Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel


Jeremy M. Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and an analysis of current issues. For general information on Israel, see CRS Report RL33476, Israel: Background and Relations with the United States, by Carol Migdalovitz. For information on overall U.S. assistance to the Middle East, see CRS Report RL32260, U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East: Historical Background, Recent Trends, and the FY2011 Request, by Jeremy M. Sharp.

Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. From 1976-2004, Israel was the largest annual recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, having since been supplanted by Iraq. Since 1985, the United States has provided nearly $3 billion in grants annually to Israel.

Almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance. In the past, Israel also had received significant economic assistance. Strong congressional support for Israel has resulted in Israel’s receiving benefits not available to other countries. For example, Israel can use some U.S. military assistance both for research and development in the United States and for military purchases from Israeli manufacturers. In addition, all U.S. foreign assistance earmarked for Israel is delivered in the first 30 days of the fiscal year. Most other recipients normally receive aid in installments. Congress also appropriates funds for joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs.

In August 2007, the Bush Administration announced that it would increase U.S. military assistance to Israel by $6 billion over the next decade. The agreement calls for incremental annual increases in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) to Israel, reaching $3 billion a year by FY2011.

For FY2011, the Obama Administration requested $3 billion in FMF to Israel. According to the State Department’s FY2011 budget justification for Foreign Operations, “U.S. assistance will help ensure that Israel maintains its qualitative military edge over potential threats, and prevent a shift in the security balance of the region. U.S. assistance is also aimed at ensuring for Israel the security it requires to make concessions necessary for comprehensive regional peace.”

After years of negotiation, the United States and Israel announced in August 2010 that Israel will purchase 20 F-35s at a cost of $2.75 billion, which will be paid for entirely with FMF grants. The first planes are scheduled to be delivered in 2015, though the deal is still pending final approval by the Israeli cabinet.



Date of Report: September 16, 2010
Number of Pages: 32
Order Number: RL33222
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing. 

Monday, September 27, 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.



Date of Report: September 14, 2010
Number of Pages: 6
Order Number: R41084
Price: $19.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

The weak performance and lack of transparency within the Afghan government are a growing factor in debate over the effectiveness of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. In a December 1, 2009, policy statement on Afghanistan, which followed the second of two major Afghanistan strategy reviews in 2009, President Obama stated that “The days of providing a blank check [to the Afghan government] are over.” Since early 2010, the Administration has been pressing President Hamid Karzai to move more decisively to address corruption within his government, but Karzai’s backlash against the criticism has caused the Administration to try to work quietly with Karzai and to emphasize building the capacity of several emerging anti-corruption institutions. However, these same institutions have sometimes targeted Karzai allies and undermined the U.S.-Karzai partnership, compelling Karzai to strengthen his bond to ethnic and political faction leaders who are often involved in illicit economic activity and who undermine rule of law. Some of the effects of corruption burst into public view in August 2010 when major losses were announced by the large Kabul Bank, in part due to large loans to major shareholders, many of whom are close to Karzai. While prodding Karzai on corruption—including some moves in Congress to link further U.S. aid to clear progress on this issue—another clear trend over the past two years has been to reduce sole reliance on the Afghan central government by strengthening local governing bodies. This is being implemented, in part, by expanding the presence of U.S. government civilians as advisors outside Kabul.

The disputes with Karzai over corruption 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). The ECC invalidated nearly one-third of President Karzai’s votes, although Karzai’s main challenger dropped out of a runoff and he was declared the winner, but he subsequently faced opposition to many of his cabinet nominees by the elected lower house of parliament. Seven ministerial posts remain unfilled. There is substantial opinion that many of the flaws that plagued the 2009 election will recur in the parliamentary elections to be held September 18, 2010. 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. The security situation has complicated campaigning, particularly for women candidates.

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. Women, who have made substantial gains (including appointment to cabinet posts and governorships and election to parliament) fear their rights may be eroded under any “deal” that might end conflict with insurgent factions. 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: September 14, 2010
Number of Pages: 49
Order Number: RS21922
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.   

Flooding in Pakistan: Overview and Issues for Congress

K. Alan Kronstadt, Coordinator
Specialist in South Asian Affairs

Pervaze A. Sheikh, Coordinator
Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

Bruce Vaughn, Coordinator
Specialist in Asian Affairs


Pakistan is in the midst of a catastrophic natural disaster that has precipitated a humanitarian crisis of major proportions. Widespread flooding has affected about 20 million Pakistanis and inundated an area the size of Florida. Congressional interest in the flooding stems from the significant humanitarian and economic implications for the country, and the security implications for U.S. interests in the region. While it is too early to fully assess the extent of the damage and the wide range of its ramifications, it is almost certain that the negative effects of the crisis will be felt for many years to come.

The floods stem from abnormally heavy rains during the monsoon season in July and August, which led to flooding in the Indus River Basin which runs from the north to the south of Pakistan. Excess water led the Indus River and its tributaries to breach their levees and inundate adjacent and downstream floodplains. Some 1,750 people are believed to have been killed. One fifth of the country was submerged, and an estimated eight million Pakistanis were displaced from their homes. The numbers affected are significantly greater than several recent disasters around the world combined. Little clean drinking water is available for many of the people who have been affected. Many of those, particularly children, are now in danger of disease outbreak, particularly diarrhea caused by ingesting stagnant water, and malaria. The catastrophic loss of livestock and crop lands and extensive damage to the country’s infrastructure are projected to have devastating long-term effects on Pakistan’s food security and economic performance.

