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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Iraq: Map Sources


Hannah Fischer
Information Research Specialist

This report identifies online sources for maps of Iraq, including government, library, and organizational websites. These sources have been selected on the basis of their authoritativeness and the range, quality, and uniqueness of the maps they provide. Some sources provide up-to-theminute maps; others have been selected for their collection of historical maps. Maps of Iraq, the Middle East, significant security incidents in Iraq, and refugees returning to Iraq have been provided.


Date of Report: August
15, 2011
Number of Pages:
9
Order Number: R
S21396
Price: $19.95

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Egypt in Transition


Jeremy M. Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak resigned from the presidency after 29 years in power. For 18 days, a popular peaceful uprising spread across Egypt and ultimately forced Mubarak to cede power to the military. How Egypt transitions to a more democratic system in the months ahead will have major implications for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and for other countries in the region ruled by monarchs and dictators.

This report provides a brief overview of the transition underway and information on U.S. foreign aid to Egypt. U.S. policy toward Egypt has long been framed as an investment in regional stability, built primarily on long-running military cooperation and sustaining the March 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. Successive U.S. Administrations have viewed Egypt’s government as a moderating influence in the Middle East. U.S. policy makers are now grappling with complex questions about the future of U.S.-Egypt relations, and these debates are likely to influence consideration of appropriations and authorization legislation in the 112th Congress. The United States has provided Egypt with an annual average of $2 billion in economic and military foreign assistance since 1979. For FY2012, the Obama Administration has requested $1.551 billion in total aid to Egypt.

On July 27, 2011, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs marked up its FY2012 State-Foreign Operations appropriation, proposing that Egypt receive the full FY2012 request ($1.551 billion), including $1.3 billion in military aid and that military aid should also be used for “border security programs and activities in the Sinai, with the expectation that the Egyptian military will continue to adhere to and implement its international obligations, particularly the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.” Section 7042 of the draft bill also provides up to $250 million in economic assistance to Egypt though it specifies these funds are not available until the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Egypt is not controlled by a foreign terrorist organization or its affiliates or supporters, is implementing the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, and is taking steps to detect and destroy the smuggling network and tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza strip. The bill further states that no U.S. economic assistance in the bill may be used to “reduce, reschedule, or forgive the debt of the Government of Egypt to the United States Government unless authorized for such purposes.”



Date of Report: August 23, 2011
Number of Pages: 25
Order Number: RL33003
Price: $29.95

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


Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Stated U.S. policy is to ensure that Afghanistan will not again become a base for terrorist attacks against the United States. Following policy reviews in 2009, the Obama Administration asserted that it was pursuing a well-resourced and integrated military-civilian strategy intended to pave the way for a gradual transition to Afghan leadership that will begin in July 2011 and be completed by the end of 2014. To carry out U.S. policy, a total of 51,000 additional U.S. forces were authorized by the two 2009 reviews, bringing U.S. troop numbers to a high of about 99,000, with partner forces adding about 42,000. On June 22, 2011, President Obama announced that the policy had accomplished most major U.S. goals and that a drawdown of 33,000 U.S. troops would take place by September 2012. The first 10,000 of these are to be withdrawn by the end of 2011 in concert with the July 2011 start of a long-planned transition to Afghan security leadership. That transition has begun in the first wave of areas, four cities and three full provinces, and some U.S. troops have been withdrawn. Amid widespread doubts that Afghan governance and security institutions will be strong enough to protect themselves by the end of 2014, U.S. and Afghan officials are negotiating a “strategic partnership” that would guide the long term relationship, although differences over U.S. latitude to conduct operations is slowing completion. The start of the transition coincides with the turnover of the top U.S. and NATO command from General Petraeus to Lt. Gen. John Allen on July 18, and the arrival of Ryan Crocker as Ambassador to Afghanistan on July 25.

The death of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid on May 1, 2011, has caused some to argue that overarching U.S. goals will not be jeopardized by the drawdown. However, Al Qaeda has had a minimal presence on the Afghanistan battlefield itself since 2001, and the official U.S. military view is that security gains achieved against mostly Taliban and affiliated Afghan insurgent groups in 2010 remain “fragile and reversible.” Some believe that a negotiated settlement to the Afghanistan conflict has become more likely in the aftermath of bin Laden’s death, and some preliminary talks with Taliban figures, led by the State Department, have begun. There are major concerns among Afghanistan’s minorities and among its women that reconciliation might produce compromises that erode the freedoms enjoyed since 2001. Some strategists doubt that Afghanistan can be rendered permanently stable unless Afghan militants are denied safe haven in Pakistan. Others believe that all of Afghanistan’s neighbors, including Iran, should cease using Afghanistan to promote their own interests and instead help Afghanistan reemerge as a major regional trade route.

Others believe that the crucial variable is the quality and extent of Afghan governance. In particular, President Hamid Karzai’s failure to forcefully confront governmental corruption has caused a loss of Afghan support for his government. However, the Administration view is that governance is expanding and improving slowly. U.S. officials also hope to draw on Afghanistan’s vast mineral resources to promote long term growth—several major mining, agricultural, and even energy development programs, mostly funded by private investment have begun in the past few years, with more in various stages of consideration.

Much of the development to date has been accomplished with foreign, particularly U.S., help, although donor aid is likely to decline as the transition proceeds. Through the end of FY2011, the United States has provided over $67 billion in assistance to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, of which about $30 billion has been to equip and train Afghan forces. During FY2001- FY2011, the Afghan intervention has cost about $443 billion, including all costs. For FY2012, about $17 billion in aid (including train and equip) is requested, in addition to about $100 billion for U.S. military operations there. (See CRS Report RS21922, Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance, by Kenneth Katzman.)



Date of Report: August 22, 2011
Number of Pages: 100
Order Number: RL30588
Price: $29.95

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Friday, August 26, 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. This report will be updated.

This report updates a previous version published July 20, 2011.



Date of Report: August 8, 2011
Number of Pages:
30
Order Number: RL3
4248
Price: $29.95

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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. As of mid-2011, U.S. officials are increasingly critical of what they say is stepped-up Iranian support for Iraqi Shiite militias that have attacked U.S. forces, who are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

To try to address the threat from Iran, the Obama Administration offered Iran’s leaders consistent and sustained engagement with the potential for closer integration with and acceptance by the West in exchange for limits to its nuclear program. However, after observing a crackdown on peaceful protests in Iran in 2009, and failing to obtain Iran’s agreement to implement an October 2009 tentative nuclear compromise, the Administration 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).

Perhaps hoping to avoid additional sanctions, Iran attended December 6-7, 2010, talks in Geneva with the six powers negotiating with Iran. However, indicating that Iran had not fundamentally altered its position, no substantive progress was reported at that or at subsequent talks in Turkey on January 21-22, 2011. 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. Some in and outside the 112th Congress hold out no hope for further talks and believe that U.S. and international economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran should increase. Additional sanctions, according to this view, might yet succeed in forcing a change of Iran’s nuclear policy, and help widen an increasingly open power struggle between Iran’s Supreme Leader and its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Administration has stepped up arms sales to regional states that share the U.S. suspicions of Iran’s intentions, but there does not appear to be consideration of U.S., Israeli, or Persian Gulf military action against Iran.

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 112th Congress believe the United States should do more to support the democracy movement in Iran in the context of the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, but there are no indications the Administration plans to provide Iran’s opposition 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. For further information, see CRS Report RS20871, Iran Sanctions; and CRS Report RL34544, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status.



Date of Report: August 8, 2011
Number of Pages: 75
Order Number: RL32048
Price: $29.95

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