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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
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International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
This report provides background on the International Criminal Court (ICC) and its investigations in Africa, with an overview of cases currently before the Court. The report also examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the potential deterrence of future abuses and the potential impact on African peace processes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491334/
Terrorist Material Support: A Sketch of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B
This report discusses the two federal material support statutes that have been at the heart of the Justice Department's terrorist prosecution efforts. One provision outlaws providing material support for the commission of certain designated offenses that might be committed by terrorists, 18 U.S.C. 2339A. The other outlaws providing material support to certain designated terrorist organizations, 18 U.S.C. 2339B. They share a common definition of the term "material support," some aspects of which have recently come under constitutional attack. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491428/
Terrorist Material Support: An Overview of 18 U.S.C. 2339A and 2339B
This report discusses the two federal material support statutes that have been at the heart of the Justice Department's terrorist prosecution efforts. One provision outlaws providing material support for the commission of certain designated offenses that might be committed by terrorists, 18 U.S.C. 2339A. The other outlaws providing material support to certain designated terrorist organizations, 18 U.S.C. 2339B. They share a common definition of the term "material support," some aspects of which have recently come under constitutional attack. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490979/
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses in brief the current political state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the crisis situation in eastern Congo that has displaced more than 250,000 civilians. It also describes U.S., U.N., and other international efforts to aid in resolving the crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462649/
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. The report also discusses ways which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462171/
Tanzania: Background and Current Conditions
This report discusses the current political climate in Tanzania, an important U.S. ally in Africa. The report also provides some general background information. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491003/
Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol
This report includes some issues for Congress to consider which include the slow rate of integration between the United States Border Patrol's (USBP) biometric database of illegal aliens and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) biometric database of criminals and terrorists; the number of unauthorized aliens who die attempting to enter the country each year; the organized human smuggling rings that have proliferated as entering the country has become more difficult; and the threat posed by terrorists along the sparsely defended Northern border as well as the more porous Southwest border. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491191/
Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights and State Sovereign Immunity
This report discusses the Eleventh Amendment and the concept of state sovereign immunity. Although the amendment appears to be focused on preventing suits against a state by non-residents in federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court has expanded the concept of state sovereign immunity to reach much further than the literal text of the amendment, to include immunity from suits by the states' own citizens and immunity from suits under federal law within a state's own court system. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491543/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491632/
United Nations Reform: U.S. Policy and International Perspectives
This report focuses on U.N. reform efforts and priorities from the perspective of several key actors, including the U.S. government, the U.N. Secretary-General, selected groups of member states, and a cross-section of groups tasked with addressing U.N. reform. It also examines congressional actions related to U.N. reform, as well as future policy considerations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491296/
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress
This report focuses on international and domestic human trafficking and U.S. policy responses, with particular emphasis on the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and its subsequent reauthorizations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490954/
Intelligence Issues for Congress
This report discusses the efforts currently underway to improve coordination and encourage better analysis amongst the various agencies within the U.S. Intelligence Community, especially with regard to the ongoing and prominent issue of international terrorism. In particular, this report addresses the false intelligence regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and the current efforts in Iraq and Iran in general. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491308/
U.S.-Vietnam Relations in 2010: Current Issues and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report looks at issues that impact the relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam such as: goals and interests by both countries in a bilateral relationship, economic and trade issues, human rights, U.S. foreign assistance to Vietnam, and recent Vietnamese political events. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491167/
United Nations System Funding: Congressional Issues
This report tracks the process by which Congress provides the funding for U.S. assessed contributions to the regular budgets of the United Nations, its agencies, and U.N. peacekeeping operation accounts, as well as for U.S. voluntary contributions to U.N. system programs and funds. It includes information on the President's request and the congressional response, as well as congressional initiatives during this legislative process. Basic information is provided to help the reader understand this process. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491029/
Border Security: The Role of the U.S. Border Patrol
This report discusses the United States Border Patrol's history as our nation's first line of defense against unauthorized migration. Today, the USBP's primary mission is to detect and prevent the entry of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction, and illegal aliens into the country, and to interdict drug smugglers and other criminals along the border. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 dissolved the Immigration and Naturalization Service and placed the USBP within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490952/
