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Friday, January 27, 2012

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/ 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: January
18, 2012
Number of Pages:
7
Order Number: R4
1084
Price: $19.95

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy


Kenneth Katzman
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

Prior to the wave of unrest that has swept the Middle East in 2011, the United States had consistently praised Sultan Qaboos bin Sa’id Al Said for gradually opening the political process in the Sultanate of Oman, an initiative he began in the early 1980s without evident public pressure. The liberalization allowed Omanis a measure of representation but without significantly limiting Qaboos’ role as major decision maker. Some Omani human rights activists and civil society leaders, along with many younger Omanis, were always unsatisfied with the implicit and explicit limits to political rights and believed the democratization process had stagnated. This disappointment may have proved deeper and broader than experts believed when protests broke out in several Omani cities beginning in late February 2011, after the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Still, the generally positive Omani views of Qaboos, coupled with economic and minor additional political reform measures and repression of protest actions, put limits on the unrest and eventually caused it to subside. Record turnout in the October 15, 2011, elections for the lower house of Oman’s legislative body suggested the unrest produced a new sense of activism, although with public recognition that reform will continue to be gradual.

The stakes for the Administration and Congress in Oman’s stability are considerable. A long-time U.S. ally in the Persian Gulf, Oman has allowed U.S. access to its military facilities for virtually every U.S. military operation in and around the Gulf since 1980, despite the sensitivities in Oman about a U.S. military presence there. Oman is also a regular buyer of U.S. military equipment, moving away from its prior reliance on British military advice and equipment. Oman also has consistently supported U.S. efforts to achieve a Middle East peace by publicly endorsing peace treaties reached and by occasionally meeting with Israeli leaders in or outside Oman. It was partly in appreciation for this alliance that the United States entered into a free trade agreement (FTA) with Oman, which is also intended to help Oman diversify its economy to compensate for its relatively small reserves of crude oil.

Perhaps because of the extensive benefits the alliance with Oman provides to U.S. Persian Gulf policy, successive U.S. Administrations have tended not to criticize Oman’s relatively close relations with Iran. Oman has a tradition of cooperation with Iran dating back to the Shah of Iran’s regime, and Oman has always been less alarmed by the perceived threat from Iran than have the other Gulf states. Oman’s leaders view possible U.S. military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities as potentially more destabilizing to the region than is Iran’s nuclear program or Iran’s foreign policy that supports Shiite and some other hardline Islamist movements. In addition, Oman has played the role of broker between Iran and the United States, most recently in the September 2011 release of two U.S. hikers from Iran after two years in jail there. For further information on regional dynamics that affect Oman, see CRS Report RL32048, Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, by Kenneth Katzman.



Date of Report: January 1
3, 2012
Number of Pages:
20
Order Number: RS
21534
Price: $29.95

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Aid Conditions, Restrictions, and Reporting Requirements


Susan B. Epstein
Specialist in Foreign Policy

K. Alan Kronstadt
Specialist in South Asian Affairs


The 112th Congress continues to debate levels of U.S. assistance to Pakistan in light of signs that Pakistan may not be a fully willing and effective U.S. partner, and that official Pakistani elements continue to support Afghan insurgent forces. During a period of economic and budget crises in the United States, Obama Administration officials and some senior Members of Congress have voiced concerns about the efficacy of continuing the flow of billions of U.S. aid dollars into Pakistan, with some in Congress urging more stringent conditions on, or even curtailment of, such aid. At issue is whether Pakistan’s civilian government and security services are using the aid as intended domestically while actively supporting U.S. efforts to stabilize Afghanistan and combat regional insurgent and terrorist elements. Existing aid restrictions and the certification process required for greater accountability on the part of Pakistan are thus under scrutiny.

A number of current laws restrict or place conditions on certain aid to Pakistan, such as Economic Support Funds and the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF). Others require the President, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary of State to certify that Pakistan meets specific criteria to receive U.S. aid. Examples include that the implementing agency is qualified to manage the funds; that the Pakistani government has agreed to clear, achievable goals; that it is meeting human rights criteria; and that the country is making progress in achieving U.S. aid objectives, and is cooperating with the United States in combating terrorist networks and securing its nuclear weapons. In addition, reporting requirements include a quarterly report on the specific uses of PCF; an annual report on Pakistan’s cooperation regarding efforts to dismantle nuclear weaponsrelated supplier networks and combat terrorist groups; a report to explain certification of U.S. aid to Pakistan; and an annual report from the President confirming that providing aid to Pakistan is in the U.S. national interest and that Pakistan has made substantial efforts to adhere to international counternarcotics agreements. Waivers in current law exist: one allows aid restrictions to be waived for human health and welfare risks; three authorize waiving aid restrictions if the President determines that it is in U.S. national security interests to do so.

The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2012 (H.R. 1540), signed into law (P.L. 112-81) on December 31, 2011, includes provisions to withhold 60% of any FY2012 appropriations for PCF unless the Secretary of Defense reports to Congress a strategy for the use of such funds and the metrics for determining their effectiveness, and a strategy to enhance Pakistani efforts to counter improvised explosive devices. The State-Foreign Operations Appropriations law (Division I of P.L. 112-74), signed on December 23, 201l, requires other certifications.

