Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues


Paul K. Kerr
Analyst in Nonproliferation

Mary Beth Nikitin
Specialist in Nonproliferation


Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 90-110 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger. Islamabad is producing fissile material, adding to related production facilities, and deploying additional delivery vehicles. These steps could 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 designed to dissuade India from taking military action against Pakistan.

Pakistan has in recent years taken a number of steps to increase international confidence in the security of its nuclear arsenal. In addition to 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 nuclearrelated 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.

However, 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: July 20, 2011
Number of Pages: 29
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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Iran Sanctions


Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

There is broad international support for imposing progressively strict economic sanctions on Iran to try to compel it to verifiably confine its nuclear program to purely peaceful uses. However, most U.S. and international officials appear to agree that the sanctions have not, to date, so severely hurt Iran’s economy to the point at which the core Western goals on Iran’s nuclear program can be accomplished. Nuclear talks in December 2010 and in January 2011 made virtually no progress, suggesting that Iran’s leaders do not feel sufficiently pressured by sanctions to offer major concessions to obtain a nuclear deal, and talks have not resumed since.

There is broad agreement that, because so many major economic powers have imposed sanctions on Iran, key sectors of Iran’s economy are being harmed to an extent, reinforcing the effects of Iran’s economic mismanagement. Among other indicators, there have been a stream of announcements by major international firms since early 2010 that they are exiting the Iranian market, taking with them their often irreplaceable expertise. 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. In addition, Iran’s overall ability to limit the effects of sanctions has been aided by relatively high oil prices in mid-2011.

The United States and its allies appear to agree that sanctions are an effective tool that should be pursued, and that sanctions should continue to weaken Iran’s energy sector and isolate Iran from the international financial system. The energy sector provides about 80% of government revenues. Iran’s large trading community depends on financing to buy goods from the West and sell them inside Iran. Using the authorities of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1929, adopted June 9, 2010, measures adopted since mid-2010 by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union, and several other countries target those sectors. These national measures complement the numerous U.S. laws and regulations that have long sought to try to pressure Iran, particularly the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)—a 1996 U.S. law that mandated U.S. penalties against foreign companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector. In the 111
th Congress, the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA, P.L. 111-195) expanded ISA to sanction Iran’s ability to obtain or make gasoline, for which Iran depends heavily on imports. Sales to Iran of gasoline have fallen dramatically since.

CISADA also contained a broad range of other measures further restricting the already limited amount of U.S. trade with Iran. It contained provisions to promote the cause of the domestic opposition in Iran by sanctioning Iranian officials who are human rights abusers and facilitating the democracy movement’s access to information technology—a trend that is increasingly taking hold in the Obama Administration and in partner countries. The increasing emphasis on human rights-related laws and sanctions reflect a growing belief that there are few new economic sanctions that can be successfully agreed on or imposed. In the 112
th Congress, legislation, such as S. 1048 and H.R. 1905, has been introduced to enhance both the economic sanctions and human rights-related provisions of CISADA and other laws. 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: July 20, 2011
Number of Pages: 70
Order Number: RS20871
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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses


Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

The Obama Administration views Iran as a major threat to U.S. national security interests, a perception generated not only by uncertainty about Iran’s intentions for its nuclear program but also by its materiel assistance to armed groups in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the Palestinian group Hamas, and to Lebanese Hezbollah.

Throughout its first year, the Obama Administration offered Iran’s leaders consistent and sustained engagement with the potential for closer integration with and acceptance by the West. To try to convince Iranian leaders of peaceful U.S. intent, the Obama Administration downplayed any discussion of potential U.S. military action against Iranian nuclear facilities or efforts to try to change Iran’s regime. However, after observing a crackdown on peaceful protests in Iran in 2009, and failing to obtain Iran’s agreement to implement a compromise outlined on October 1, 2009, the Administration has worked during 2010 and 2011 to increase economic and political pressure on Iran. Major sanctions were imposed on Iran by the U.N. Security Council (Resolution 1929), as well as related “national measures” by the European Union, Japan, South Korea, and other countries. Additional measures designed to compel foreign firms to exit the Iranian market were contained in U.S. legislation passed in June 2010 (the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act, P.L. 111-195).

Still, the Administration and its partners assert that sanctions are intended to support diplomacy with Iran to limit its nuclear program. Iran attended December 6-7, 2010, talks in Geneva with the six powers negotiating with Iran, but no substantive progress was reported. Nor was there progress at subsequent talks in Turkey on January 21-22, 2011, and an exchange of letters between Iran and the six powers during February-May 2011 did not produce agreement for a new meeting. U.S. officials indicate that additional pressure could be forthcoming, although with no stipulated timeframe, while also stating that the “door is open” to further nuclear talks.

Subsequent to the failed January 2011 nuclear talks with Iran (and in the context of the popular uprisings throughout the Middle East in 2011) the Administration has increased its public support of the Iranian opposition “Green movement.” Some in the 112
th Congress believe the United States should do more to support the democracy movement in Iran, but there are no indications the Administration plans to provide it with direct, material support. While trying to crush its own dissident movement, the Iranian leadership has sought to protect its ally, President Bashar al- Assad of Syria, from being overcome by protests. In line with long-standing policy of supporting regional Shiite movements, Iran may be helping Shiite factions in Bahrain that have participated in a broad but thus far unsuccessful uprising there.