United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress
A major issue facing the United Nations, the United States, and the 111th Congress is the extent to which the United Nations has the capacity to restore or keep the peace in the changing world environment. Associated with this issue is the expressed need for a reliable source of funding and other resources for peacekeeping and improved efficiencies of operation. This report serves as a tracking report for action by Congress on United Nations peacekeeping. Funding and provisioning issues are examined. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491247/
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2011 Budget and Appropriations
This report analyzes the FY2011 request, recent-year funding trends, and congressional action related to FY2011 State-Foreign Operations legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc490912/
Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses
This report discusses the reasons that Iran is considered a threat to U.S. security, including Iran's nuclear program, involvement with terrorist organizations, and involvement with neighboring countries' local governments. The report also discusses ways which the U.S. hopes to modify Iran's behavior with sanctions, and the effectiveness of these sanctions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc462153/
Samantar v. Yousef: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Foreign Officials
On June 1, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in Samantar v. Yousef that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which governs the immunity of foreign states in U.S. courts, does not apply in suits against foreign officials. This report provides an overview of the FSIA, followed by a consideration of the remaining options for foreign officials who seek immunity from lawsuits, as well as some of the questions that may emerge from each option. The report also addresses legislation that would affect the immunity of foreign officials, including S. 2930. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491079/
Southwest Border Violence: Issues in Identifying and Measuring Spillover Violence
This report focuses on how policy makers would identify any spillover of drug trafficking-related violence into the United States. This report provides an overview of Mexican drug trafficking organization structures, how they conduct business, and the relationship between the drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and their partnerships operating here in the United States; a discussion of the illicit drug trade between Mexico and the United States, as well as a discussion of factors implicated in drug trafficking-related violence; an analysis of the possible nature of any spillover violence that may arise, as well as issues involved in accurately identifying and measuring such violence; and an evaluation of available crime rate data and a discussion of how this data may or may not reflect changes in drug trafficking-related crime. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491460/
Pending U.S. and EU Free Trade Agreements with South Korea: Possible Implications for Automobile and Other Manufacturing Industries
This report provides U.S. lawmakers with a comparison of the manufacturing components in the South Korea free trade agreement (KORUS) and the European Union and South Korea free trade agreement (KOREU FTA). Also included is a brief overview of the possible implications of the two pending FTAs on other selected industrial sectors affected by the FTAs: home appliances, consumer electronics, textiles and apparel, and pharmaceuticals and medical devices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491026/
The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11
In the ninth year of operations since the 9/11 attacks while troops are being withdrawn in Iraq and increased in Afghanistan, the cost of war continues to be a major issue including the total amount appropriated, the amount for each operation, average monthly spending rates, and the scope and duration of future costs. This report analyzes war funding for the Defense Department and tracks funding for USAID and VA Medical funding. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491319/
U.S. Initiatives to Promote Global Internet Freedom: Issues, Policy, and Technology
This report provides information regarding the role of U.S. and other foreign companies in facilitating Internet censorship by repressive regimes overseas. The report is divided into several sections: Examination of repressive policies in China and Iran, Relevant U.S. laws, U.S. policies to promote Internet freedom, Private sector initiatives, and Congressional action. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491379/
Why Certain Trade Agreements Are Approved as Congressional-Executive Agreements Rather Than as Treaties
U.S. trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), World Trade Organization agreements, and bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) have been approved by majority vote of each house rather than by two-thirds vote of the Senate - that is, they have been treated as congressional-executive agreements rather than as treaties. The congressional-executive agreement has been the vehicle for implementing Congress's long-standing policy of seeking trade benefits for the United States through reciprocal trade negotiations. This report discusses this topic in brief. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29527/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc491286/
U.S.-Russian Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement: Issues for Congress
The United States and Russia signed a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement on May 6, 2008. President Bush submitted the agreement to Congress on May 13. This report discusses key policy issues related to that agreement, including future nuclear energy cooperation with Russia, U.S.-Russian bilateral relations, nonproliferation cooperation and Russia's policies toward Iran. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29715/
American Jihadist Terrorism: Combating a Complex Threat
Between May 2009 and August 2010, arrests were made for 19 "homegrown," jihadist-inspired terrorist plots by American citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. The apparent spike in such activity after May 2009 suggests that at least some Americans - even if a tiny minority - continue to be susceptible to ideologies supporting a violent form of jihad. This report describes homegrown violent jihadists and the plots and attacks that have occurred since 9/11. This report also provides official definitions for terms such as "homegrown," "jihadist," and "violent jihadist." The report also discusses the radicalization process and the forces driving violent extremist activity. It analyzes post-9/11 domestic jihadist terrorism, describes law enforcement and intelligence efforts to combat terrorism and the challenges associated with those efforts. It also outlines actions underway to build trust and partnership between community groups and government agencies and the tensions that may occur between law enforcement and engagement activities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31371/
