensions, political jockeying, and external actors penetrate deeply and often paralyze the day-to-day functions of government. The United States has thrown its support behind the Hariri government in an effort to build the capacity of state institutions in an attempt to counter those destabilizing forces. 

Current U.S. policy toward Lebanon centers on containing Iran's sphere of influence while maintaining security and stability in the Levant. As regional actors like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Syria continue to compete for influence in the region, Lebanon has become the staging ground for a proxy war that exacerbates historic sectarian tensions and holds hostage the functions of state institutions. The extent to which Prime Minister Hariri's government, bolstered by U.S. support, can overcome these challenges and move toward fully functioning state institutions also depends on the ability of the LAF and United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) to keep the peace along Lebanon's southern border with Israel and the willingness of Lebanon's neighbors to limit activities that undermine the Hariri government. 

This report provides an overview of Lebanese politics, recent events in Lebanon, and current issues in U.S.-Lebanon relations.



Date of Report: August 3, 2010
Number of Pages: 33
Order Number: R40054
Price: $29.95

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations

Jeremy M. Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs


With limited natural resources, a crippling illiteracy rate, and high population growth, Yemen faces an array of daunting development challenges that some observers believe make it at risk for becoming a failed state. In 2009, Yemen ranked 140 out of 182 countries on the United Nations Development Program's Human Development Index, a score comparable to the poorest sub- Saharan African countries. Over 43% of the population of nearly 24 million people lives below the poverty line, and per capita GDP is estimated to be between $650 and $800. Yemen is largely dependent on external aid from Persian Gulf countries, Western donors, and international financial institutions, though its per capita share of assistance is below the global average. 

As the country's population rapidly rises, resources dwindle, terrorist groups take root in the outlying provinces, and a southern secessionist movement grows, the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress are left to grapple with the consequences of Yemeni instability. Traditionally, U.S.-Yemeni relations have been tepid, as the lack of strong military-to-military partnership, trade relations, and cross cultural exchanges has hindered the development of close bilateral ties. During the early years of the Bush Administration, relations improved under the rubric of the war against Al Qaeda, though Yemen's lax policy toward wanted terrorists and U.S. concerns about governance and corruption have stalled large-scale U.S. support. 

Over the past several fiscal years, Yemen has received on average between $20 and $25 million annually in total U.S. foreign aid. In FY2010, Yemen is receiving $58.4 million in aid. The Defense Department also is providing Yemen's security forces with $150 million worth of training and equipment for FY2010. For FY2011, the Obama Administration requested $106 million in U.S. economic and military assistance to Yemen. 

As President Obama and the 111th Congress reassess U.S. policy toward the Arab world, the opportunity for improved U.S.-Yemeni ties is strong, though tensions persist over counterterrorism cooperation. In recent years, the broader U.S. foreign policy community has not adequately focused on Yemen, its challenges, and their potential consequences for U.S. foreign policy interests beyond the realm of counterterrorism. 

The failed bomb attack against Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009 once again highlighted the potential for terrorism emanating from Yemen, a potential that periodically emerges to threaten U.S. interests both at home and abroad. Whether terrorist groups in Yemen, such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, have a long-term ability to threaten U.S. homeland security may determine the extent of U.S. resources committed to counterterrorism and stabilization efforts there. Some believe these groups lack such capability and fear the United States might overreact; others assert that Yemen is gradually becoming a failed state and safe haven for Al Qaeda operatives and as such should be considered an active theater for U.S. counterterrorism operations. Given Yemen's contentious political climate and its myriad development challenges, most long-time Yemen watchers suggest that security problems emanating from Yemen may persist in spite of increased U.S. or international efforts to combat them
.


Date of Report: July 28, 2010
Number of Pages: 40
Order Number: RL34170
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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Iran Sanctions

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

There appears to be a growing international consensus to adopt progressively strict economic sanctions against Iran to try to compel it to compromise on its further nuclear development. Measures adopted in 2010 by the United Nations Security Council and the European Union and other countries complement the numerous U.S. laws and regulations that have long sought to try to slow Iran's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs and curb its support for militant groups. The U.S. view—increasingly shared by major allies—is that sanctions should target Iran's energy sector that provides about 80% of government revenues. U.S. efforts to curb international energy investment in Iran's energy sector began in 1996 with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA), a U.S. law that authorized the imposition of U.S. penalties against foreign companies that invest in Iran's energy sector. ISA represented a U.S. effort, which is now broadening, to persuade foreign firms to choose between the Iranian market and the much larger U.S. market. 

