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Piracy off the Horn of Africa

Description: This report discusses recent (2008-2009) pirate attacks on vessels, including United States vessels, in the waters off the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is sometimes called the Somali Peninsula and includes the nations of Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This report explores reasons behind the increased number of pirate attacks in recent years, as well as what efforts are being taken to combat said attacks, including those by the 111th Congress and President Obama and his Administration.
Date: April 24, 2009
Creator: Ploch, Lauren; Blanchard, Christopher M.; O'Rourke, Ronald; Mason, R. Chuck & King, Rawle O.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S.-Iraw Withdrawal/Status of Forces Agreement: Issues for Congressional Oversight

Description: This report begins by discussing the historical legal framework governing U.S. military operations in Iraq. The report then provides a general background as to the contents of agreements traditionally considered Status of Forces Agreements (SOFAs). Finally, the report discusses specific aspects of the SOFA, highlighting issues that may require continued congressional oversight.
Date: April 24, 2009
Creator: Mason, Chuck R.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Burma and Transnational Crime

Description: This report analyzes the primary actors driving transnational crime in Burma, the forms of transnational crime occurring, and current U.S. policy in combating these crimes.
Date: April 27, 2009
Creator: Wyler, Liana S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Passports: Current Regulations

Description: This report details changes made to travel between the United States and other countries in the Western Hemisphere, including Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean island nations. Such changes include the expansion of time necessary to get a passport, as well as additional passport and proof-of-identity documentation requirements.
Date: April 30, 2009
Creator: Epstein, Susan B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Kyrgyzstan's Closure of the Manas Airbase: Context and Implications

Description: This report discusses the implications for U.S. policy and counter-terrorism efforts due to Kyrgyzstan's announcement that it was terminating an agreement permitting U.S. forces to upgrade and use portions of the Manas international airport near the capital of Bishkek to support coalition military operations in Afghanistan. If Kyrgyzstan does not reconsider its decision, U.S. forces have until late August 2009 to leave the airbase. Major U.S. concerns include working out alternative logistics routes and support functions for a planned surge in U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan.
Date: May 4, 2009
Creator: Nichol, Jim
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S. Accession to ASEAN's Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC)

Description: This report analyze the legal and diplomatic issues involved with the possible accession of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' (ASEAN) Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) by the United States. It is expected that this process could be concluded within the year.
Date: May 5, 2009
Creator: Manyin, Mark E.; Garcia, Michael J. & Morrison, Wayne M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation: The Future of Commercial Trucking Across the Mexican Border

Description: This report discusses the implementation of trucking provisions set forth by NAFTA that would have opened the border states to cross-border trucking competition in 1995 and all of North America in 2000. The full implementation of the provisions has been stalled because of concern with the safety of Mexican trucks.
Date: May 6, 2009
Creator: Frittelli, John
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Strategic Arms Control After START: Issues and Options

Description: The United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991; it entered into force in December 1994 and expired in December 2009. This report provides background information about the START Treaty and reviews the discussions about a possible successor to START. It also presents a range of alternatives that the United States and Russia might consider if they choose to follow START with a new framework for the arms control process.
Date: May 7, 2009
Creator: Woolf, Amy F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

U.S.-China Counterterrorism Cooperation: Issues for U.S. Policy

Description: 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.
Date: May 7, 2009
Creator: Kan, Shirley A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Organized Crime in the United States: Trends and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the threat of organized crime against the United States, most notably organized crime from criminal organizations in Russia, Asia, Italy, the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa. The report explores the issue of organized crime in relation to the economic downturn and national security, namely terrorism. The report also discusses how Congress is currently working to address these issues and includes information on relevant pieces of legislation.
Date: May 15, 2009
Creator: Finklea, Kristin M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

International Criminal Court Cases in Africa: Status and Policy Issues

Description: This report provides background on ICC investigations in Africa and gives an overview of cases currently before the Court. The report also examines issues raised by the ICC's actions in Africa, including the ICC's possible role in deterring future abuses and the potential impact of international criminal prosecutions on peace processes, ongoing in many countries on the continent.
Date: May 18, 2009
Creator: Arieff, Alexis & Margesson, Rhoda
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Madagascar's 2009 Political Crisis

Description: This report discusses political tensions on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar between President Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, the former mayor of the capital city, which escalated in early 2009, culminating in the President's forced removal from office.
Date: May 18, 2009
Creator: Ploch, Lauren
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Political Turmoil in Thailand and U.S. Interests

