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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance

Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance

Date: October 11, 2011
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan government. This report also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai, to address corruption within the Afghan government. The report also includes discussion of election fraud and corruption in Afghanistan.
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Tajikistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Tajikistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests

Date: February 10, 2011
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Description: Tajikistan is a significant country in Central Asia by virtue of its geographic location bordering China and Afghanistan and its ample water and other resources, but it faces ethnic and clan schisms, deep poverty, poor governance, and other severe challenges. The country continues to face problems of political integration, perhaps evidenced in part by recent violence in eastern Tajikistan. The country also faces substantial threats from terrorism and narcotics trafficking from Afghanistan. After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, Tajikistan, a supporter of the Afghan Northern Alliance's combat against the Taliban, soon offered use of Tajik airspace to U.S. forces, and some coalition forces began to transit through Tajik airspace and airfields. While most land transport along this Northern Distribution Network traverses Uzbekistan to final destinations in Afghanistan, Tajikistan serves as an alternative route for a small percentage of supplies. The Administration requested $47.1 million in foreign assistance for Tajikistan in FY2011.
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Secret Sessions of the House and Senate: Authority, Confidentiality, and Frequency

Secret Sessions of the House and Senate: Authority, Confidentiality, and Frequency

Date: November 30, 2011
Creator: Palmer, Betsy
Description: Secret, or closed, sessions of the House and Senate exclude the press and the public. They may be held for matters deemed to require confidentiality and secrecy-such as national security, sensitive communications received from the President, and Senate deliberations during impeachment trials. Although Members usually seek advance agreement for going into secret session, any Member of Congress may request a secret session without notice. When the House or Senate goes into secret session, its chamber and galleries are cleared of everyone except Members and officers and employees specified in the rules or designated by the presiding officer as essential to the session. After the chamber is cleared, its doors are closed.
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Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations

Date: November 21, 2011
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Description: This report provides an overview of Jordanian politics and current issues in U.S.-Jordanian relations. It provides a brief discussion of Jordan's government and economy and of its cooperation in promoting Arab-Israeli peace and other U.S. policy objectives in the Middle East.
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Israel: Possible Military Strike Against Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Israel: Possible Military Strike Against Iran's Nuclear Facilities

Date: March 27, 2012
Creator: Zanotti, Jim; Katzman, Kenneth; Gertler, Jeremiah & Hildreth, Steven A.
Description: Several published reports indicate that top Israeli decision makers now are seriously considering whether to order a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, and if so, when. This report analyzes key factors that may influence current Israeli political decisions relating to a possible strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. For Congress, the potential impact-short- and long-term-of an Israeli decision regarding Iran and its implementation is a critical issue of concern. By all accounts, such an attack could have considerable regional and global security, political, and economic repercussions, not least for the United States, Israel, and their bilateral relationship. This report has many aspects that are the subject of vigorous debate and remain fully or partially outside public knowledge.
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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses

Date: March 23, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: The issue of Iran and its nuclear program has emerged as a top priority for the Obama Administration. The United States also sees a threat to U.S. interests posed by Iran's support for militant groups in the Middle East and in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tensions have been particularly elevated since Iran's late-December 2011 threat to try to choke off much of the world's oil supplies -a reaction to the imposition of significant sanctions against Iran's vital exports of oil. The heightened tensions follow three years in which the Obama Administration has assembled a broad international coalition to pressure Iran through economic sanctions while also offering sustained engagement with Iran if it verifiably assures the international community that its nuclear program is peaceful. The Administration uses indicators such as Iran's economic deterioration and its willingness to engage in new talks as evidence that policy is starting to work and should be given more time before any consideration of U.S. or other country military options. The Administration also perceives that the legitimacy and popularity of Iran's regime is in decline, although not to the point where the regime's grip on power is threatened. Over the past two years, the United States has ...
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Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Date: November 4, 2011
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Description: This report discusses the current political and economic conditions in Russia, focusing on the impact of Vladimir Putin's leadership and the leadership of his successor/protégé, Dmitriy Medvedev, both of which have steered Russia away from progress toward democratization. The report also discusses the state of the economy since the Soviet collapse in 1999, how the recent global economic downturn has affected Russia, the state of Russia's military, and the current relationship between Russia and the United States.
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Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Date: June 13, 2011
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Description: This report discusses the current political and economic conditions in Russia, focusing on the impact of Vladimir Putin's leadership and the leadership of his successor/protégé, Dmitriy Medvedev, both of which have steered Russia away from progress toward democratization. The report also discusses the state of the economy since the Soviet collapse in 1999, how the recent global economic downturn has affected Russia, the state of Russia's military, and the current relationship between Russia and the United States.
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The Republic of South Sudan: Opportunities and Challenges for Africa's Newest Country

