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The Lord's Resistance Army: The U.S. Response
This report discusses the background and history of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the U.S.'s response. The LRA is a small armed group that originated in northern Uganda in 1987 and is currently operating in remote border areas between the Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and Sudan. The LRA's actions--which include massacres, abductions (notoriously of children), sexual assault, and looting--have caused humanitarian suffering and instability.
International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues
This report provides background on current International Criminal Court (ICC) cases and 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.
2015 Leaders' Summit on U.N. Peacekeeping
This report discusses the outcome of the 2015 Leaders' Summit on U.N. Peacekeeping, which might elevate ongoing congressional interest in several policy issues related to U.N. peacekeeping.
Stability in Russia's Chechnya and Other Regions of the North Caucasus: Recent Developments
This report provides background information on terrorist attacks in Russia's North Caucasus, which appeared to increase substantially in 2007-2009. The report discusses impact of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict and the recent development in the Northern Caucasus.
Turkey: Update on Crisis of Identity and Power
This report discusses the current political situation in Turkey and its relations with Untied States.
Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the current status of the INF Treaty and highlights issues that Congress may address as the United States pursues its compliance concerns with Russia. It includes a historical overview and summary of the provisions of the INF Treaty and Russia's concerns with U.S. compliance with the treaty and concludes with a discussion of options that the United States might pursue to address its concerns with Russia's activities and options that it might pursue if Russia deploys new INF-range missiles.
International Climate Change Negotiations: What to Expect in Paris, December 2015
This report identifies critical issues regarding the expected Paris Agreement and a Decision that would give effect to the Agreement. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) draws on the draft negotiating texts, publicly available reports, and commentaries to suggest likely outcomes.
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. A final section of the report provides a listing of bills and resolutions introduced in the 114th Congress.
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report discusses the recently finalized Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that attempts to ensure that Iran's nuclear program can be used for purely peaceful purposes, in exchange for a broad suspension of U.S. sanctions and a lifting of those sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations.
South Africa: Current Issues and U.S. Relations
This report discusses political, social, and economic issues in South Africa, as well as the country's relationship to the United States.
U.N. Convention Against Torture (CAT): Overview and Application to Interrogation Techniques
This report discusses the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) requires signatory parties to take measures to end torture within their territorial jurisdiction and to criminalize all acts of torture.
Nigeria
This report discusses the current political climate of Nigeria and the resulting issues for Congress. Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, with an estimated 146 million people, is one of the United States government's key strategic partners on the continent.
Russia-Georgia Conflict in August 2008: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report provides background information and recent developments in Russia-Georgia conflict in South Ossetia. The report discusses renewed conflict in South Ossetia, implications for Georgia and Russia, and international and U.S. responses.
South Africa: Current Issues and U.S. Relations
This report looks at the relationship between the United States and South Africa. Topics include: foreign policy issues; health (in particular HIV/AIDS) reform; economics and electricity shortages; and corruption in South African politics.
The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq
This report provides a brief overview of the major issues facing the Iraqi Kurds. The Iraqi Kurds' political autonomy, demands, and ambitions are causing friction with Christian and other minorities in the north, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and other Arab leaders of Iraq, neighboring Turkey, and Iran. The U.S. ability to keep these tensions contained could wane as U.S. forces, as planned, draw down from Iraq over the next three years.
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.
Cuba: Issues for the 111th Congress
This report tracks developments in U.S. policy toward Cuba and legislative initiatives in the 111th Congress.
Iran's Foreign Policy
This report provides an overview of Iran's foreign policy, which has been a subject of numerous congressional hearings and of sanctions and other legislation for many years. The report analyzes Iranian foreign policy as a whole and by region.
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report discusses the recently finalized Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that attempts to ensure that Iran's nuclear program can be used for purely peaceful purposes, in exchange for a broad suspension of U.S., European Union (EU), and United Nations sanctions.
Yemen: Civil War and Regional Intervention
This report provides material on the latest crisis in Yemen and the U.S. policy response. To date, more than 100 Saudi soldiers and 50 UAE troops have been killed in the war--the highest death toll for the UAE in any military operation abroad since the country was founded in 1971.
Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Russia: Statutory Procedures for Congressional Consideration and Their Implementation
This report sketches the procedures prescribed by the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) for congressional action in relation to agreements of this kind.
Iran's Foreign Policy
This report provides an overview of Iran's foreign policy, which has been a subject of numerous congressional hearings and of sanctions and other legislation for many years. The report contains some specific information on Iran's relations with these countries, but refers to other CRS reports for more detail, particularly on the views of individual countries towards Iran. The report also makes reference to Iran's efforts to utilize its ties to various countries to try to mitigate the effects of U.S. sanctions.
Global Climate Change: Three Policy Perspectives
This paper examines three reasonably distinct starting points from which a U.S. response to the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is being framed.
Legislative Approaches to Chemical Facility Security
This report discusses current chemical facility security efforts, issues in defining chemical facilities, policy challenges in developing chemical facility security legislation, and the various policy approaches.
Morocco: Current Issues
This report discusses the current political, social and economical issues in Morocco. In addition the report discuses human rights violations and terrorism.
Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in Iraq and Afghanistan: Effects and Countermeasures
This report discusses Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs, or roadside bombs) in Iraq and Afghanistan. IEDs have been responsible for many of the more than 2,000 combat deaths in Iraq, and 178 combat deaths in Afghanistan. IEDs are hidden behind signs and guardrails, under roadside debris, or inside animal carcasses, and encounters with these bombs are becoming more numerous and deadly in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The threat includes vehicle-borne IEDs, in which extremists drive cars laden with explosives directly into a target. DOD efforts to counter IEDs have proven only marginally effective, and U.S. forces continue to be exposed to the threat at military checkpoints, or whenever on patrol. IEDs are increasingly being used in Afghanistan, and DOD reportedly is concerned that they might eventually be more widely used by other insurgents and terrorists worldwide.