Pending bills include measures that would totally eliminate aid to Pakistan “under any provision of law,” and provide no waivers or certification requirements; one that would eliminate all aid unless new certification regarding the Pakistani government’s knowledge of Osama bin Laden is provided; one that would eliminate all aid except for aid that would ensure the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons; and one that would prohibit all non-security aid. Increased reporting and certification requirements also are included in many of the bills currently before Congress.

This report provides a comprehensive list of existing laws and pending legislation containing conditions, limitations, and reporting requirements for U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan. It will track the debate on this topic and resulting changes. For a broader discussion of U.S. aid to Pakistan, see CRS Report R41856, Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance. For discussion of the current state of U.S.-Pakistan relations, see CRS Report R41832, Pakistan-U.S. Relations: A Summary.



Date of Report: January 5, 2012
Number of Pages: 18
Order Number: R42116
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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. During 2011, there was broad agreement that sanctions had not hurt Iran’s economy to the point at which the Iranian leadership feels pressured to accommodate core Western goals on Iran’s nuclear program. However, as 2012 begins, Iran is indicating it perceives new U.S. and other sanctions affecting its vital oil export lifeline as a severe threat - to the point where Iran might threaten armed conflict in the Strait of Hormuz. It also has offered new nuclear talks in the hopes of heading off some of the oil export- related sanctions under consideration. The energy sector provides nearly 70% of Iran’s government revenues.

The signs of effectiveness of sanctions mounted throughout 2011. The value of Iran’s rial has dropped dramatically over the past two years. Iranian leaders have admitted that Iran is virtually cut off from the international banking system. There have been a stream of announcements by major international firms since early 2010 that they are exiting or declining to undertake further work in the Iranian market, particularly the energy sector, taking with them often irreplaceable expertise. Partly as a result, Iran’s oil production has remained relatively steady at about 4.1 million barrels per day, defying Iranian efforts to increase production. Iran has small amounts of natural gas exports; it had none at all before Iran opened its fields to foreign investment in 1996. Even before the United States and several other countries moved to cut off Iran’s Central Bank in late 2011, several countries, particularly India, had delayed billions of dollars in oil payments for Iran because payments mechanisms had been disrupted by sanctions. However, Iran’s overall ability to limit the effects of sanctions has been aided by relatively high oil prices – prices that tend to increase as Iran threatens conflict in the Persian Gulf region.

What has caused sanctions to start to affect Iranian calculations has been the broadening of international support for and compliance with them. 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 the key energy and financial sectors of Iran. These 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 mandates U.S. penalties against foreign companies that invest in Iran’s energy sector. The application of that law was broadened by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA, P.L. 111-195) as well as by Executive Order 13590 issued November 21, 2011. The issuing of that Order was accompanied by a Treasury Department determination, under Section 311 of the USA Patriot Act, that the Iranian financial system constitutes an entity of primary money laundering concern. These measures have been joined by several other countries, who took into consideration an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s possible efforts to design a nuclear explosive device, and diplomatic and financial rifts with Britain, which caused the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran on November 30, 2011.

In the 112th Congress, legislation, such as S. 1048 and H.R. 1905, would enhance both the economic sanctions and human rights-related provisions of CISADA and other laws. A provision of the FY2012 defense authorization bill (H.R. 1540) sanctions foreign banks that do business with Iran’s Central Bank. 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: January 6, 2012
Number of Pages: 75
Order Number: RS20871
Price: $29.95

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations


Jeremy M. Sharp
Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs

This report provides an overview and analysis of U.S.-Yemeni relations amidst evolving political change in Yemeni leadership, ongoing U.S. counterterrorism operations against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives at large in Yemen’s hinterlands, and international efforts to bolster the country’s stability despite an array of daunting socio-economic problems. Congress and U.S. policymakers may be concerned with prospects for stabilizing Yemen and establishing strong bilateral relations with future Yemeni leaders.

On November 23, 2011, after eleven months of protests, violence, and uncertainty, President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen signed on to a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered transition plan that will, if adhered to, lead to his formal resignation from the presidency in February 2012. However, as described below, the GCC plan provides the President and his family with immunity from prosecution and does not exclude them from future participation in the political process, possibly leaving the door open for continued Saleh family rule.

Many Administration officials have declared that AQAP, the Yemeni-based terrorist organization that has attempted on several occasions to attack the U.S. homeland, is the most lethal of the Al Qaeda affiliates. In recent years, the Administration and Congress have supported an increased U.S. commitment of resources to counterterrorism and stabilization efforts there. Many analysts assert that Yemen is becoming a failed state and safe haven for Al Qaeda operatives and as such should be considered an active theater for U.S. counterterrorism operations. Given Yemen’s contentious political climate and its myriad development challenges, most long-time Yemen watchers suggest that security problems emanating from Yemen may persist in spite of increased U.S. or international efforts to combat them.

For FY2012, the Obama Administration requested $120.16 million in State Department- Administered foreign aid to Yemen. Section 7041 of H.R. 2055, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012, states that “None of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for the Armed Forces of Yemen if such forces are controlled by a foreign terrorist organization, as defined by section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The bill does not specify exact funding levels for Yemen. S. 1601, the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2012, would have provided (if passed) $115 million in total aid for Yemen which is $5.16 million below the President’s request.



Date of Report: December 2
8, 2011
Number of Pages:
20
Order Number: RL3
4170
Price: $29.95

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