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Taiwan: Issues for Congress
This report describes Taiwan's governmental structure, politics, economy, relations with its neighbors, and ongoing sovereignty disputes with China which have intensified recently. U.S. relations with Taiwan and legislation related to Taiwan in the 115th Congress is also discussed.
Ukraine: Background and U.S. Policy
This report describes Ukraine's political and governmental structure, economy, relations with the U.S., EU, NATO, and Russia, and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine with pro-Russian separatists.
Qatar and Its Neighbors: Disputes and Possible Implications
This report discusses the dispute between Qatar and several of its Gulf State and Arab neighbors led by Saudia Arabia which has resulted in the isolation of Qatar by Saudia Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. The Saudi-led coalition has accused Qatar of supporting terrorism because of their support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Potential implications of the dispute for the United States are then discussed.
Zimbabwe's Political Transition: Issues for Congress
This report discusses the resignation of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe after a military intervention and the installation of one of his former vice-presidents, Emmanuel Mnangagwa as interim President. Various possible outcomes of the change and possible actions by Congress to advance U.S. interests in the region are discussed.
Guatemala: Political and Socioeconomic Conditions and U.S. Relations
This report describes the political structure and government in Guatemala and the presidency of Jimmy Morales and his anti-corruption efforts as well as socioeconomic conditions in Guatemala, Relations between the U.S. and Guatemala are also discussed.
Why is Violence Rebounding in Mexico?
This report discusses violence in Mexico fueled by organized crime cartels and the rising homicide rate which for 2017 based on preliminary reports will be above 18 per 100,000 persons. The rate in 2016 was 16.2 per 100,000. Various possible causes of the increase in violence discussed are the fragmentation of the Sinaloa Cartel, the increase in heroin trafficking and sales in the U.S., and the removal of major cartel bosses by the Mexican military leading to a power struggle in the organizations.
Temporary Protected Status: Overview and Current Issues
This report discusses Temporary Protected Status (TPS) which is offered to nationals of designated countries who due to civil unrest, natural disasters, and armed conflicts cannot safely return home. This report begins by situating TPS in the context of humanitarian responses to migration. Another form of blanket relief from removal--Deferred Enforced Departure (DED)--is also described, as is the historical use of these relief mechanisms. The report then provides data on the countries currently designated for TPS, including the conditions that have contributed to their designation. Past legislation to provide lawful permanent resident status to certain TPS-designated foreign nationals is also described, and the report concludes with examples of activity in the 115th Congress related to TPS.
Australia
This report discusses Australia's strategic alliance with the United States and their economic ties with China and ways these two interests may conflict. Relations between the U.S. and Australia and recent tensions between U.S. President Trump and Australian President Turnbull are also discussed.
Cuba: U.S. Policy in the 115th Congress
This report examines U.S. policy toward Cuba in the 115th Congress. It is divided into three major sections analyzing Cuba's political and economic environment; U.S. policy toward Cuba; and selected issues in U.S.-Cuban relations, including restrictions on travel and trade, funding for democracy and human rights projects in Cuba and for U.S. government-sponsored radio and television broadcasting, migration, antidrug cooperation, U.S. property claims, and U.S. fugitives from justice in Cuba. Legislative initiatives in the 115th Congress are noted throughout the report, and Appendix A lists introduced bills. Appendix B provides links to U.S. government information and reports on Cuba.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on China's naval modernization effort and its implications for U.S. Navy capabilities. The question of how the United States should respond to China's military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is a key issue in U.S. defense planning and budgeting. Many U.S. military programs for countering improving Chinese military forces (particularly its naval forces) fall within the U.S. Navy's budget. The issue for Congress is how the U.S. Navy should respond to China's military modernization effort, particularly its naval modernization effort. Decisions that Congress reaches on this issue could affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the U.S. defense industrial base. For an overview of the strategic and budgetary context in which China's naval modernization effort and its implications for U.S. Navy capabilities may be considered, see Appendix A.
