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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pakistan-U.S. Relations: A Summary

K. Alan Kronstadt
Specialist in South Asian Affairs

This report summarizes important recent developments in Pakistan and in Pakistan-U.S. relations. These include high-profile political assassinations in early 2011; the Raymond Davis affair involving a CIA operative accused of murder in the city of Lahore; and the May killing of Osama bin Laden in the city of Abbottabad, among others. The report also summarizes key issues in the bilateral relationship. Recent Obama Administration engagement with Pakistan is discussed and the current status of Pakistan-U.S. relations is briefly analyzed. Other key issues include links between Pakistan and indigenous American terrorism; Islamist militancy in Pakistan and Islamabad’s policies toward the Afghan insurgency; Pakistan’s relations with historic rival India; nuclear weapons proliferation and security in Pakistan; and the status of Pakistan’s economic and political settings. Human rights concerns are briefly summarized, and the report closes with discussion of U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan.

A stable, democratic, prosperous Pakistan actively combating religious militancy is considered vital to U.S. interests. U.S. concerns regarding Pakistan include regional and global terrorism; efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan; nuclear weapons proliferation; the Kashmir problem and Pakistan-India tensions; democratization and human rights protection; and economic development. Pakistan is praised by U.S. leaders for its post-2001 cooperation with U.S.-led counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts, although long-held doubts exist about Islamabad’s commitment to some core U.S. interests. A mixed record on battling Islamist extremism includes ongoing apparent tolerance of Taliban elements operating from its territory. May 2011 revelations that Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden had found apparently years-long refuge inside Pakistan has led to intensive U.S. government scrutiny of the now deeply troubled bilateral relationship. Anti-American sentiments and xenophobic conspiracy theories remain rife among ordinary Pakistanis. Pakistan’s troubled economic conditions and precarious political setting combine with perilous security circumstances and a history of difficult relations with neighbors to also present serious challenges to U.S. decision makers.

Islamist extremism and militancy in Pakistan is a central U.S. foreign policy concern. Its arguably growing influence hinders progress toward key U.S. goals, including the defeat of Al Qaeda and other anti-U.S. terrorist groups, Afghan stabilization, and resolution of the historic Pakistan-India rivalry that threatens the entire region’s stability and that has a nuclear dimension. Long-standing worries that American citizens have been recruited and employed in Islamist terrorism by Pakistan-based elements have become more acute. Bilateral distrust has peaked since the death of bin Laden, with some in Congress openly calling for the curtailment or significant reduction of U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan, a country among the leading recipients of such aid, having been appropriated more than $20 billion in assistance and military reimbursements since 2001. For broader discussion, see CRS Report R41307, Pakistan: Key Current Issues and Developments, by K. Alan Kronstadt.

Date of Report: May 16, 2011
Number of Pages: 31
Order Number: R41832
Price: $29.95

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The Motor Vehicle Supply Chain: Effects of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Bill Canis
Specialist in Industrial Organization and Business

The March 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami devastated the northeast coast of Japan with the most powerful natural disaster in Japan’s modern history. Compounding the challenge for Japanese government, businesses, and communities was the resulting destruction of several nuclear reactors in the region which supplied electricity for homes and industry. Not only was electricity unavailable, but a large area was temporarily evacuated, making rapid reopening of affected industries impossible.

Located in the disaster region and adversely affected by these forces are a number of manufacturing facilities which are integral to the global motor vehicle supply chain. They include plants that assemble automobiles and many suppliers which build parts and components for vehicles. Some of the Japanese factories that were forced to close provide parts and chemicals not easily available elsewhere. This is particularly true of automotive electronics, a major producer of which was located near the center of the destruction.

The effect of these disasters has been first and foremost borne by Japanese automakers, which closed many of their Japanese assembly plants for several weeks as they assessed their supply chain issues and impact on their Tier 1, 2, and 3 suppliers. Japanese motor vehicle plants in other parts of the world have also been affected, including facilities owned by Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and other manufacturers in the Midwest and South of the United States. Detroit 3 automakers, by contrast, are less affected, although they, too, have taken extraordinary steps to keep production moving, including visiting suppliers in Japan to help them rebuild, locating alternative sources for some parts and chemicals, and shifting plants’ summer vacations to accommodate the loss of parts.