The Republic of South Sudan: Opportunities and Challenges for Africa's Newest Country

Date: July 1, 2011
Creator: Dagne, Ted
Description: This report discusses the situation in South Sudan as it faces a number of challenges in the coming years. Relations between Juba, in South Sudan, and Khartoum are poor, and there are a number of unresolved issues between them. The crisis in the disputed area of Abyei remains a contentious issue, despite a temporary agreement reached in mid-June 2011.
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Western Sahara

Western Sahara

Date: April 5, 2012
Creator: Arieff, Alexis
Description: This report discusses how Morocco and the independence-seeking Popular Front for the Liberation of Saqiat al Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario) have been vying for control of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish territory, since the 1970s. The report discusses recent settlement attempts, as well as how the Western Sahara issue has affected Algerian-Moroccan bilaterial relations, Moroccan relations with the African Union, and regional cooperation on economic and security issues. The report also discusses the United States' involvement in and stance on the issue.
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The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy

The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy

Date: December 23, 2011
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report describes the open economy and society of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as U.S. concern over proliferation of advanced technology due to said open economy and the UAE's lax export controls. This report describes these issues in relation to a recently-signed U.S.-UAE civilian nuclear agreement. It also provides a general description of the UAE's government and political structure, as well as the effects of the recent global economic downturn on the UAE in general and on the city of Dubai in particular.
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Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Date: January 4, 2012
Creator: Woehrel, Steven
Description: This report discusses the current political and economic situation in Ukraine. It also discusses Ukraine's foreign policy, especially in respect to NATO, European Union, and Russia. The Ukraine's energy issues are also briefly deliberated in this report.
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Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations

Date: June 8, 2011
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Description: With limited natural resources, a crippling illiteracy rate, and high population growth, Yemen faces an array of daunting development challenges that some observers believe make it at risk for becoming a failed state in the next few decades. As the country's population rapidly rises, resources dwindle, and terrorist groups take root in the outlying provinces, the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress are left to grapple with the consequences of Yemeni instability. As President Obama and the 111th Congress reassess U.S. policy toward the Arab world, the opportunity for improved U.S.-Yemeni ties is strong, though recurring tensions over counterterrorism cooperation and lack of U.S. interest in Yemen within the broader foreign policy community persist.
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Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations

Date: December 28, 2011
Creator: Sharp, Jeremy M.
Description: 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.
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U.S. Assistance Programs in China

U.S. Assistance Programs in China

Date: August 9, 2011
Creator: Lum, Thomas
Description: This report examines U.S. foreign assistance activities in the People's Republic of China (PRC), including U.S. Department of State and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) programming, foreign operations appropriations, policy history, and legislative background. International programs supported by U.S. departments and agencies other than the Department of State and USAID are not covered in this report.
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El Salvador: Political, Economic, and Social Conditions and U.S. Relations

