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Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides a brief history of the state of Qatar, discussing its governance and human rights. The report also includes U.S.-Qatari defense and security cooperation and economic issues.
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 about U.S. compliance with the treaty; it concludes with a discussion of options that the United States might pursue to address its concerns regarding Russia's activities and options that it might pursue if Russia deploys new INF-range missiles.
A Change in Direction for Seoul? The Impeachment of South Korea's President
This report discusses the Constitutional Court decision for impeachment of the former President of South Korea, Park Geun-hye. The decision was the latest development in a corruption scandal that has engulfed South Korean politics and the business world since October 2016, and comes against the backdrop of North Korean missile tests.
Colombia's Changing Approach to Drug Policy
This report describes how Colombia's drug policies have evolved in light of Colombia's peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and its changing counter-narcotics policy. The final peace agreement addresses important issues, such as illicit crop cultivation--a major source of FARC income--and rural development.
Russia: Background and U.S. Interests
This report provides background information on Russian politics, economics, and military issues. It also discusses a number of key issues for Congress concerning Russia's foreign relations and the U.S.-Russian relationship.
The European Union: Questions and Answers
This report serves as a primer on the European Union and provides a brief description of U.S.-EU relations that may be of interest in the 114th Congress.
Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the relationship between the United States and Iran. The United States and Iran have been at odds politically and diplomatically, and U.S. policy has been intended to reduce the perceived threat posed by Iran to a broad range of U.S. interests. U.S. officials also express a broad range of concerns about Iran's human rights abuses, including its detentions of U.S.-Iran dual nationals.
Lebanon
This report provides an overview of Lebanon and current issues of U.S. interest. It outlines background information, analyzes recent developments and key policy debates, and tracks legislation, U.S. assistance, and recent congressional action.
U.S. Restrictions on Relations with Burma
This report discusses the major changes in Burma's political situation since 2008 that have raised issues for Congress concerning the appropriateness of U.S. restrictions on relations with Burma (Myanmar). These issues include whether Congress should reexamine U.S. policy toward Burma in general, what criteria are appropriate for analyzing the current situation in Burma, and whether it should make adjustments to current U.S. restrictions on relations with Burma.
The Islamic State and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and describes select FY2017 legislative proposals.
The Pacific Islands: Policy Issues
This report presents Congress with a diverse array of policy issues regarding Pacific Islands region, also known as the South Pacific or Southwest Pacific.
Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response
This report discusses the ongoing conflict in Syria and provides an overview of U.S. policy responses. The rise of the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL/ISIS) and Russia's military intervention on behalf of the Syrian government have reshaped debates over U.S. policy toward the ongoing civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. Following the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych, there was an emergence of a pro-Western, pro-reform government and an energized public generally anxious to lessen Moscow's influence, committed to addressing the need for serious reform and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States.
Political Status of Puerto Rico: Brief Background and Recent Developments for Congress
This report provides policy and historical background about Puerto Rico's political status--a term of art referring to the relationship between the federal government and a territorial one. The report emphasizes recent developments that are likely to be most relevant for Congress. Congress has not altered the island's status since 1952, when it approved a territorial constitution.
The Impeachment of South Korea's President
This report discusses the impeachment of the president of South Korean after the largest anti-Park protests in the country's history.
Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides a brief history of the state of Qatar, discussing its governance and human rights. The report also includes U.S. - Qatari defense and security cooperation and economic issues.
Democratic Republic of Congo: Targeted Sanctions
This report discusses human rights and humanitarian hardship in war-ravaged eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
Colombia Adopts Revised Peace Accord: What Next?
This report discusses the Colombian government's revised peace accord, signed in November 2016 by President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC's leader (known as Timochenko).
The Central African Republic: Background and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the Central African Republic (CAR) social and political situation and has struggled to emerge from conflict and state collapse since 2013.
Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006. Kuwait remains pivotal to U.S. efforts to secure the Persian Gulf region because of its willingness to cooperate with U.S. strategy and military operations in the region and its proximity to both Iran and Iraq.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current political state of Afghanistan at length, discussing the political background, security policy, and regional relations.
Moldova: A Pivotal Election?
This report discusses Moldova's presidential election on October 30, 2016. This is the first time since 1996 that Moldova's president is being elected by a popular vote.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. Following the February 2014 collapse of the Kremlin-supported government of President Viktor Yanukovych, there was an emergence of a pro-Western, pro-reform government and an energized public generally anxious to lessen Moscow's influence, committed to addressing the need for serious reform and determined to draw closer to Europe and the United States.
Elections Strengthen Georgia's Ruling Party
This report discusses the country of Georgia's parliamentary elections, which domestic and international observers assessed as democratic, despite isolated violations and violent incidents.
Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006. Kuwait remains pivotal to U.S. efforts to secure the Persian Gulf region because of its willingness to cooperate with U.S. strategy and military operations in the region and its proximity to both Iran and Iraq.
Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response
This report discusses the ongoing conflict in Syria and provides an overview of U.S. Policy responses. The rise of the insurgent terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, aka the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIL/ISIS) and Russia's military intervention on behalf of the Syrian government have reshaped debates over U.S. policy toward the ongoing civil conflict in Syria, now in its fifth year.
Brazil in Crisis
This report briefly examines the political situation and discusses public opinion regarding the Rousseff Administration.
