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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance


Susan B. Epstein
Specialist in Foreign Policy

K. Alan Kronstadt
Specialist in South Asian Affairs


The 112th Congress is focused on cost-cutting measures to reduce the budget deficit. How it deals with the second-ranking U.S. aid recipient, Pakistan—which is important to U.S. national security interests but that some say lacks accountability—will be key.

Pakistan has been among the leading recipients of U.S. foreign assistance both historically and in FY2010, and most experts list the country among the most strategically important for U.S. policy makers. Recent major developments—including the killing of Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in Pakistan—have put strains on bilateral relations, making uncertain the future direction of U.S. aid to Pakistan. For many lawmakers, the issue will be how to balance considerations about Pakistan’s strategic importance to the United States with the pervasive and mounting distrust in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship and with budget deficit-reduction pressures.

U.S. assistance to Pakistan has fluctuated considerably over the past 60 years. In the wake of 9/11, however, aid to Pakistan has continually risen as the Bush and Obama Administrations have characterized Pakistan as a U.S. partner in the Afghanistan war, in the fight against terrorism, and in efforts to stabilize the region. Since 1948, the United States has pledged more than $30 billion in direct aid, about half for military assistance. Two-thirds of this total was appropriated in the post-9/11 era from FY2002 to FY2010. Some question the gains from the aid, saying there is a lack of accountability and reform by the Pakistani government, and any goodwill generated by it is offset by widespread anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani people.

In September 2009, Congress passed the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (EPPA, also known as the “Kerry-Lugar-Berman” or “KLB” bill for its main sponsors). This became P.L. 111-73 and authorizes the President to provide $1.5 billion in annual bilateral economic aid to Pakistan from FY2010 through FY2014. The law requires certification for release of securityrelated aid; such conditionality is an ongoing and contentious issue. Also in 2009, Congress established two new funds—the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF) within the Defense Department appropriations and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF) within the State-Foreign Operations Appropriations—to build Pakistan’s counterinsurgency capabilities.

Within the FY2010 supplemental appropriations (P.L. 111-212), Congress provided $349 million in military and economic assistance to Pakistan, $5 million more than the Administration’s request. When “coalition support fund” military reimbursements are included, the United States provided a total of $4.5 billion for Pakistan for FY2010 alone, making it the second-highest recipient after Afghanistan. In addition to these ongoing programs, in mid-2010 the United States pledged an additional $592 million in emergency and recovery aid, plus more than $95 million of in-kind aid after extensive flooding resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis that affected an estimated 20 million Pakistanis. In October 2010, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the Administration’s intention to increase U.S. Foreign Military Financing for Pakistan to $2 billion over a five-year period, a $100 million annual increase from the current level. This would have to go through the congressional appropriation and authorization process.

This report will be updated as congressional actions on aid to Pakistan unfold in the 112th Congress. For broader discussion of U.S.-Pakistan relations, see CRS Report R41307, Pakistan: Key Current Issues and Developments, and CRS Report R41832, Pakistan-U.S. Relations: A Summary.



Date of Report: November 4, 2011
Number of Pages: 45
Order Number: R41856
Price: $29.95

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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 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: November 1
6, 2011
Number of Pages:
7
Order Number: R4
1084
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Monday, November 28, 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. In the wake of Mubarak’s resignation, a Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)—made up entirely of military officers who enjoyed leading positions under Mubarak—has exercised executive authority directly and via an interim cabinet led by Prime Minister Essam Sharaf. The SCAF oversaw a March 2011 referendum that approved amendments to Egypt’s constitution, issued a constitutional declaration, and has also issued new laws on the formation of political parties and the conduct of upcoming parliamentary elections. The amended constitution lays out a transition framework in which the elected People’s Assembly and Shura Council will, in conjunction with the SCAF, select members for a 100-person constituent assembly to draft a new constitution subject to a referendum in 2012 or 2013.

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 September 22, 2011, the Senate Committee on Appropriations marked up S. 1601, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012. The bill provides the full FY2012 $1.55 billion request for Egypt, but it does include some conditions. The bill authorizes FMF grants to be transferred to ESF. It also states that no funds in the bill may be provided to Egypt unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that such government is meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty and that that the Government of Egypt has held free and fair elections and is implementing policies to protect the rights of journalists, due process, and freedoms of expression and association. S. 1601 also authorizes bilateral debt relief for Egypt and up to $60 million in ESF for Egypt to create an Enterprise Fund to support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).