The Rohingya Crises in Bangladesh and Burma
This report discusses the Rohingya refugee crisis in Burma and Bangladesh and proposed legislation in Congress regarding restrictions on Burmese military officials, trade, and humanitarian assistance. A brief background on the Rohingya people group, repressive policies by the Burmese government, current conditions in Burma and Bangladesh, risks of radicalization, human rights violations, and attempts by the U.N. and others to resolve the conflict are included in the report.
Zimbabwe: A Military-Compelled Transition?
This report discusses the military intervention in Zimbabwe which occurred on November 14 and 15th, 2017, and provides a discussion of the main events leading up to the action and possible outcomes.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Afghanistan's history of conflict, governmental structure, human rights issues, and security policies and initiatives. A special focus is put on the U.S. involvement in Afghan security and ongoing fights against the Taliban and other terrorist groups and U.S. aid to Afghanistan both economically and militarily. Fiscal Year 2018 aid requests for both military assistance and economic and humanitarian aid are included.
Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations
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 with U.S. policies in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report discuses Saudi Arabia's governmental structure, human rights issues, relations with countries in the region, defense policies, and U.S. relations with the country. Special focus is given to military affairs and trade with Saudi Arabia.
The North Korean Nuclear Challenge: Military Options and Issues for Congress
This report discusses the North Korean nuclear threat and possible military options the U.S. could use to reduce or eliminate the threat. The report begins with a brief overview of the situation, nuclear capabilities of North Korea, and effects military action would have on the region and its stability. Seven military related options are discussed along with possible issues of interest to Congress.
Arms Sales in the Middle East: Trends and Analytical Perspectives for U.S. Policy
This report analyzes state-to-state arms sales in the Middle East with a particular focus on U.S. transfers, as authorized and reviewed by Congress. The information in this report, including sales data, is drawn from a number of official and unofficial open sources. The report focuses on recent arms sales, primarily from the United States, to seven Middle Eastern states: Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Turkey, and Qatar. It concludes by considering a number of arms sales-related issues of congressional interest and options available to Members of Congress to influence or control aspects of arms sales, including those related to oversight, reporting requirements, checks on executive action, and conditions on transfers or funding.
State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs: Fiscal Year 2017 Budget and Appropriations
This report provides an overview and highlights of the State Department Foreign Operations and Related Appropriations request with an account-by-account comparison of the FY2017 request to the House and Senate committee-passed bills and FY2016 estimates in Appendix A. Appendix B provides the International Affairs 150 function funding levels.
Direct Overt U.S. Aid Appropriations for and Military Reimbursements to Pakistan, FY2002-FY2018
Table of data outlining direct overt U.S. aid appropriations and military reimbursements to Pakistan including number for fiscal years 2002-2011 (combined), fiscal years 2012-2016 (individually) and estimates for 2017 and 2018.
Libya: Transition and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Libya's political situation of local politicians and armed militias controlling power and attempts to establish a stable central government since the 2011 uprising that overthrew Muammar al Qadhafi. U.S. relations and economic and security assistance to efforts to form a representative central government in Libya and combat Islamic extremism are also discussed.
Iran Sanctions
This report discusses U.S. sanctions against Iran and the 2016 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement which led to the lifting of sanctions based on nuclear proliferation in Iran. The bulk of the report outlines the various sanctions against Iran and their current implementation status, international efforts to bring about compliance, and their effects. Recent discussions regarding President's Trump announcement that the U.S. was decertifying the nuclear agreement and the possibility of reinstating certain sanctions are also discussed.
Yemen: Cholera Outbreak
This report discusses the cholera outbreak in Yemen that began in October 2016 due to the breakdown of sanitation systems caused by the ongoing civil war. A brief description of cholera is given along with current conditions in Yemen for healthcare, and past humanitarian aid efforts by the U.S. and the U.N.