Middle East Free Trade Area: Progress Report
The purpose of this report is to describe Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) in terms of: (1) its impetus, (2) its major elements; (3) background trade data, (4) details; and (5) arguments for each.
Mexico's Importance and Multiple Relationships with the United States
This report provides information on the importance of Mexico to U.S. interests and catalogues the many ways Mexico and the United States interact. The report is a snapshot of the bilateral relationship at the beginning of 2006.
Cuba: Issues for the 114th Congress
This report is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment, U.S. policy, and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations. While legislative initiatives are noted throughout the report, a final section of the report provides a listing of bills and resolutions introduced in the 114th Congress.
Trade Negotiations During the 109th Congress
This report discusses trade issues in the 109th Congress. For over 50 years, U.S. trade officials have negotiated multilateral trade agreements to achieve lower trade barriers and rules to cover international trade. During the 108th Congress, U.S. officials negotiated and Congress approved four bilateral free-trade agreements with Australia, Chile, Morocco, and Singapore.
Border Security: Key Agencies and Their Missions
This report serves as a primer on the key federal agencies charged with border security by briefly describing each agency's role in securing our nation's borders. The four main agencies are the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the United States Coast Guard, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report provides background on the agreement negotiated by Iran and six other countries (the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany--collectively known as the P5+1) regarding Iran's nuclear program, and discusses the implications for U.S.-Iran relations.
El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations
This report examines El Salvador's recent history, as well as its current political, economic, and security/human rights challenges. It then analyzes key issues in U.S.-Salvadoran relations.
IAEA Budget and U.S. Contributions: In Brief
This report discusses the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA's) budget and funding. In addition to its other missions, the IAEA is monitoring and verifying Iranian compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and is to report on these activities regularly. The accord is intended to lift nuclear related U.S., European Union, and United Nations sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on the country's nuclear program.
NAFTA at Ten: Lessons from Recent Studies
This report provides an analytical summary of the economic lessons reached in support of Congress's role in the trade policy process. On January 1, 2004, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) completed its tenth year and most of its provisions are now implemented. NAFTA is a free trade agreement (FTA) that effectively added Mexico to the U.S.-Canada FTA completed in 1989. Its anniversary has sparked numerous evaluations, which are particularly relevant as the United States pursues free trade agreements with multiple Latin American countries. Most studies found that NAFTA's effects on the U.S. and Mexican economies to be modest at most.
El Salvador: Background and U.S. Relations
This report examines El Salvador's recent history, as well as its current political, economic, and security/human rights challenges. It then analyzes key issues in U.S.-Salvadoran relations.
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.
U.S.-Taiwan Relationship: Overview of Policy Issues
This report is a succinct overview of the U.S.-Taiwan relationship including an analysis of issues. For decades, Taiwan has been of significant security, economic, and political interest to the United States. While the United States does not diplomatically recognize Taiwan, it is a significant autonomous actor in the world.
The April 2010 Coup in Kyrgyzstan: Context and Implications for U.S. Interests
This report discusses the coup and its aftermath in Kyrgyzstan, and its implications for Kyrgyzstan, U.S. interests, Russia and other Euroasian states.
Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty: Background and Issues for Congress
This report describes the current status of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and highlights issues that Congress may address as the United States pursues its compliance concerns with Russia.
Israel's Blockade of Gaza, the Mavi Marmara Incident, and Its Aftermath
This report provides background information on the Israel's blockade on Gaza, and it discusses the raid on the MV Marmara, the free Gaza Movement, views form Israel and Turkey, international reaction and the U.S. position.
U.S.-China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy
This report discusses the United States counterterrorism cooperation with China after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. This effort raised short-term policy issues about how to elicit cooperation and how to address China's concerns about military action (Operation Enduring Freedom). Longer-term questions have concerned whether counterterrorism has strategically transformed bilateral relations and whether China's support has been valuable and not obtained at the expense of other U.S. interests.
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.
Nigeria's 2015 Elections and the Boko Haram Crisis
This report provides an overview of the social and political situation in Nigeria. The report discusses the 2015 election in Nigeria, the rising threat of Boko Haram, and the U.S. policy and assistance.
The Islamic State in Egypt: Implications for U.S.-Egyptian Relations
This report discusses Islamist militancy in Egypt; specifically the presence the Islamic State organization (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL/ISIS). The report also briefly discusses what the propagation of militants means for relations between the United States and Egypt.
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.
Trafficking in Persons: U.S. Policy and Issues for Congress
Trafficking in persons (TIP) for the purposes of exploitation is both an international and a domestic crime that involves violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards. This report focuses on human trafficking both internationally and within the United States. The report begins with an overview of human trafficking including a discussion of the definition of human trafficking, the scope of the problem globally, and an examination of the victims. It follows with an analysis of global anti-trafficking efforts by the United States and the international community. The report then focuses on trafficking into and within the United States, examining relief for trafficking victims in the United States and discussing U.S. law enforcement efforts to combat domestic trafficking. The report concludes with an overview of anti-trafficking legislation and an analysis of policy issues related to human trafficking.
Bangladesh: Political and Strategic Developments and U.S. Interests
This report provides historical background and geography of Bangladesh. The report discusses the contemporary political situation, election and Bangladesh politics.
U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East: Historical Background, Recent Trends, and the FY2011 Request
This report is an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to the Middle East from FY2006 to FY2010, and of the FY2011 budget request. It includes a brief history of aid to the region, a review of foreign aid levels, a description of selected country programs, and an analysis of current foreign aid issues. It will be updated periodically to reflect recent developments.