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Iran Sanctions

Description: There appears to be a growing international consensus to adopt progressively strict economic sanctions against Iran to try to compel it to compromise on its further nuclear development. The U.S. view - increasingly shared by major allies-is that sanctions should target Iran's energy sector, which provides about 80% of government revenues, and try to isolate Iran from the international financial system. U.S. efforts to curb international energy investment in Iran's energy sector began in 1996 with the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA). ISA has been expanded significantly in 2010. This report discusses said expansions, provides background on the ISA, and explores how this Act has affected
Date: October 7, 2010
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Russian Political, Economic, and Security Issues and U.S. Interests

Description: This report discusses the current political and economic conditions in Russia, focusing on the impact of Vladimir Putin's leadership and the leadership of his successor/protégé, Dmitriy Medvedev, both of which have steered Russia away from progress toward democratization. The report also discusses the state of the economy since the Soviet collapse in 1999, how the recent global economic downturn has affected Russia, the state of Russia's military, and the current relationship between Russia and the United States.
Date: November 4, 2010
Creator: Nichol, Jim

Japan-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the relationship between the United States and Japan, including Japanese efforts to support the U.S. in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and the two countries' economic ties, especially with regards to the recent economic downturn. This report also discusses the general political atmosphere of Japan, including the recent and ongoing political turmoil in Tokyo.
Date: October 6, 2010
Creator: Chanlett-Avery, Emma; Cooper, William H. & Manyin, Mark E.

The European Parliament

Description: The European Parliament (EP) is one of the three key institutions of the European Union (EU), and the only EU institution whose members are directly elected. This report discusses the construction and history of the EP, its role in functions of the EU as well as internationally, various international supports and criticisms of the EP, and the EP's ties with the U.S. Congress.
Date: November 5, 2010
Creator: Archick, Kristin & Mix, Derek E.

Islam: Sunnis and Shiites

Description: The majority of the world's Muslim population follows the Sunni branch of Islam, and approximately 10%-15% of all Muslims follow the Shiite (Shi'ite, Shi'a, Shia) branch. Shiite populations constitute a majority in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, and Azerbaijan. Sunnis and Shiites share most basic religious tenets. However, their differences sometimes have been the basis for religious intolerance, political infighting, and sectarian violence. This report includes a historical background of the Sunni-Shiite split and discusses the differences in religious beliefs and practices between and within each Islamic sect as well as their similarities. The report also relates Sunni and Shiite religious beliefs to discussions of terrorism and sectarian violence that may be of interest to Congress.
Date: November 9, 2010
Creator: Blanchard, Christopher M.

Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance

Description: This report discusses the current political state of Afghanistan, as well as the Afghan government. This report also discusses Afghanistan's relationship with the United States, particularly U.S. efforts to urge President Hamid Karzai, to address corruption within the Afghan government. The report also includes discussion of election fraud and corruption in Afghanistan.
Date: October 13, 2010
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks

Description: Iraq's political system, the result of a U.S.-supported election process, has been increasingly characterized by peaceful competition, as well as by attempts to form cross-sectarian alliances. However, ethnic and factional infighting continues, sometimes involving the questionable use of key levers of power and legal institutions. This report discusses the current political climate of Iraq and also explores speculations as to what will happen after U.S. troops completely withdraw from the region at the end of 2011.
Date: October 4, 2010
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Unauthorized Alien Students, Higher Education, and In-State Tuition Rates: A Legal Analysis

Description: Currently, federal law prohibits states from granting unauthorized aliens certain postsecondary educational benefits on the basis of state residence, unless equal benefits are made available to all U.S. citizens. This prohibition is commonly understood to apply to the granting of "in-state" residency status for tuition purposes. In the 110th Congress, several bills that would amend this federal law have been introduced. Meanwhile, some states have passed laws aimed at making unauthorized state residents eligible for in-state tuition without violating this provision. This report provides a legal overview of cases involving immigrant access to higher education, as well as an analysis of the legality of state laws that make in-state tuition rates available to illegal immigrants.
Date: September 21, 2010
Creator: Feder, Jody

Navy Aegis Cruiser and Destroyer Modernization: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: The Navy has begun a multi-billion dollar program to modernize its 84 existing Aegis cruisers and destroyers over a period of more than 20 years. This report explores this program in detail, including the reasons for the program and the oversight issues it poses for Congress. This report will be updated as events warrant.
Date: September 28, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq

Description: The Kurdish-inhabited region of northern Iraq is relatively peaceful and prospering economically, but the Iraqi Kurds' political autonomy and political strength in post- Saddam Iraq is causing friction with Arab leaders in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. However, an overall reduction in violence in Iraq, coupled with continued U.S. political influence over the Kurds, is likely to prevent a destabilizing escalation of the Iraqi Kurd-Arab disputes. Also see CRS Report RL31339, Iraq: Post-Saddam Governance and Security, by Kenneth Katzman.
Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Katzman, Kenneth

Navy Irregular Warfare and Counterterrorism Operations: Background and Issues for Congress

Description: This report discusses the U.S. Navy's efforts in recent years to strengthen its ability to carry out irregular warfare (IW) counterterrorism (CT) activities. Some of the activities and organizations explored in this report are the creation of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC), the Navy's riverine force, the Navy Irregular Warfare Office, and the Global Maritime Partnership. The report also discusses what potential oversight issues the Navy's IW and CT activities pose for Congress, including budget priorities.
Date: October 22, 2010
Creator: O'Rourke, Ronald

The European Union: Questions and Answers

Description: This report provides a brief overview of the European Union (EU), an economic and political partnership between 27 sovereign member states. The report describes the formation of the EU, the three main institutions of the EU, and the EU's relationship with the United States.
Date: November 5, 2010
Creator: Archick, Kristin & Mix, Derek E.

China's Currency: An Analysis of the Economic Issues

Description: This report provides an overview of the economic issues surrounding the current debate over China's currency policy. It identifies the economic costs and benefits of China's currency policy for both China and the United States, and possible implications if China were to allow its currency to significantly appreciate or to float freely. It also examines proposed legislation in the 111th Congress that seek to address China's currency policy.
Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc

China's Currency: An Analysis of the Economic Issues

Description: This report provides an overview of the economic issues surrounding the current debate over China's currency policy. It identifies the economic costs and benefits of China's currency policy for both China and the United States, and possible implications if China were to allow its currency to significantly appreciate or to float freely. It also examines proposed legislation in the 111th Congress that seek to address China's currency policy.
Date: October 29, 2010
Creator: Morrison, Wayne M. & Labonte, Marc