The Millennium Development Goals: The September 2010 U.N. High-level Meeting
This report discusses overarching trends in Millennium Development Goals (MDG) progress and lessons learned from previous and ongoing efforts to achieve them. The MDGs are a group of measurable development targets agreed to by 189 U.N. member states - including the United States - as part of the 2000 Millennium Declaration. The MDGs cover a number of issues, such as eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, combating HIV/AIDS, and promoting gender equality and women's empowerment. This report examines U.S. policy toward the MDGs and how, if at all, the Goals fit into U.S. development and foreign assistance policy. It also examines different schools of thought regarding the effectiveness of the Goals, their role in international development, and their long-term sustainability. This report addresses the MDGs as a whole; it does not assess or analyze issues pertaining to the individual Goals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29607/
Samantar v. Yousef: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Foreign Officials
On June 1, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court decided unanimously in Samantar v. Yousef that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), which governs the immunity of foreign states in U.S. courts, does not apply in suits against foreign officials. This report provides an overview of the FSIA, followed by a consideration of the remaining options for foreign officials who seek immunity from lawsuits, as well as some of the questions that may emerge from each option. The report also addresses legislation that would affect the immunity of foreign officials, including S. 2930. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31366/
North Korea: Legislative Basis for U.S. Economic Sanctions
This report discusses the economic sanctions the United States imposes on North Korea for activities related to weapons proliferation, destabilizing the region, anti-terrorism, and undemocratic governance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29611/
The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq
The Kurdish-inhabited region of northern Iraq is relatively peaceful and prospering economically, but the Iraqi Kurds' political autonomy and political strength in post- Saddam Iraq is causing friction with Arab leaders in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. However, an overall reduction in violence in Iraq, coupled with continued U.S. political influence over the Kurds, is likely to prevent a destabilizing escalation of the Iraqi Kurd-Arab disputes. Also see CRS Report RL31339, Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security, by Kenneth Katzman. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29740/
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs: FY2011 Budget and Appropriations
This report analyzes the FY2011 request, recent-year funding trends, and congressional action related to FY2011 State-Foreign Operations legislation. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29590/
Uganda: Current Conditions and the Crisis in North Uganda
This report discusses the current political conditions of Uganda, which have long been ravaged by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), an armed rebel group backed by the government of Sudan. In particular, the report focuses on largely unsuccessful Ugandan efforts to resolve the conflict with the LRA, as well as talks with the U.S. under the Bush Administration and the recent suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda, in July 2010. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29681/
Iran Sanctions
There appears to be a growing international consensus to adopt progressively strict economic sanctions against Iran to try to compel it to compromise on its further nuclear development. The U.S. view - increasingly shared by major allies-is that sanctions should target Iran's energy sector, which provides about 80% of government revenues, and try to isolate Iran from the international financial system. U.S. efforts to curb international energy investment in Iran's energy sector began in 1996 with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). ISA has been expanded significantly in 2010. This report discusses said expansions, provides background on the ISA, and explores how this Act has affected digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29729/
The Democratic Republic of Congo: Background and Current Developments
This report discusses in brief the current political state of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as the crisis situation in eastern Congo that has displaced more than 250,000 civilians. It also describes U.S., U.N., and other international efforts to aid in resolving the crisis. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31325/
Hezbollah: Background and Issues for Congress
This report discusses Lebanon's Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamist militia, political party, social welfare organization, and U.S. State Department-designated terrorist organization. The report discusses recent Hezbollah-related conflicts, Hezbollah's relationship with other Lebanese political parties, and U.S. policy regarding Hezbollah. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31384/
Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement
Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for four decades, resulting in catastrophic civilian casualties and displacements. This report discusses the history of Sudan's civil unrest and the subsequent crisis in Darfur, as well as United Nations and United States aid and peacekeeping efforts and current related policy under the Obama Administration. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29677/
Proliferation Control Regimes: Background and Status
This report provides background and current status information on multilateral regimes established to restrict trade in nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and missile technologies, and to monitor their civil applications. Congress may consider the efficacy of these regimes in considering the potential renewal of the Export Administration Act, as well as other proliferation-specific legislation in the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29644/
Piracy: A Legal Definition
