Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Thursday, October 28, 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 well 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, as determined, in large part, by a formal DOD-led review of the Afghanistan situation in December 2010. The policy is intended to ensure that Afghanistan will not again become a base for terrorist attacks against the United States. In order to reverse security deterioration in large parts of Afghanistan since 2006, each of the two reviews resulted in a decision to add combat troops, with the intent to create security 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.

Until October 2010, there had not been a consensus that U.S. strategy has shown clear success, to date. However, in October 2010, the top U.S./NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, as well as other U.S. and partner military officials say that signs are multiplying that insurgent momentum has been broadly blunted. One particular sign is that insurgent commanders are exploring possible surrender terms under which they might reintegrate into society. Still, some experts remain pessimistic, asserting that the insurgents have expanded their presence in northern Afghanistan, and that President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to forcefully confront governmental corruption has caused a loss of Afghan support for his government. U.S. officials are reinforcing the U.S. insistence that Karzai move more decisively against governmental corruption, but reportedly will focus on lower level corruption such as police and governmental demands for bribes. In September 2010, Gen. Petraeus issued new contracting guidance intended to try to reduce corrupt uses of DoD funds spent in Afghanistan. Another U.S. concern is that several partner countries have or are soon to pull their forces out of Afghanistan. A November 19, 2010, NATO summit meeting in Lisbon is to map out a “transition” to Afghan lead on security by 2014, which many experts consider too ambitious a timetable.

In order to try to achieve a strategic breakthrough that might force key insurgent leaders to negotiate a political settlement, Gen. Petraeus is attempting to accelerate local security solutions and experiments similar to those he pursued earlier in Iraq, and to step up the use of air strikes and special forces operations against key Taliban commanders. In order to take advantage of an apparent new willingness by some insurgent commanders to negotiate, Karzai has named a broadbased 68-member High Peace Council to oversee negotiations. However, there are major concerns among Afghanistan’s minorities and among its women that reconciliation could lead to compromises that erode the freedoms Afghans have enjoyed since 2001.

Through the end of FY2010, the United States has provided over $54.5 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, of which about $30 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: October 19, 2010
Number of Pages: 99
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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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, although government capacity is significantly larger than it was when the Taliban regime fell in late 2001. 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, with apparently limited success. Karzai has agreed to cooperate with U.S.-led efforts to build the capacity of several emerging anti-corruption institutions, but these same institutions have sometimes targeted Karzai allies and undermined the U.S.-Karzai partnership. In part as a reaction, Karzai has strengthened his bonds 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 advisers 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. Many of the flaws that plagued the 2009 election appear to have recurred in the parliamentary elections held September 18, 2010, although apparently to a lesser extent. However, the fraud complaints in that election are still under investigation and the scope of any fraud committed is not yet clear. The security situation complicated campaigning and the voting, to some extent, but did not derail the election. Results are to be announced October 30.

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. The main “opposition leader” and 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. However, Karzai has named a Tajik leader as chair of the 68-member High Peace Council that is to structure settlement talks. 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: October 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 50
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.

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations

Jeremy M. Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan’s government and economy and of its cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East.

Several issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations are likely to figure in decisions by Congress and the Administration on future aid to and cooperation with Jordan. These include the stability of the Jordanian regime, the role of Jordan in the Arab-Israeli peace process, the possibility of U.S.- Jordanian nuclear energy cooperation, and U.S.-Jordanian military and intelligence cooperation.

Although the United States and Jordan have never been linked by a formal treaty, they have cooperated on a number of regional and international issues over the years. The country’s small size and lack of major economic resources have made it dependent on aid from Western and friendly Arab sources. U.S. support, in particular, has helped Jordan address serious vulnerabilities, both internal and external. Jordan’s geographic position, wedged between Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, has made it vulnerable to the strategic designs of its more powerful neighbors, but has also given Jordan an important role as a buffer between these potential adversaries. In 1990, Jordan’s unwillingness to join the allied coalition against Iraq disrupted its relations with the United States and the Persian Gulf states; however, relations improved throughout the 1990s as Jordan played an increasing role in the Arab-Israeli peace process and distanced itself from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The United States has provided economic and military aid, respectively, to Jordan since 1951 and 1957. Total U.S. aid to Jordan through FY2010 amounted to approximately $11.8 billion. Levels of aid have fluctuated, increasing in response to threats faced by Jordan and decreasing during periods of political differences or worldwide curbs on aid funding. On September 22, 2008, the U.S. and Jordanian governments reached an agreement whereby the United States will provide a total of $660 million in annual foreign assistance to Jordan over a five-year period. For FY2011, the Administration is requesting $682.7 million for Jordan in total military and economic aid.