IHS Global Insight, a global consulting firm, forecasts that over 4 million units of vehicle production will be lost because of the disasters in Japan, with 90% of them from Japanese automakers. It is possible that a shortage of some popular Japanese vehicles may develop over the summer in the United States. The Detroit 3 and South Korean automakers may be able to fill a portion of whatever demand Japanese producers are unable to meet.

Congress has shown an interest in the economic effects of these disasters, and at least one hearing has been planned to examine the effects. Not only is Japan one of the United States’ largest trading partners, but it is also an ally in Asia, and its rebuilding is an important step in global economic recovery. In addition, Congress may be interested in evaluating the resilience of global supply chains as a result of new information about the vulnerabilities of supply chains in the automotive sector.

Date of Report: May 23, 2011
Number of Pages: 19
Order Number: R41831
Price: $29.95

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Iraq’s political system is increasingly characterized by peaceful competition and formation of cross-sectarian alliances. However, ethnic and sectarian political and sometimes violent infighting continues, often involving the questionable use of key levers of power and legal institutions. This infighting—and the belief that holding political power may mean the difference between life and death for the various political communities—significantly delayed agreement on a new government that was to be selected following the March 7, 2010, national elections for the Council of Representatives (COR, parliament). With U.S. diplomatic help, on November 10, 2010, major ethnic and sectarian factions agreed on a framework for a new government, breaking the long deadlock. The agreement, under which Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is serving a second term, was implemented when a broad-based cabinet was confirmed on December 21, 2010.

The participation of all major factions in the new government was considered stabilizing politically and created some political momentum to act on key outstanding legislation crucial to attracting foreign investment, such as national hydrocarbon laws. The new government took action on some long-stalled initiatives, including year-long tensions over Kurdish exports of oil. However, the lack of a broader and sustained focus on governance, or on improving key services, such as electricity, created popular frustration that manifested as protests since February 2011. The demonstrations were partly inspired by the wave of unrest that has broken out in many other Middle Eastern countries, but were not centered on overthrowing the regime or wholesale political change. Some force has been used to suppress them, but the main effect has been to renew tensions among and within major factions rather than to prompt new attempts to improve government performance.

Among ongoing schisms, Sunni Arabs fear that Maliki and his Shiite allies seek to monopolize power. The Kurds are wary that Maliki will not honor pledges to resolve Kurd-Arab territorial and financial disputes. There are significant tensions between Sunni Arabs and the Kurds over territory and governance in parts of northern Iraq, particularly Nineveh Province. Some Iraqi communities, including Christians, are not necessarily at odds with the government but they have been targeted by insurgent attacks in late 2010 and early 2011.

These splits cloud the approaching completion of a U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq at the end of 2011, in keeping with a 2008 U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement. With the formal end of the U.S. combat mission on August 31, 2010, U.S. forces have dropped to 47,000, from a 2008 high of 170,000. Continuing high profile attacks, although sporadic and relatively infrequent, have caused some experts to question whether security will deteriorate to the point where Iraq becomes a “failed state” after 2011, unless Iraq requests the continued presence of U.S. forces after that time. Such a potential request has been the focus of several high-level U.S. visits to Iraq since March and April 2011, during which senior U.S. officials have expressed concerns about the ability of Iraqi forces to secure Iraq and its borders if all U.S. troops were to depart. If all U.S. troops leave at the end of 2011, some question the ability of the U.S. State Department to secure its facilities and personnel and to carry out its mission on its own.

There are also continuing concerns over Iranian influence over Iraq as U.S. forces depart. Iran’s main protégé in Iraq, Moqtada Al Sadr, has returned to Iraq as of the beginning of 2011, and argues against a continued U.S. military presence beyond 2011. Sadr also appears to be using the deficiencies of the Maliki government as a way to bolster his faction’s position and potentially to justify reactivating his armed Mahdi Army militia.