The State Department's "Trafficking in Persons" Report: Scope, Aid Restrictions, and Methodology
This report describes the legislative provisions that govern the U.S. Department of State's production of the annual TIP Report, reviews country ranking trends in the TIP Report, and identifies recent congressional oversight of and legislative activity to modify the TIP Report. Answers to selected frequently asked questions (FAQs) are included throughout the report.
Syria's Chemical Weapons: Continuing Challenges
This report discusses Syria's chemical weapon supplies, efforts to have them destroyed, recent uses of chemical weapons there, and issues related to undeclared chemical weapon stocks.
China's Economic Rise: History, Trends, Challenges, and Implications for the United States
This report provides background on China's economic rise; describes its current economic structure; identifies the challenges China faces to maintain economic growth; and discusses the challenges, opportunities, and implications of China's economic rise for the United States.
China Naval Modernization: Implications for U.S. Navy Capabilities: Background and Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on China's naval modernization effort and its implications for U.S. Navy capabilities. The question of how the United States should respond to China's military modernization effort, including its naval modernization effort, is a key issue in U.S. defense planning and budgeting. Many U.S. military programs for countering improving Chinese military forces (particularly its naval forces) fall within the U.S. Navy's budget.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Bahrain's political structure and economy, the 2011 uprising and its aftereffects, human rights issues, security cooperation with the U.S., and foreign policy towards other countries in the region.
Maritime Territorial and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) Disputes Involving China: Issues for Congress
This report provides background information and issues for Congress on maritime territorial and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) disputes in the East China (ECS) and South China Sea (SCS) involving China, with a focus on how these disputes may affect U.S. strategic and policy interests.
State Department Special Envoy, Representative, and Coordinator Positions: Background and Congressional Actions
This report provides background on the use of special envoys, representatives, and coordinators (primarily within the foreign affairs arena; for the most part, interagency positions are not included). It identifies various temporary positions, their purpose, and existing authorities. The report presents commonly articulated arguments for and against the use of these positions and issues for Congress going forward. The scope of this report is limited to the special envoy and related positions identified by the Department of State in a 2017 report to Congress and additional selected positions identified by CRS. This report may be updated to reflect congressional action.
Options to Cease Implementing the Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report analyzes some of the options the Trump Administration might use to end or alter U.S. implementation of the Iran Nuclear Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), if there is a decision to do so. These options, which might involve use of procedures in the JCPOA itself or the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (P.L. 114-17), are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Some potential implications of Administration decisions on the JCPOA are analyzed as well.
Cuba: U.S. Policy in the 115th Congress
This report discusses the recent developments in the Cuba's political and economic environment. It also discusses the U.S. - Cuba relations and U.S. policy toward Cuba.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Afghanistan's government and political structure, ongoing security and defense issues, U.S. assistance to the Afghan military, U.S. humanitarian and economic aid, human rights issues, regional relations, and economic development.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
This report discusses the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) which is a presidential advisory body consisting of nine cabinet members, two ex officio members, and other members appointed by the President to oversee direct investments by foreign countries in the United States. The President has the power to block a direct investment by another country if such an acquisition would pose a threat to U.S. national security. The basics of the committee's operations and laws governing their conduct and power, presidential blocks of investment, previous reforms to the original law governing the committee and its actions and current propositions in Congress to further amend the laws regarding the committee are discussed.
Lebanon
This report provides an overview of Lebanon and current issues of U.S. interest. It provides background information, analyzes recent developments and key policy debates, and tracks legislation, U.S. assistance, and recent congressional action. Topics discussed include politics, security challenges, Hezbollah and its wars and power, economic issues, and refugees in Lebanon from Syria.
Turkey: Erdogan's Referendum Victory Delivers "Presidential System"
This report discuses the Turkish referendum results regarding creating a presidential system through the abolishment of the position of prime minister and a strengthening of the power of the presidency. Possible irregularities, reactions of other countries to the results, and possible effects of the changes on Turkish government and President Erdogan's power are also discussed.
Serbia: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides a brief overview of Serbia's political and economic systems and conditions, their relations with Kosovo, the EU, Russia, and the U.S. and efforts to increase border security in response to the refugee and migrant crisis of 2015 and to combat terrorism.