Pirate attacks in the waters off the Horn of Africa, including those on U.S.-flagged vessels, have brought continued U.S. and international attention to the long-standing problem of piracy in the region. A recent development in one of the piracy trials in Norfolk, VA, has highlighted a potential limitation in the definition of piracy under the United States Code. This report first examines the historical development of the offense of piracy, as defined by Congress and codified in the United States Code. The focus then turns to how contemporary international agreements define piracy. Finally, the report highlights a recent federal district court ruling that the offense of piracy under 18 U.S.C. § 1651 requires a robbery at sea. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29617/
Latin America: Terrorism Issues
Since the September 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, U.S. attention to terrorism in Latin America has intensified, with an increase in bilateral and regional cooperation. This report discusses the issue in relation to the U.S. State Department's April 2009 Country Report on Terrorism; Colombian President Hugo Chávez's sympathies with terrorist groups and lack of cooperation on antiterrorism efforts; growing U.S. concern over activities of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas in the tri-border area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay; and various legislative initiatives related to Latin American terrorism issues being considered by the 111th Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29730/
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
This report discusses the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), a free trade agreement that includes nations on both sides of the Pacific. Original members of the TPP were Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore. The United States, Australia, Peru, and Vietnam have committed themselves to joining and expanding this group. This report discusses similar trade partnerships, the importance of Asia to U.S. trade and security interests, and U.S. participation in the TPP. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29567/
Dispute Settlement in the World Trade Organization (WTO): An Overview
This report describes the Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes (DSU), which is the World Trade Organization's (WTO) means of resolving disputes arising under WTO agreements. The report includes criticisms of certain flaws in the DSU, as well as WTO Members' suggestions for improvement. The report also describes the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which represents the United States in WTO disputes. Also discussed are pieces of legislation that dictate procedures for specifically the United States in instances of WTO disputes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29721/
European Union Enlargement: A Status Report on Turkey's Accession Negotiations
This report provides a brief overview of the European Union's (EU) accession process; Turkey's path to EU membership; the impact of the Cyprus problem; and a review of the United States' interest in Turkey's future in the European Union. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc31455/
Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and the Role of Congress in Trade Policy
This report presents background and analysis on the development of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which expired on July 1, 2007. The report also includes a summary of the major provisions under the recently expired authority and a discussion of the issues that have arisen in the debate over TPA renewal. It also explores the policy options available to Congress and will be updated as the congressional debate unfolds. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29683/
The European Parliament
The European Parliament (EP) is one of the three key institutions of the European Union (EU), and the only EU institution whose members are directly elected. This report discusses the construction and history of the EP, its role in functions of the EU as well as internationally, various international supports and criticisms of the EP, and the EP's ties with the U.S. Congress. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29739/
Iran Sanctions
This report focuses on the United States' relationship with Iran and how the Obama Administration is handling prior administration's economic sanctions against Iran. The Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to an active and direct U.S. effort to negotiate with Iran on the nuclear issue. That approach was not initially altered because of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, with subsequent negotiations yielding no firm Iranian agreement to compromise, since early 2010 the Administration has focused on achieving the imposition of additional U.N., U.S., and allied country sanctions whose cumulative effect would be to compel it to accept a nuclear bargain. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29728/
U.S.-Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues, and Implications
This report provides an overview of U.S.-Mexico trade and economic trends, the Mexican economy, the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and major trade issues between the United States and Mexico. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29659/
The Proposed U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA): Provisions and Implications
This report is designed to assist Members of Congress as they consider the costs and benefits of the U.S.-South Korean Free Trade Agreement (KORUS FTA.) It examines the provisions of the KORUS FTA in the context of the overall U.S.-South Korean economic relationship, U.S. objectives, and South Korean objectives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29703/
The U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW): Issues in the U.S. Ratification Debate
The Senate may consider providing its advice and consent to U.S. ratification of the United Nations (U.N.) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, or the Convention) during the 112th Congress. CEDAW is the only international human rights treaty that specifically addresses the rights of women. This report provides an overview of CEDAW's background, objectives, and structure, including the role of the Convention's monitoring body, the CEDAW Committee. It examines U.S. policy and issues in the U.S. ratification debate, including the Convention's possible impact on U.S. sovereignty, its effectiveness in combating discrimination, and its role as an instrument of U.S. foreign policy. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29572/
International Climate Change: A Negotiations Side-by-Side
This report discusses various cooperative international efforts to address the issue of global climate change. The two major international agreements discussed in a side-by-side comparison are the 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the 2010 Copenhagen Accord. The report discusses how many observers are hoping that initiatives carried out under the Copenhagen Accord may help bridge divides between the various tracks and economic groupings established under the Kyoto Protocol. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29635/