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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.
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.
Iran's Foreign and Defense Policies
This report discusses Iran's foreign and defense policies and their motivations. Policies in each area of the world and their nuclear programs are discussed.
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.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report discusses the United Arab Emirates's (UAE) politics and governmental structure, economy, regional foreign policies including their part in the June 2017 isolation of Qatar due to their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, human rights concerns related to the UAE, and U.S. relations with the UAE.
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.
Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Iran's politics and governmental structure, human rights concerns related to Iran, and relations between the U.S. and Iran including President Trump's October 13, 2017 policy statement on Iran.
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.
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.
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.
Qatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report provides an overview of Qatar's governmental structure and leaders, economy, human rights concerns, relations with other Middle Eastern countries, defense cooperation with the U.S., and the recent severing of relations with Qatar by Saudi Arabia and several of its allies such as Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt over its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and alleged state sponsorship of terrorism. The crisis and attempt at mediation by the U.S. and Kuwait are discussed.
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.
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.
Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response
This report discusses the ongoing conflict in Syria and previous actions taken by the United States to intervene in the conflict, mediate peace, and assist refugees as well current considerations related to Syria in Congress.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations
This report provides a brief overview of Iran's nuclear program and describes the legal basis for the actions taken by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) board and the Security Council. It will be updated as events warrant.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Options to Cease Implementing the Iran Nuclear Agreement
This report analyzes some of the options the Administration might use to end or alter U.S. implementation of the 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.
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.
Possible U.S. Policy Approaches to North Korea
This report describes President Trump's current policy toward North Korea and possible options for future U.S. policy. Options include diplomatic engagement, international and U.S. sanction increases, military strikes, destabilization of the North Korean government through intelligence activities and popular resentment, enhanced military cooperation with allies, and additional funding for preventing arms trading and related trade with North Korea.
Quatar: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report outlines Qatar's governmental structure and leaders, economy, human rights issues, their relations with other countries in the region, and U.S. defense partnerships with Qatar.
Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy
This report discusses Afghanistan's historical governments and the activities of the U.S. and other countries during various phases of war against terrorist groups and current U.S. policies in regard to Afghanistan. Topics such as troop numbers, military and governmental strategies, Afghan Army training, developmental aid, the economy, and human rights issues are 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.
Russia: Background and U.S. Policy
This report provides descriptions and background information on Russian government organization and power, the Russian military's role, and U.S. policy toward Russia. Specific topics covered include Russian governmental structures and background, Vladimir Putin's rise to power, human rights concerns, opposition groups, the economy of Russia and the impact of sanctions, the foreign relations of Russia with other countries in Europe, NATO, the EU, China, Syria, and the U.S., the Ukraine conflict and Russian military aggression. U.S. policies toward Russia, U.S. sanctions on Russia, and cyber warfare.
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. Decisions that Congress reaches on this issue could affect U.S. Navy capabilities and funding requirements and the U.S. defense industrial base.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE): Issues for U.S. Policy
This report outlines the United Arab Emirates (UAE) governmental structure, economy, military, foreign policy, human rights issues and U.S. policies and relations with the UAE. Major areas of U.S. policy concerns discussed are the UAE's participation in the war in Yemen supporting Saudia Arabia and the current standoff with Quatar over alleged sponsorship of terrorism by Quatar in relation to the significant amount of U.S. military personnel based in the UAE.
Cuba Sanctions: Legislative Restrictions Limiting the Normalization of Relations
This report outlines the various laws and sections of legislation that govern sanctions against Cuba and how they could be lifted or waived along with background information on the U.S. embargo of Cuba since the 1960s.