Prospects in Colombia: Cease-Fire, Peace Accord Vote, and Potential Disrupters
This report discusses the political situation in Colombia after a peace accord negotiated over four years between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the country's largest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Argentina: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides background on the political and economic situation in Argentina and U.S.-Argentine relations. It also summarizes political and economic conditions in Argentina and issues in Argentine-U.S. relations.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of reform and foreign policy in Bahrain. Outward signs of the uprising against Bahrain's Al Khalifa ruling family that began on February 14, 2011 have diminished, but continued smaller demonstrations, opposition boycotts of elections, and incarceration of dissident leaders counter government assertions that Bahrain has "returned to normal."
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides information and analysis relevant for Congress on the following: assessments of U.S.-Turkey relations, Turkish foreign policy, and Turkey's strategic orientation, Turkish efforts to cooperate with the United States against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, and key issues regarding Turkey's domestic politics.
Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive
This report provides a brief overview of the history of the negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, a review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description of some of the issues involved in the talks.
Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
This report provides the results of recent elections in Latin America and the Caribbean. It includes three tables organized by region, containing the date of each country's independence, the name of the newly elected president or prime minister, and the projected date of the next election. Information in this report was gathered from numerous sources, including the U.S. State Department, Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA's) World Fact Book, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) Election Guide, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and other news sources.
Iran: Politics, Gulf Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on Iran's political history and examines the current political climate. The report also considers U.S. policy responses, specifically in regards to Iran's nuclear capabilities.
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations In Brief
This report provides information and analysis on key issues related to Turkish foreign and domestic policy issues, particularly regarding the aftermath of the failed July 15-16, 2016 coup attempt.
Ukraine: Current Issues and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of the situation in Ukraine. In February 2014, the Kremlin-supported government of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych collapsed. The demise of the regime was brought about by bitter protests that had erupted in Kyiv's Maidan Square in late 2013 over the government's decision to reject closer relations with the European Union (EU) and by civil society's reaction to a brutal government response to the Maidan protestors.
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. Legislative initiatives in the 114th Congress are noted throughout the report, and four appendixes provide a listing of enacted measures (Appendix A), bills receiving some action in 2015 (Appendix B), bills seeing action in 2016 (Appendix C), and additional bills and resolution this Congress (Appendix D).
Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons
This report discusses the current status of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, which probably consists of approximately 110-130 nuclear warheads. Chronic political instability in Pakistan and Islamabad's military efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaeda have raised concerns about the security of the country's nuclear weapons. Some observers fear that Pakistan's strategic nuclear assets could be obtained by terrorists or used by elements in the Pakistani government; however, U.S. officials have generally expressed confidence in the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.
The Islamist Militant Threat in Bangladesh
This report discusses the current security climate in Bangladesh in regards to terrorism. Bangladesh is attractive to jihadists because it is a politically destabilized Muslim majority nation that could offer inroads to both Burma, through the alienated Muslim Rohingya refugee group, or to neighboring India.
U.S. Foreign Assistance as Colombia's Peace Talks on Cusp of Completion
This report discusses the ongoing peace process in Colombia and the potential effects for U.S. policy. On July 18, 2016, the Colombian Constitutional Court approved a plebiscite to allow Colombian voters to decide the fate of the peace accord under negotiation between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the country's largest insurgent group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Turkey: Failed Coup and Implications for U.S. Policy
This report briefly examines the failed coup in Turkey and what it means for U.S. foreign policy. On July 15-16, 2016, elements within the Turkish military tried, but failed, to seize political power from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.
Brazil in Crisis
This report examines the current political and economic climate in Brazil, which is in the midst of severe economic and political crises that are closely intertwined and unlikely to be resolved quickly.
The Islamic State and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and describes select FY2017 legislative proposals.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the current state of reform and foreign policy in Bahrain. Outward signs of the uprising against Bahrain's Al Khalifa ruling family that began on February 14, 2011 have diminished, but continued smaller demonstrations, opposition boycotts of elections, and incarceration of dissident leaders counter government assertions that Bahrain has "returned to normal."
The Islamic State and U.S. Policy
This report provides background on the Islamic State organization, discusses its goals, operations, and affiliates, reviews U.S. legislative and policy debates, and describes select FY2017 legislative proposals.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines the current political state of Afghanistan at length, discussing the political background, security policy, and regional relations.
Federal Inspectors General: History, Characteristics, and Recent Congressional Actions
This report provides background on the statutory creation of federal offices of inspector general (OIGs) and provides historical context for contemporary debates about the strengths and limitations of the offices. Federal inspectors general (IGs) are authorized to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within their affiliated federal entities; to execute their missions, OIGs conduct and publish audits and investigations--among other duties.
Honduras: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discusses various domestic issues in Honduras, including current political, economic and security conditions. It also examines the implications for U.S. policy.
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report provides a background on Libya's political climate and discusses current policy issues for the U.S. More than four years after a U.S.-led NATO military intervention helped Libyan rebels topple the authoritarian government of Muammar al Qadhafi, Libya remains politically fragmented and its security is threatened by terrorist organizations and infighting among interim leaders and locally organized armed groups.
Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report examines Kuwait's relationships with its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, and its own political system which has been in turmoil since 2006. Kuwait remains pivotal to U.S. efforts to secure the Persian Gulf region because of its willingness to cooperate with U.S. strategy and military operations in the region and its proximity to both Iran and Iraq.