ISA has been expanded significantly in 2010 to sanction firms that help Iran meet its needs for importation and additional production of gasoline. In the 111th Congress, H.R. 2194 (signed into law on July 1—P.L. 111-195) adds as ISA violations selling refined gasoline to Iran; providing shipping insurance or other services to deliver gasoline to Iran; or supplying equipment to or performing the construction of oil refineries in Iran. The new law also adds a broad range of other measures further restricting the already limited amount of U.S. trade with Iran and restricting some trade with countries that allow WMD-useful technology to reach Iran. The enactment of this law follows the June 9, 2010, adoption of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposes a ban on sales of heavy weapons to Iran and sanctions many additional Iranian entities affiliated with its Revolutionary Guard, but does not mandate sanctions on Iran's energy or broad financial sector. European Union sanctions, imposed July 27, 2010, align the EU with the U.S. position, to a large extent, by prohibiting EU involvement in Iran's energy sector and restricting financial relationships with Iran, among other measures. 

The effectiveness of U.S. and international sanctions on Iran, by most accounts, has been unclear. A growing number of experts feel that the cumulative effect of U.S., U.N., and other sanctions is harming Iran's economy. However, when measured against the overall strategic objectives of the sanctions, there is a consensus that U.S. and U.N. sanctions have not, to date, caused a demonstrable shift in Iran's commitment to its nuclear program. Still, there has been a stream of announcements by major international firms during 2010 that they are exiting the Iranian market. Iran's oil production has fallen slightly to about 3.9 million barrels per day, from over 4.1 million barrels per day several years ago, although Iran now has small natural gas exports that it did not have before Iran opened its fields to foreign investment in 1996. Possibly in an effort to accomplish the separate objective of promoting the cause of the domestic opposition in Iran, the Obama Administration and Congress are increasingly emphasizing measures that would sanction Iranian officials who are human rights abusers, facilitate the democracy movement's access to information, and express outright U.S. support for the opposition. For a broader analysis of policy on Iran, see CRS Report RL32048, Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, by Kenneth Katzman.


Date of Report: August 3, 2010
Number of Pages: 57
Order Number: RS20871
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Monday, August 9, 2010

Security and the Environment in Pakistan

Bruce Vaughn
Specialist in Asian Affairs

Nicole T. Carter
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Pervaze A. Sheikh
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Renée Johnson
Specialist in Agricultural Policy


This report focuses on the nexus between security and environmental concerns in Pakistan that have the potential to affect American security and foreign policy interests. Environmental concerns include, but are not limited to, water and food scarcity, natural disasters, and the effects of climate change. Environmental stresses, when combined with the other socio-economic and political stresses on Pakistan, have the potential to further weaken an already weak Pakistani state. Such a scenario would make it more difficult to achieve the U.S. goal of neutralizing anti- Western terrorists in Pakistan. Some analysts argue that disagreements over water could also exacerbate existing tensions between India and Pakistan. Given the importance of this region to U.S. interests for many reasons, the report identifies an issue that may be of increasing concern for Congress in the years ahead. 

The report examines the potentially destabilizing effect that, when combined with Pakistan's demographic trends and limited economic development, water scarcity, limited arable land, and food security may have on an already radicalized internal and destabilized international political security environment. The report considers the especially important hypothesis that the combination of these factors could contribute to Pakistan's decline as a fully functioning state, creating new, or expanding existing, largely ungoverned areas. The creation, or expansion, of ungoverned areas, or areas of limited control by the government of Pakistan, is viewed as not in U.S. strategic interests given the recent history of such areas being used by the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups as a base for operations against U.S. interests in the region. In this sense, environmental stress is viewed as a potential "threat multiplier" to existing sources of conflict. 

Environmental factors could also expand the ranks of the dispossessed in Pakistan, which could lead to greater recruitment for radical Islamist groups operating in Pakistan or Afghanistan. Larger numbers of dispossessed people in Pakistan could also destabilize the current political regime. This could add pressure on the Pakistani political system and possibly add impetus to a return to military rule or a more bellicose posture towards India. This issue has added significant importance to regional security and American interests in Afghanistan. 

The potential for environmental factors to stoke conflict between the nuclear armed states of India and Pakistan is also a concern. These two historical enemies have repeatedly fought across their international frontier and have yet to resolve their territorial dispute over Kashmir. Further, a longstanding dispute over cross-border water resource sharing between India and Pakistan has resurfaced, possibly exacerbating existing tensions between the two states. Should the two countries wish, however, this dispute also offers a renewed opportunity for cooperation, as has been seen in past negotiations. 

Preliminary findings by experts seem to indicate that existing environmental problems in Pakistan are sufficiently significant to warrant a close watch, especially when combined with Pakistan's limited resilience due to mounting demographic stresses, internal political instability, security challenges, and limited economic resources. For more detailed information on Pakistan see the work of Alan Kronstadt and others including CRS Report RL33498, Pakistan-U.S. Relations, and CRS Report RL34763, Islamist Militancy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region and U.S. Policy.



