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 Collection: Congressional Research Service Reports
Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance

Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance

Date: June 5, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report discusses the current Afghan government, which is rife with corruption and very limited in power, hence the continued presence of the Taliban and general worldwide pessimism about Afghanistan stabilization efforts. This report addresses issues such as ethnic diputes, President Hamid Karzai's re-election bid for August 2009, and the U.S.-Afghanistan relationship in particular. The Obama Administration is currently promoting, among other Afghanistan stabilization efforts, a "civilian surge" of additional U.S. personnel to Afghanistan.
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Honduran-U.S. Relations

Honduran-U.S. Relations

Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Meyer, Peter J. & Sullivan, Mark P.
Description: This report discusses the current state of Honduras, which is one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest countries and has a high poverty rate, high infant mortality rate, and a widespread HIV/AIDS epidemic. This report also discusses the relationship between the U.S. and Honduras, focusing on the countries' important trade partnership, the U.S. military presence in Honduras, and U.S. foreign aid.
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Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security

Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security

Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Description: This report discusses the current political and social climate of Iraq, specifically in regards to the influence of the U.S. military presence over recent years. This report addresses planned and possible future efforts under the Obama Administration, including the scheduled gradual troops withdrawal. Some U.S. officials believe that a U.S. military presence is needed beyond the scheduled August 31, 2010 date, by which point all U.S. troops will have been withdrawn. This report also discusses the continued tensions between various Iraqi sociocultural groups.
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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: June 8, 2009
Creator: Seelke, Clare Ribando & Meyer, Peter J.
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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Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations

Thailand: Background and U.S. Relations

Date: June 8, 2009
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma
Description: This report discusses the current political and economic state of Thailand, particularly in the wake of the September 2006 coup that displaced Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and has resulted in continuing instability. This report also discusses the ongoing U.S.-Thai relationship, despite different policies in such areas as human rights.
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Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations

Date: June 9, 2009
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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Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications

Date: June 12, 2009
Creator: Lum, Thomas & Fischer, Hannah
Description: This report analyzes China's mixed record on human rights -- major human rights problems, new human rights legislation, and the development of civil society, legal awareness, and social and political activism. This report discusses major areas of interest but does not provide an exhaustive account of all human rights abuses or related incidents.
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Inherently Governmental Functions and Department of Defense Operations: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Inherently Governmental Functions and Department of Defense Operations: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress

Date: June 15, 2009
Creator: Luckey, John R.; Grasso, Valerie Bailey & Manuel, Kate M.
Description: An "inherently governmental function" is one that, as a matter of law and policy, must be performed by federal government employees and cannot be contracted out because it is "intimately related to the public interest." This report explores various sides of the debate as to what exactly constitutes an "inherently governmental function," as there is currently no one uniform definition. Congress is concerned that inconsistent definitions may lead to improperly contracted jobs.
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Iran's Economic Conditions: U.S. Policy Issues

Iran's Economic Conditions: U.S. Policy Issues

Date: June 15, 2009
Creator: Ilias, Shayerah
Description: This report provides a general overview of Iran's economy, addresses related U.S. policy concerns, and discusses policy options for Congress. The purpose of this report is two-fold. First, it provides insight into important macroeconomic trends, policy reforms and objectives, key economic sectors, international trade patterns, and sources of foreign exchange. Second, in the context of U.S. economic sanctions imposed for national security and foreign policy reasons, the report evaluates Iran's economic structure, strengths, and vulnerabilities and discusses issues and options for Congress.
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East Timor: Political Dynamics, Development, and International Involvement

East Timor: Political Dynamics, Development, and International Involvement

Date: June 17, 2009
Creator: Margesson, Rhoda & Vaughn, Bruce
Description: The situation in the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, which is also known as simply Timor-Leste or East Timor, is relatively calm compared with recent periods of political strife and insurrection. That said, some underlying tensions, such as with the security sector, remain to be resolved. Timor-Leste faces many serious challenges as it seeks to establish a stable democracy and develop its economy. A key challenge for East Timor will be to create enough political stability to focus on building state capacity and infrastructure with resources from the Timor Sea and prevent them from being squandered by corrupt practices.
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