Redeploying U.S. Nuclear Weapons to South Korea: Background and Implications in Brief
This report provides background information on the deployment of nuclear weapon systems in South Korea in the past, explores the options that might be available for the redeployment of nuclear weapons to South Korea now to deter the North Korean threat, and discusses the potential implications of doing so for South Korea, North Korea, Japan, and the U.S.
U.S. Role in the World: Background and Issues for Congress
This report presents background information and issues for Congress on the overarching U.S. foreign policy issue of the U.S. role in the world. Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration's intentions regarding the future U.S. role, and have intensified an ongoing debate among foreign policy specialists, strategists, policymakers, and the public about what that role should be.
Election in Germany
This report gives a brief overview of the 2017 chancellorship election campaign in Germany where Chancellor Angela Merkel is running for her 4th term in office. The major political parties and issues in the campaign are discussed as well as possible effects on U.S. relations with Germany.
Cuba: U.S. Policy in the 115th Congress
This report discusses the relations between U.S. and Cuba after President Raúl Castro succeeded his long-ruling brother Fidel Castro in 2006.
Iran's Foreign and Defense Policies
This report gives a overview of Iran's defense policies and programs and foreign policy. Regions covered are the Near East, South and Central Asia,Russia, Europe, East Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the United States. Iran's nuclear programs and security issues are also discussed.
Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy
This report outlines Iran's political structure and current leaders, human rights issues, and past and current U.S. relations with Iran.
Venezuela: Background and U.S. Policy
This report discusses the ongoing political, economic, and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela under President Nicolás Maduro and U.S. responses to it. It provides an overview of the political, economic, and social challenges Venezuela faces and analyzes U.S. policy concerns and actions regarding democracy and human rights, drug trafficking and money laundering, terrorism, and energy issues in Venezuela. The section on democracy and human rights includes U.S. support for OAS efforts regarding Venezuela. Proposals in the 115th Congress regarding Venezuela are also discussed.
Kosovo: Background and U.S. Relations
This report provides a brief overview of Kosovo and U.S. relations with Kosovo. Topics covered include Kosovo's political situation, economy, relations with Serbia and the EU, matters related to the 2015-2016 migrant crisis in Europe, terrorism recruitment concerns and efforts to combat radicalization. and recent developments in their relations with the U.S.
Kurds in Iraq Propose Controversial Referendum on Independence
This report discusses the proposed Kurdish independence referendum set for September 25, 2017 and the opposition of the Iraqi and U.S. government to holding it at that time.
Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Bahrain's governmental structure and political climate, the 2011 uprising against the royal family and continued dissent, its alliance with Saudi Arabia, U.S. military forces in Bahrain, and human rights concerns.
Attack on U.S. Soldiers in Niger: Context and Issues for Congress
This report discusses an attack on U.S. Special Operation Forces assisting local military forces in Niger in counterterrorism efforts which killed four U.S. military personnel and wounded two as well as killing several Niger military personnel. The U.S. response to the attack, the growing threat of Islamic extremism and terrorism in the Sahel of Africa, and terrorism and political and social instability in Niger are also discussed.
Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations in Brief
This report provides information and analysis on Turkish interventions in Syria and relationship with Kurdish groups and how the United States's alliance with the Kurds in Iraq has strained relations between the two countries. Domestic issues in Turkey related to the recent constitutional referendum, President Erdogan's increasing authoritarianism, and their relations with Russia are also addressed.
Iran's Foreign and Defense Policies
This report gives a overview of Iran's defense policies and programs and foreign policy. Regions covered are the Near East, South and Central Asia,Russia, Europe, East Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the United States. Iran's nuclear programs and security issues are also discussed.
Recent Developments in U.S. Aid to Egypt
This report discusses recent controversies over U.S. aid to Egypt and various announcements and threats to cut aid off due to Egypt's passage of a strict regulatory law for NGO's and possible ties with North Korea.