Others in and outside the 112
th Congress believe that the U.S. focus should remain on pressing Iran economically and diplomatically. Sanctions, by some accounts, have slowed Iran’s nuclear program directly and may be contributing to an increasingly open power struggle between Iran’s Supreme Leader and its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. But, sanctions have not caused Iran to fundamentally alter its nuclear negotiating position. The apparent slowing of Iran’s nuclear program has, at least temporarily, quieted discussion in Israeli and U.S. expert circles about using military action to set Iran’s nuclear program back. The Administration has stepped up arms sales to regional states that share the U.S. suspicions of Iran’s intentions. For further information, see CRS Report RS20871, Iran Sanctions; CRS Report R40849, Iran: Regional Perspectives and U.S. Policy, coordinated by Casey L. Addis; and CRS Report RL34544, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status.


Date of Report: June 12, 2011
Number of Pages: 76
Order Number: RL32048
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.

Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

The limited capacity and widespread corruption of all levels of Afghan governance are factors in debate over the effectiveness of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and in implementing a transition to Afghan security leadership. That transition is to be completed by the end of 2014, a timeframe agreed to by the United States, its international partners, and the Afghan government.

Afghan governing capacity has increased significantly since the Taliban regime fell in late 2001, but many positions, particularly at the local level, are unfilled. Many governing functions are performed at least informally by unaccountable power brokers. Widespread illiteracy and ethnic and factional ties limit the development of a competent bureaucracy, although U.S. and other programs are attempting to address these deficiencies. On corruption, President Hamid Karzai has accepted U.S. help to build emerging anti-corruption institutions, but these same institutions have sometimes caused a Karzai backlash when they have targeted his allies or relatives. Effects of corruption burst into public view in August 2010 when the large Kabul Bank nearly collapsed due in part to losses on large loans to major shareholders, many of whom are close to Karzai. One of Karzai’s closest allies was his younger brother, Ahmad Wali Karzai, who essentially ran southern Afghanistan on the President’s behalf; his assassination on July 12, 2011 leaves a power vaccuum in the south and doubts about stability in the context of a U.S. troop drawdown that has begun in July 2011. Some in the 112
th Congress say they seek to link further U.S. aid to clearer progress on the corruption issue.

Karzai has often tolerated corruption and unaccountable governance to preserve the alliances that have always been key to Afghan stability; fluid alliances are a feature of Afghan politics long predating the 30-year period of war there. While trusting only his closest allies, most of whom are ethnic Pashtuns, Karzai has tried to satisfy leaders of other ethnic and political faction leaders. However, some leaders of these same ethnic groups oppose Karzai on the grounds that he has tried to use his office to manipulate Afghan institutions and election results to the advantage of him and his faction. Election-related disputes continue to cast uncertainty over the composition of the lower house of parliament. On the other hand, Karzai has tried to reassure his most suspicious critics who believe he wants to stay in office beyond the 2014 expiration of his second term, the limits under the constitution.

Broader issues of human rights often vary depending on the security environment in particular regions, although some trends prevail nationwide. The State Department human rights report for 2010 attributes many of the human rights abuses in Afghanistan to overall lack of security, traditional conservative attitudes that are widely prevalent, and the weakness of government control over outlying localities. Women have made substantial gains in government and the private sector since the fall of the Taliban but many organizations report substantial backsliding, particularly in areas where the insurgency operates. Traditional attitudes also continue to prevail, slowing of efforts to curb such practices as child marriages and contributing to court judgments against converts from Islam to Christianity and cleric-driven curbs on the sale of alcohol and Western-oriented programming in the burgeoning Afghan media. See also CRS Report RL30588, Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy, by Kenneth Katzman; CRS Report R40747, United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan: Background and Policy Issues, by Rhoda Margesson; and CRS Report R41484, Afghanistan: U.S. Rule of Law and Justice Sector Assistance, by Liana Sun Wyler and Kenneth Katzman.



Date of Report: July 13, 2011
Number of Pages: 60
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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

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.

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, http://www.aihrc.org.af/ 2010_eng/, and the Afghan Rights Monitor, http://www.arm.org.af/, 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: June 29, 2011
Number of Pages: 7
Order Number: R41084
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.

Tuesday, July 19, 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 (“Irbil Agreement”) for a new government, breaking the long deadlock. The agreement, under which Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki is serving a second term, began to be implemented with the selection and confirmation of a broad-based cabinet on December 21, 2010.

In recent months, the agreement has stalled and relations among major factions have frayed. 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 differences have created conditions under which the insurgency that hampered U.S. policy during 2004-2008 continues to succeed in conducting occasional high casualty attacks, and in which Shiite militias are conducting attacks on U.S. forces still in Iraq.

These splits also 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. The continuing high-profile attacks, coupled with deficiencies in Iraq’s 650,000 member security forces, cause U.S. officials to question Iraqi stability were the United States to withdraw completely as provided in the Security Agreement. There are also continuing U.S. concerns over Iranian influence over Iraq as U.S. forces depart, particularly given the activism of radical pro-Iranian Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. In several high-level visits and statements during 2011, senior U.S. officials have said that Iraq should request a continuing but likely sharply reduced presence of U.S. forces after 2011. However, an Iraqi decision on such a request is hampered by all the same political schisms discussed above, as well as the Sadr threats to rearm his followers if U.S. forces remain after 2011. 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.

The Administration is hopeful that, as a U.S. drawdown or complete withdrawal proceeds, all factions will cooperate to act on key outstanding legislation crucial to attracting foreign investment, such as national hydrocarbon laws. The new government took action on some longstalled 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.



Date of Report: July 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 40
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.