Date of Report: May 18, 2011
Number of Pages: 39
Order Number: RS21968
Price: $29.95

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Qatar: Background and U.S. Relations

Christopher M. Blanchard
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

Qatar, a small peninsular country in the Persian Gulf, emerged as a partner of the United States in the mid-1990s and currently serves as host to major U.S. military facilities. Qatar holds the thirdlargest proven natural gas reserves in the world, and its small population enjoys the world’s highest per capita income. The emir of Qatar, Shaykh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, has managed a course of major economic growth and very limited political liberalization since replacing his father in a bloodless palace coup in 1995. The emir has undertaken several projects to capitalize on Qatar’s hydrocarbon resources, improve educational opportunities for Qatari citizens, and pursue economic diversification. As part of Qatar’s liberalization experiment, the Qatari monarchy founded Al Jazeera, the first all-news Arabic language satellite television network, in 1995. The network has proven influential and controversial since its establishment, including during recent unrest in the Arab world. In an April 2003 referendum, Qatari voters approved a new constitution that officially granted women the right to vote and run for national office. Elections have been delayed for a national Advisory Council established by the new constitution, and no target date has been set. Central Municipal Council elections are planned for May 2011.

Following joint military operations during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Qatar and the United States concluded a Defense Cooperation Agreement that has been subsequently expanded. In April 2003, the U.S. Combat Air Operations Center for the Middle East moved from Prince Sultan Airbase in Saudi Arabia to Qatar’s Al Udeid airbase south of Doha, the Qatari capital. Al Udeid and other facilities in Qatar serve as logistics, command, and basing hubs for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) area of operations, including Iraq and Afghanistan. In spite of serving as the host to a large U.S. military presence and supporting U.S. regional initiatives, Qatar has remained mostly secure from terrorist attacks. Terrorist statements indicate that energy infrastructure and U.S. military facilities in Qatar remain potential targets. U.S. officials have described Qatar’s counterterrorism cooperation since 9/11 as significant; however, some observers have raised questions about possible support for Al Qaeda by some Qatari citizens, including members of Qatar’s large ruling family.

Human rights concerns persist. The 2010 State Department human rights report on Qatar notes that basic civil liberties are restricted and states that the foreign workers who make up most of the country’s population of 1.67 million “in many cases worked under circumstances that constituted forced labor.” Since 2007, the State Department has reported that enacted safety and labor rights regulations remain largely unenforced, and foreign diplomats’ visits to labor camps revealed “the majority of unskilled foreign laborers living in cramped, dirty, and hazardous conditions, often without running water, electricity, or adequate food.”

Qatari officials have taken an increasingly active diplomatic role in recent years, seeking to position themselves as mediators and interlocutors in a number of regional conflicts. Qatar’s deployment of fighter jets and transport planes to support NATO-led military operations in Libya signaled a new assertiveness, and experts are speculating about what role Qatar may take with regard to regional security issues in the wake of recent unrest. Qatar’s willingness to embrace Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas as part of its mediation and outreach initiatives has drawn scrutiny. Unrest in Syria and Hamas-Fatah reconciliation could create challenging choices for Qatar. The Obama Administration has not voiced public concern about Qatar’s multidirectional foreign policy and has sought to preserve and expand military and counterterrorism cooperation with the ambitious leaders of this wealthy, strategically located country.

Date of Report: May 16, 2011
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: RL31718
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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 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:

NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) does not post casualty statistics of the military forces of partner countries on the ISAF website at 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 and posted online at

Reporting on casualties of Afghans did not begin until 2007, and a variety of entities now report the casualties of civilians and security forces members. The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) reports casualty data of Afghan civilians semiannually, and the U.S. Department of Defense occasionally includes civilian casualty figures within its reports on Afghanistan. The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, 2010_eng/, and the Afghan Rights Monitor,, are local watchdog organizations that periodically publish reports regarding civilian casualties. From July 2009 through April 2010, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) included statistics of casualties of members of the Afghan National Army and Afghan National Police in its quarterly reports to Congress. SIGAR has ceased this practice, and there is no other published compilation of these statistics. This report now derives casualty figures of Afghan soldiers and police from the press accounts of the Reuters “Factbox: Security Developments in Afghanistan” series, the Pajhwok Afghan News agency, Daily Outlook Afghanistan from Kabul, and the AfPak Channel Daily Brief. These services attribute their reported information to officials of the NATO-led ISAF or local Afghan officials. Pajhwok Afghan News frequently concludes its accounts with statements from representatives of the Taliban; however, these figures are not included in this report.

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: May 18, 2011
Number of Pages: 6
Order Number: R41084
Price: $19.95

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