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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Middle East: Selected Key Issues and Options for the 112th Congress

Casey L. Addis, Coordinator
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

Christopher M. Blanchard
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Jeremy M. Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Jim Zanotti
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

The Middle East, broadly defined as an area stretching from North Africa to the Afghanistan, presents an array of challenges to U.S. foreign policy. Although the United States maintains strong relations with several key Arab and non-Arab states such as Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey, other state and non-state actors, such as Iran, the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Palestinian Sunni group Hamas, are aligned against U.S. interests. The United States and its regional and international allies continue to work to limit the influence of these actors while advocating for economic and political reform to address ongoing socioeconomic challenges and to promote democracy and a greater respect for human rights in the region.

Members of the 112
th Congress may face any number of issues in or relating to the Middle East including the war in Afghanistan, terrorism, foreign assistance, democracy promotion, and ongoing effects of the global financial crisis. This report provides an overview of key issues, a summary of past Congressional action on these issues, and options for congressional consideration during the 112th Congress.

Key issues include:
Iran Sanctions 
Preserving Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge 
Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process 
U.S. Aid to the Palestinians 
Saudi Arabia: Arms Sales and Security Cooperation 
Iraq: Defining Post-2011 Relations 
U.S. Policy Toward Syria 
U.S. Support for Lebanon 
U.S. Democracy Promotion in Egypt 
Islam, Al Qaeda, and U.S. Counterterrorism Strategy 
This report also contains a section, Appendix A, with links to relevant Congressional Research Service reports, along with analyst contact information.

Date of Report: January 3, 2011
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R41556
Price: $29.95

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