Date of Report: November 18, 2011
Number of Pages: 24
Order Number: RL33004
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

The Obama Administration identifies Iran as a major threat to U.S. national security interests. This perception is generated by uncertainty about Iran’s intentions for its nuclear program (heightened by a November 8, 2011, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report) as well as by Iran’s support for groups the United States considers terrorist organizations and its materiel assistance to anti-U.S. militant groups in Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. officials also accuse Iran of helping Syria’s leadership try to defeat a growing popular opposition movement, and of taking advantage of Shiite majority unrest against the Sunni-led, pro-U.S. government of Bahrain. In October 2011, U.S. officials accused Iran in October 2011 of plotting to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

The Obama Administration initially 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. After observing a crackdown on peaceful protests in Iran in 2009, and failing to obtain Iran’s agreement to implement any nuclear compromise, the Administration has worked since early 2010 to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran. Significant additional 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. Further measures intended 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). In concert, the Administration has stepped up arms sales to regional states that share the U.S. suspicions of Iran’s intentions.

Perhaps hoping to avoid additional sanctions, Iran attended December 2010 and January 2011 talks with the six powers negotiating with Iran, but no substantive progress was reported at any of these meetings. The prospects for new talks have increased since August 2011 as a result of Iran- Russia discussions of new formulas for compromise, supplemented by Iranian official statements suggesting potential acceptance of some widely discussed international proposals. However, no date for new talks has been announced, and the November 2011 IAEA report has led to an Administration push for additional multilateral sanctions as well as agitation in Israel that leads some observers to perceive that Israel could take unilateral military action against Iran.

In 2011, in the context of the popular uprisings throughout the Middle East, and perhaps addressing criticism that it did not sufficiently support the popular uprising in Iran in 2009, the Administration has increased its public criticism of Iran’s human rights record. Some in the 112th Congress, aside from supporting additional economic sanctions against Iran, believe the United States should provide additional vocal and material support to the democracy movement in Iran, despite its outward quiescence in most of 2011. The Administration argues that it has supported the opposition through civil society and other programs, and by using recent authorities to sanction Iranian officials who suppress human rights in Iran and help Syria repress human rights. For further information, including pending Iran sanctions legislation, see CRS Report RS20871, Iran Sanctions; and CRS Report RL34544, Iran’s Nuclear Program: Status.



Date of Report: November 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 79
Order Number: RL32048
Price: $29.95

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians

Jim Zanotti
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Since the establishment of limited Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed over $4 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians, who are among the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid. Successive Administrations have requested aid for the Palestinians to support at least three major U.S. policy priorities of interest to Congress: 
          Combating, neutralizing, and preventing terrorism against Israel from the Islamist group Hamas and other militant organizations. 
          Creating a virtuous cycle of stability and prosperity in the West Bank that inclines Palestinians—including those in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip— toward peaceful coexistence with Israel and prepares them for self-governance. 
          Meeting humanitarian needs and preventing further destabilization, particularly in the Gaza Strip. 
Since June 2007, these U.S. policy priorities have crystallized around the factional and geographical split between the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Some U.S. lawmakers have taken action since August 2011 to delay the obligation of some already-appropriated FY2011 U.S. aid to the Palestinians, largely due to Palestinian efforts to seek greater international support of Palestinian statehood outside of negotiations with Israel. Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas submitted an application for Palestinian state membership in the United Nations on September 23, 2011, and the Security Council is expected to vote on the matter in the fall of 2011.

Additionally, a May 2011 agreement between Fatah and Hamas has raised concerns among some Members of Congress about continuing U.S. budgetary and security assistance to a PA government that could be subject to the approval of a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (Hamas) that claims to reserve the right to violently oppose Israel’s existence. Prospects for implementation of the agreement remain unclear.

From FY2008 to the present, annual U.S. bilateral assistance to the West Bank and Gaza Strip has averaged over $600 million, including annual averages of over $200 million in direct budgetary assistance and over $100 million in non-lethal security assistance for the PA in the West Bank. Additionally, the United States is the largest single-state donor to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). However, whether UNRWA’s role is beneficial remains a polarizing question, particularly with respect to its presence in Hamascontrolled Gaza.

Because of congressional concerns that, among other things, funds might be diverted to Palestinian terrorist groups, U.S. aid is subject to a host of vetting and oversight requirements and legislative restrictions. U.S. assistance to the Palestinians is given alongside assistance from other international donors, and U.S. policymakers routinely call for greater or more timely assistance from Arab governments in line with their pledges. Even if the immediate objectives of U.S. assistance programs for the Palestinians are met, lack of progress toward a politically legitimate and peaceful two-state solution could undermine the utility of U.S. aid in helping the Palestinians become more cohesive, stable, and self-reliant over the long term.



Date of Report: November 9, 2011
Number of Pages: 2
8
Order Number: R
S22967
Price: $29.95

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