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- Hamas: Background and Issues for Congress
- Hamas, or the Islamic Resistance Movement, is a Palestinian Islamist military and sociopolitical movement that grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni religious and political organization founded in Egypt in 1928 that has branches throughout the world. The United States, Israel, the European Union, and Canada consider Hamas a terrorist organization. The overarching U.S. goal regarding Hamas is to deter, transform, marginalize, or neutralize it so that it no longer presents a threat to Israel's security, to a peaceful and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or to other U.S. interests. This report discusses U.S. efforts and policy debates on these issues.
- Syria: Issues for the 112th Congress and Background on U.S. Sanctions
- This report analyzes bilateral issues between the United States and Syria. Unrest in Syria and the Asad government's violent response are adding new complexity to the troubled U.S.-Syrian relationship. The Obama Administration's policy of limited engagement with Syria to address areas of long-standing concern has been met with criticism from some, including some Members of Congress. Critics believe that the Administration should apply further pressure to the Syrian government and consider implementing harsher economic sanctions against it. The use of violence against Syrian protestors has been accompanied by calls for new U.S. sanctions but also some expression of concern by experts that political unrest in Syria could evolve into a broader civil conflict that in turn could destabilize Syria's neighbors.