Date of Report: August 3, 2010
Number of Pages: 21
Order Number: R41358
Price: $29.95

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Afghanistan Casualties: Military Forces and Civilians


Susan G. Chesser
Information Research Specialist

This report collects statistics from a variety of sources on casualties sustained during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), which began on October 7, 2001, and is ongoing. OEF actions take place primarily in Afghanistan; however, OEF casualties also includes American casualties in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, the Philippines, Seychelles, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Yemen.

Casualty data of U.S. military forces are compiled by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as tallied from the agency's press releases. Also included are statistics on those wounded but not killed. Statistics may be revised as circumstances are investigated and as records are processed through the U.S. military's casualty system. More frequent updates are available at DOD's website at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/ under "Casualty Update."

A detailed casualty summary of U.S. military forces that includes data on deaths by cause, as well as statistics on soldiers wounded in action, is available at the following DOD website: http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/CASUALTY/castop.htm.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) does not post casualty statistics of the military forces of partner countries on the ISAF website at http://www.isaf.nato.int/. ISAF press releases state that it is ISAF policy to defer to the relevant national authorities to provide notice of any fatality. For this reason, this report uses fatality data of coalition forces as compiled by CNN.com and posted online at http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2004/oef.casualties/index.html.

Casualty data of Afghan civilians are reported quarterly by the United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA). Deaths of Afghan National Police and Afghan National Army personnel are reported by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction in the quarterly reports to Congress that are required as part of P.L. 110-181.

Because the estimates of Afghan casualties contained in this report are based on varying time periods and have been created using different methodologies, readers should exercise caution when using them and should look to them as guideposts rather than as statements of fact.


D
ate of Report: July 29, 2010
Number of Pages: 5
Order Number: R41084
Price: $19.95


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Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance


Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs


The performance and legitimacy of the Afghan government factored prominently in two reviews of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan during 2009 and continues to color U.S. relations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. In his December 1, 2009, policy statement on Afghanistan, which followed the second review, President Obama stated that "The days of providing a blank check [to the Afghan government] are over." President Obama reportedly pressed Karzai to move more decisively to address his government's deficiencies, particularly corruption, during a March 28, 2010, visit to Afghanistan. The emphasis on that issue may have contributed to two subsequent statements by Karzai accusing the international community of exercising undue pressure on him and on Afghanistan. These issues were muted during Karzai's May 10-14, 2010, visit to Washington, DC, which was described by officials on both sides as highly productive and which resulted in a U.S. commitment to renew and expand a U.S.-Afghanistan "strategic partnership" by the end of 2010. Karzai recommitted to numerous steps to try to reduce governmental corruption—and to improve rule of law and other aspects of governance - at an international meeting on Afghanistan in Kabul on July 20, 2010. One clear trend over the past two years has been to reduce sole reliance on the Afghan central government by strengthening local governing bodies, in part by expanding the presence of U.S. government civilians as advisors outside Kabul.

Politically, there are some indications of ethnic and political fragmentation over the terms on which a settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan might be achieved. On June 6, 2010, Karzai fired two of the most pro-U.S. top security officials. One of them—a member of the Tajik minority—is now openly promoting the view that Karzai has concluded he must negotiate with Pakistan on a settlement of the Afghan conflict because the U.S.-led coalition will not succeed in pacifying Afghanistan. Other leaders of minority communities boycotted a June 2-4, 2010 "consultative peace jirga (assembly)" in Kabul that endorsed Karzai's plan to reintegrate into society insurgents willing to end their fight against the government.

The disputes within Afghanistan and between Karzai and his international partners on terms of any conflict settlement compound continuing international concerns about Afghan democracy and Karzai's legitimacy. In the August 20, 2009, presidential election, there were widespread charges of fraud, many substantiated by an Electoral Complaints Commission (ECC). Nearly one-third of President Karzai's votes were invalidated, leaving him just short of the 50%+ total needed to avoid a second-round runoff. Asserting that more fraud was likely, Karzai's main challenger dropped out of the race on November 1, 2009, and Karzai was declared the winner. He has since had difficulty obtaining parliamentary confirmation of a full cabinet, and seven ministerial posts remain unfilled. Most of the well-regarded economic ministers have been retained. However, concerns remain about whether Karzai is committed to ensuring that the upcoming parliamentary elections, to be held September 18, 2010, will correct previous flaws and prove free and fair. Confidence was undermined, to an extent, in February 2010 when Karzai issued an election decree to govern the National Assembly elections on September 18, 2010. The decree eliminated the three U.N.-appointed positions for international officials on the ECC, although a subsequent compromise restored two non-Afghan ECC seats. For more information, see CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman, and CRS Report R40747, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan: Background and Policy Issues, by Rhoda Margesson.



Date of Report: July 29, 2010
Number of Pages: 46
Order Number: RS21922
Price: $29.95


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