Pakistan is at the center of several crucial U.S. interests, including fighting terrorism and religious militancy, seeking stability in neighboring Afghanistan, promoting nuclear non-proliferation, among others. The floods have the potential to affect broad political and strategic dynamics in Pakistan and the region in a number of ways. The crisis may undermine the already waning legitimacy of the civilian government by demonstrating its ineffectiveness to large numbers of Pakistanis in need of public services, while improving the status of Pakistan’s powerful military by the more visible role it has played in providing disaster relief. It may also provide militants an opportunity to garner favor with affected communities by giving them an opportunity to demonstrate that they can provide assistance in areas where the government is absent. The crisis will also likely divert attention and resources from other priorities, at a time when Pakistan remains financially strapped.

U.S. interests are served by a stable Pakistan that can effectively rule all its territory. Any crisis on a scale of the present floods that undermines the Pakistani state’s ability to control its territory has the potential to undermine U.S. interests. The inability of Pakistan to fully extend its authority into areas along its northwest frontier with Afghanistan has allowed Islamist militants hostile to the United States to find refuge. The current floods have already diverted Pakistani resources and focus away from its struggle with Islamist militants. This has the potential to indirectly affect U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan by taking pressure off militants on the Pakistani side of the international frontier. On a more positive note, the crisis presents the United States with an opportunity to improve its poor image among Pakistanis through provision of humanitarian assistance. Congress will play an important role in overseeing such assistance in the near term, and broad foreign assistance strategies for rebuilding infrastructure and other development goals in the medium and long run. For more information on environmental issues and Pakistan, see CRS Report R41358, Security and the Environment in Pakistan. For broader discussion of U.S.- Pakistan relations, see CRS Report R41307, Pakistan: Key Current Issues and Developments.



Date of Report: September 21, 2010
Number of Pages: 30
Order Number: R41424
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Following two high-level policy reviews on Afghanistan in 2009, the Obama Administration asserts that it is pursuing a fully resourced and integrated military-civilian strategy intended to pave the way for a gradual transition to Afghan security leadership beginning in July 2011. The pace of that transition is to be determined by conditions on the ground. The policy is predicated on the view that stabilizing Afghanistan will ensure that it cannot again become a base for terrorist attacks against the United States. In order to reverse a deterioration of security in large parts of Afghanistan since 2006, each of the two reviews resulted in a decision to add combat troops, with the intent of creating the conditions to expand Afghan governance and economic development. A total of 51,000 additional U.S. forces were authorized by the two reviews, which has brought U.S. troop levels to about 104,000 as of September 4, 2010, with partner forces holding at about 40,000. At the same time, the Administration is attempting to counter the perception in the region, particularly among Pakistan, India, the Afghan insurgency, and within the Afghan political establishment that U.S. involvement will be sharply reduced after July 2011. That perception may, among other consequences, be inflaming the traditional rivalry between Pakistan and India, in this case to deny each other influence in Afghanistan.

As the effort approaches a formal DOD-led review of the Afghanistan situation in December 2010, there is not a consensus that U.S. strategy has shown clear success, to date. The top U.S./NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, said in September 2010 that the U.S. “surge” has produced an expansion of security in areas that have been the focus of U.S.-led operations in 2010. Still, some experts remain pessimistic, asserting that there has been failure to fully stabilize Marjah; that Afghans have been reluctant to allow combat to better secure Qandahar Province; that President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to forcefully confront governmental corruption has caused a loss of Afghan support for his government, and that several partner countries insist, in advance of a November 2010 NATO meeting in Lisbon, that the “transition” to Afghan responsibility be accelerated.

In order to try to achieve progress more rapidly, Gen. Petraeus is expressing support for accelerating local security solutions and experiments similar to those he pursued earlier in Iraq, and for efforts to induce low level insurgents to reintegrate into society. Karzai received backing for the reintegration initiative at an international conference in London on January 28, 2010, during his May 2010 meetings in Washington, DC, at “consultative peace jirga” in Kabul during June 2-4, 2010, and at a July 20, 2010, international meeting in Kabul. He has named a high council to implement the policy. However, there are major concerns among Afghanistan’s minorities and among its women that reintegration—and more controversially Karzai’s willingness to reconcile with senior insurgent leaders—could lead to compromises that erode the freedoms Afghans have enjoyed since 2001. Gen. Petraeus, taking account of criticisms of the Afghan government in Congress, also is reportedly reinforcing the U.S. insistence that Karzai move more decisively against governmental corruption. In September 2010, he issued new contracting guidance intended to try to reduce corrupt uses of DoD funds spent in Afghanistan.

Through the end of FY2009, the United States has provided over $40 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, of which about $21 billion has been to equip and train Afghan forces. (See CRS Report RS21922, Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance, by Kenneth Katzman.)



Date of Report: September 17, 2010
Number of Pages: 105
Order Number: RL30588
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.