Date of Report: October 4, 2010
Number of Pages: 29
Order Number: RL33546
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, October 18, 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 30, 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.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks


Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Iraq’s political system, the result of a U.S.-supported election process, has been increasingly characterized by peaceful competition, as well as by attempts to form cross-sectarian alliances. However, ethnic and factional infighting continues, sometimes involving the questionable use of key levers of power and legal institutions. This infighting—and the belief that holding political may mean the difference between life and death for the various political communities—has prevented agreement to date on a new government that was to be selected following the March 7, 2010, national elections for the Council of Representatives (COR, parliament). A new government was expected immediately after the end of the Ramadan period on September 11, but deadlock continued. As of October 4, 2010, after receiving the backing of the faction of Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki may be close to securing the COR votes for another term as Prime Minister.

Contributing to the difficulty in reaching agreement has been the close election results and distribution of seats in the COR. With the results certified, the cross-sectarian but Sunnisupported “Iraqiyya” slate of former Prime Minister Iyad al-Allawi unexpectedly gained a plurality of 91 of the 325 COR seats up for election. Maliki’s State of Law slate won 89, and a rival Shiite coalition was third with 70, of which about 40 seats are held by those supporting Moqtada Al Sadr. The main Kurdish parties, again allied, won 43 seats, with another 14 seats held by other Kurdish factions. On the basis of his first place showing, Allawi had demanded to be given the first opportunity to put together a majority coalition and form a government. Even as Al Sadr and some other Shiites have now dropped their opposition to Maliki, Allawi continues to oppose Maliki’s continuation as Prime Minister and is attempting to form a rival grouping along with the Kurds and Shiite figures, such as Adel Abdul Mahdi, who oppose Maliki.

Allawi, who is viewed as even-handed and not amenable to Iranian influence, was considered to be favored by the Obama Administration and by Sunni-dominated regional neighbors such as Saudi Arabia. However, many expect that neither the United States nor these neighbors can or will intervene decisively to shape a new government led by Allawi. Iran, which exercises major influence over the Shiite factions in Iraq, has purportedly been working to ensure that pro-Iranian Shiites lead the next government, although it was not necessarily insisting that Maliki continue. U.S. officials are anticipating that a new government could overcome the roadblocks that have thus far prevented passage of key outstanding legislation considered crucial to political comity going forward, such as national hydrocarbon laws. U.S. officials and Iraqi citizens also hope that the new government can resolve the increasingly contentious shortages of electricity that have plagued Iraqi cities during 2010 and complicated citizen efforts to cope with the summer heat.

The long political vacuum, coupled with the drawdown of U.S. forces to 50,000 and the formal end of the U.S. combat mission on August 31, 2010, has contributed to major high profile attacks in Iraq and a sense of uncertainty and disillusionment on the part of the Iraqi public. Although it did not delay the ending of the U.S. combat mission, the continuing violence has caused some experts to question whether stability will continue after all U.S. forces are to depart at the end of 2011. Some believe that the reduction in U.S. leverage and influence in Iraq will cause the rifts among major ethnic and sectarian communities to widen to the point where Iraq could still become a “failed state” after 2011, unless some U.S. troops remain after that time. See CRS Report RL31339, Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security, by Kenneth Katzman.



Date of Report: October 4, 2010
Number of Pages: 28
Order Number: RS21968
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, October 14, 2010

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues


Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation

Mary Beth Nikitin
Analyst in Nonproliferation


Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal consists of approximately 60 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger. Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles. These steps will enable Pakistan to undertake both quantitative and qualitative improvements to its nuclear arsenal. Whether and to what extent Pakistan’s current expansion of its nuclear weapons-related facilities is a response to the 2008 U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement is unclear. Islamabad does not have a public, detailed nuclear doctrine, but its “minimum credible deterrent” is widely regarded as primarily a deterrent to Indian military action.

Pakistan has in recent years taken a number of steps to increase international confidence in the security of its nuclear arsenal. In addition to dramatically overhauling nuclear command and control structures since September 11, 2001, Islamabad has implemented new personnel security programs. Moreover, Pakistani and some U.S. officials argue that, since the 2004 revelations about a procurement network run by former Pakistani nuclear official A.Q. Khan, Islamabad has taken a number of steps to improve its nuclear security and to prevent further proliferation of nuclear-related technologies and materials. A number of important initiatives, such as strengthened export control laws, improved personnel security, and international nuclear security cooperation programs have improved Pakistan’s security situation in recent years.

Instability in Pakistan has called the extent and durability of these reforms into question. Some observers fear radical takeover of a government that possesses a nuclear bomb, or proliferation by radical sympathizers within Pakistan’s nuclear complex in case of a breakdown of controls. While U.S. and Pakistani officials continue to express confidence in controls over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, continued instability in the country could impact these safeguards. For a broader discussion, see CRS Report RL33498, Pakistan-U.S. Relations, by K. Alan Kronstadt.



Date of Report: October 7, 2010
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: RL34248
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.