Description: This report examines the Thai government's performance, the role of the military, deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's impact on the situation, and the royal family's influence. It assesses the prospects for more elections, the degree of control exercised by the army over the civilian government, Thaksin's activities and possible future in Bangkok, and the role of the palace in current Thai politics.
Date: May 26, 2009
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America: An Overview and Selected Issues

Description: The Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP) is a trilateral initiative that was launched in March 2005 for the purpose of increasing and enhancing security and prosperity in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This initiative promoted communication and cooperation across several key policy areas of mutual interest, such as improving certain sectors of the economy, developing higher health and safety standards, and addressing environmental concerns. This report describes this initiative in brief detail, including summaries of several SPP-related meetings between the three countries' leaders.
Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Villarreal, M. Angeles & Lake, Jennifer E.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives After 15 Years: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives' (OTI's) origin, its past and present activities, and issues about the program's impact, structure, and role within USAID that may be of interest to Congress. OTI's activities are overtly political, based on the idea that in the midst of political crisis and instability abroad there are local agents of change whose efforts, when supported by timely and creative U.S. assistance, can tip the balance toward peaceful and democratic outcomes that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives.
Date: May 27, 2009
Creator: Lawson, Marian L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Intellectual Property Rights and Access to Medicines: International Trade Issues

Description: This report focuses on the relationship between intellectual property right (IPR) provisions in international and U.S. trade policy and access to medicines. This issue represents one component of a broader debate about the relationship between trade policy and public health.
Date: May 28, 2009
Creator: Ilias, Shayerah
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The United Nations Human Rights Council: Issues for Congress

Description: On March 15, 2006, the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution replacing the Commission on Human Rights with a new Human Rights Council (the Council). The Council was designed to be an improvement over the Commission, which was widely criticized for the composition of its membership when perceived human rights abusers were elected as members. This report discusses the history of the Council, the previous participation of the Bush Administration, the current participation of the Obama Administration, and ongoing international and Congressional concerns of the credibility and effectiveness of the Council.
Date: June 1, 2009
Creator: Blanchfield, Luisa
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Costa Rica: Background and U.S. Relations

Description: Costa Rica is a relatively politically stable and economically developed nation with a long tradition of civilian democracy. Once a predominantly agricultural nation, Costa Rica has established a diversified economy with a strong export sector. This report examines recent political and economic developments in Costa Rica as well as issues in U.S.-Costa Rica relations.
Date: June 2, 2009
Creator: Meyer, Peter J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks

Description: This report discusses Iraq's political system, which has been restructured through a U.S.-supported election process. The Iraqi government is increasingly characterized by peaceful competition rather than violence, but sectarianism and ethnic and factional infighting still remain. This report discusses issues relating to opponents of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and also discusses the atmosphere of nationwide provincial elections. The report also addresses the Obama Administration's plan to reduce the U.S. troop presence in Iraq by August 2010 and briefly addresses the Iranian influence in Iraq.
Date: June 2, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Iran Sanctions Act (ISA)

Description: This report discusses the increasing international pressure on Iran to curb its nuclear program and how that pressure discourages foreign firms from investing in Iran's energy sector, hindering Iran's efforts to expand oil production. This report discusses the history and progress of the formal U.S. effort to curb energy investment in Iran, which began with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) in 1996. This report also discusses U.S. concerns that other nations, e.g., U.S. allies, Russia, and China, are not as strict with their economic sanctions against Iran, and how U.S. policymakers are combating this reticence with various pieces of legislation.
Date: June 4, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Afghanistan: Government Formation and Performance

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.
Date: June 5, 2009
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Israeli-Arab Negotiations: Background, Conflicts, and U.S. Policy

Description: This report discusses issues related to peace in the Middle East, including post-Gulf War negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon; U.S. interest in these and continuing negotiations and peacetalks between Middle Eastern countries; and the role of the U.S., the U.N., the European Union, and Russia in Middle Eastern relations.
Date: June 9, 2009
Creator: Migdalovitz, Carol
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

The Global Peace Operations Initiative: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report describes in detail the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), the centerpiece of the Bush Administration's efforts to prepare foreign security forces to participate in international peacekeeping operations. This report lists the funding and allocations set aside for GPOI, as well as the function of GPOI and its future.
Date: June 11, 2009
Creator: Serafino, Nina M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department