El Salvador: Political, Economic, and Social Conditions and U.S. Relations

Date: January 3, 2011
Creator: Seelke, Clare Ribando
Description: This report discusses the state of the El Salvadoran government and recently elected President Mauricio Funes. This report also discusses the relationship between El Salvador and the United States, notably U.S. efforts to restore democracy and initiate economic reform in El Salvador. This report also briefly addresses the effects of the current financial crisis on El Salvador's economy, poverty levels, and crime rates.
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Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy

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

Date: November 26, 2011
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report provides a brief overview on the current political state of Kuwait, which has been pivotal to nearly two decades of U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Middle East. This report also discusses relations between Kuwait and the U.S., and the continuing domestic unrest in Kuwait, an issue separate from the unrest currently sweeping the rest of the Middle East.
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Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy

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

Date: April 11, 2012
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: Because of its location and close cooperation with the United States, Kuwait is central to U.S. efforts to remain engaged in the northern Persian Gulf region following the completion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq at the end of 2011. Kuwait's ruling elites have been in a power struggle for nearly six years, but Kuwait has not faced the mass popular unrest that other governments throughout the Middle East have faced in 2011-2012.This report discusses Kuwait's relations with other countries in the Middle East.
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Kosovo: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Kosovo: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Date: March 9, 2011
Creator: Woehrel, Steven
Description: This report discusses the current political state of Kosovo, which, on February 7, 2008, declared its independence from Serbia. Since then, Serbia has contested Kosovo's declaration of independence, leading to parallel governing institutions and ongoing talks between the two nations. This report discusses challenges Kosovo faces regarding international recognition and the status of its ethnic minorities. This report also discusses Kosovo's relationship with the United States, and U.S. foreign aid efforts to Kosovo.
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Kosovo: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Kosovo: Current Issues and U.S. Policy

Date: March 13, 2012
Creator: Woehrel, Steven
Description: This report discusses the current political state of Kosovo, which, on February 7, 2008, declared its independence from Serbia. Since then, Serbia has contested Kosovo's declaration of independence, leading to parallel governing institutions and ongoing talks between the two nations. This report discusses challenges Kosovo faces regarding international recognition and the status of its ethnic minorities. This report also discusses Kosovo's relationship with the United States, and U.S. foreign aid efforts to Kosovo.
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North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation

North Korea: U.S. Relations, Nuclear Diplomacy, and Internal Situation

Date: June 17, 2011
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma
Description: This report provides background information on the negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons program that began in the early 1990s under the Clinton Administration. As U.S. policy toward Pyongyang evolved through the George W. Bush presidency and into the Obama Administration, the negotiations moved from mostly bilateral to the multilateral Six-Party Talks (made up of China, Japan, Russia, North Korea, South Korea, and the United States).
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Northern Ireland: The Peace Process

Northern Ireland: The Peace Process

Date: February 18, 2011
Creator: Archick, Kristin
Description: For years, the British and Irish governments sought to facilitate a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Northern Ireland. This report provides a brief overview of the continuing peace talks and efforts in Northern Ireland, including the deal reached in February 2010 between the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The report also discusses the United States' active support of the Northern Ireland peace process, including the future of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI).
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European Union Enlargement

European Union Enlargement

Date: April 4, 2012
Creator: Archick, Kristin
Description: The European Union (EU) has long viewed the enlargement process as an extraordinary opportunity to promote political stability and economic prosperity in Europe. U.S. Administrations and many Members of Congress have long backed EU enlargement, believing that it serves U.S. interests by advancing democracy and economic prosperity throughout the European continent. Some U.S. officials are concerned that "enlargement fatigue" as well as the EU's ongoing financial crisis could hinder EU expansion. The status of EU enlargement and its implications for both the EU itself and U.S.-EU relations may be of interest to the second session of the 112th Congress.
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Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests

Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Political Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests

Date: May 1, 2012
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Description: This report offers background information and recent more development in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia political and economic situation. It also discusses U.S. policy, U.S. aid, U.S. trade and investments to these countries, congressional response and other legislation.
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