Current Politics and Economics of the Middle East

Articles

Vol. 6, No. 4, 2015

Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations *
IntroductionIran ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970. Article III of the treaty requires non-nuclear-weapon states-parties1 to accept comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards; Tehran concluded a comprehensive...
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Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions *
OverviewThe regime of economic sanctions against Iran is arguably the most complex the United States and the international community have ever imposed on a rogue state. Iran's economy was once integrated into world trade, markets, and banking. As relations...
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Iran Sanctions *
Overview and ObjectivesU.S. sanctions have been a major feature of U.S. Iran policy since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, but U.N. and worldwide bilateral sanctions on Iran are a relatively recent (post-2006) development. Many of the U.S. sanctions reinforce...
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Nuclear Agreement between Iran and the P5+1 Group: The Impact of This Agreement on the Non-Proliferation Regime
IntroductionThe Iran's nuclear program has been a controversial issue within the international community since 2003, when it was revealed that a clandestine enrichment facility has been built in Natanz, and a research heavy-water reactor is under construction...
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The Iranian Nuclear Program and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action
The History of the Iran's Nuclear ProgramAccording to Morales Pedraza (2012), Iran interest in the use of nuclear energy for electricity production dates back more than 60 years ago. In 1955, the first discussion on developing a nuclear power program...
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Vol. 6, No. 3, 2015

Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights *
The latest violence has exposed weaknesses in the 800,000 person Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) in the absence of direct U.S. military involvement in Iraq. The ISF and informal security structures put in place during the U.S. intervention in Iraq in 2003-2011...
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U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel *
OverviewFor decades, the United States and Israel have maintained strong bilateral relations based on a number of factors, including robust domestic U.S. support for Israel and its security; shared strategic goals in the Middle East; a mutual commitment...
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From War to Deterrence? Israel-Hezbollah Conflict since 2006 *
FOREWORDThe 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah has generated a vast amount of academic and military studies, including a number from the Strategic Studies Institute. Specifically, authors have tried to identify the new patterns of warfare through...
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Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response *
SUMMARYFighting continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fighting amongst themselves. Since March 2011, the conflict has driven more than 2.6 million...
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Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response *
SUMMARYThe ongoing conflict that began in March 2011 in Syria has created one of the most pressing humanitarian crises in the world. Three years later, as of early March 2014, an estimated 9.3 million people inside Syria, nearly half the population,...
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Vol. 6, No. 2, 2015

Jordan 2013 Human Rights Report *
U.S. Department of State; Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and LaborSECTION 1. RESPECT FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE PERSON, INCLUDING FREEDOM FROMa. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of LifeThere were no reports of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life....
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Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations *
OVERVIEWDespite conflict on its borders, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan appears to remain a relatively stable and reliable partner for the United States in the Arab world. Jordan's strategic importance to the United States may be increasing given the...
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Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response *
U.S. Assistance and PrioritiesThe United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance and is part of the massive, international humanitarian operation in parts of Syria and in neighboring countries. Beginning in FY2012, through March 13, 2014,...
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2014 Investment Climate Statement - Jordan *
1. OPENNESS TO AND RESTRICTIONS UPON FOREIGN INVESTMENTJordan is largely open to foreign investment. Jordan acceded to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in April 2000. In addition, the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Area Agreement (FTA) entered into force in...
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Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response *
SUMMARYFighting continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fighting amongst themselves. Since March 2011, the conflict has driven more than 2.6 million...
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Vol. 6, No. 1, 2015

Non-Oil Exports and Gdp: Evidence from Iran
(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)1. INTRODUCTIONThere is an increasing interest in analyzing the relationship between non-oil export and economic growth especially in the oil exporting countries. Theoretically, it has been argued that a change...
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Afghanistan: Politics, Elections, and Government Performance *
OVERVIEW: HISTORIC PATTERNS OF AFGHAN AUTHORITY AND POLITICSAfghanistan's governing structure has historically consisted of a weak central government unwilling or unable to enforce significant financial or administrative mandates on all of Afghanistan's...
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The United Arab Emirates (Uae): Issues for U.S. Policy *
GOVERNANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND REFORM1The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (principalities): Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the federation; Dubai, its free-trading commercial hub; and the five smaller and less wealthy emirates...
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Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations *
INTRODUCTION AND ISSUES FOR CONGRESSAs global challenges to U.S. interests have changed over time, U.S. relations with Turkey-an important North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally since the Cold War era-have evolved. Congress plays an active role...
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Vol. 5, No. 4, 2014

Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations*
INTRODUCTION AND ISSUES FOR CONGRESSAs global challenges to U.S. interests have changed over time, U.S. relations with Turkey-an important North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally since the Cold War era-have evolved. Congress plays an active role...
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Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights*
OVERVIEW OF THE POST-SADDAM POLITICAL TRANSITIONA U.S.-led military coalition, in which about 250,000 U.S. troops participated, crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq on March 19, 2003. Turkey refused to allow any of the coalition force to move into...
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Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy*
Government and Political Reform1Kuwait's optimism after the 2003 fall of its nemesis, Saddam Hussein, soured after the January 15, 2006, death of Amir (mler) Jabir Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah. Since then, Kuwait has lurched from one political crisis to the...
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Vol. 5, No. 3, 2014

The Palestinians: Background and U.S. Relations*
ISSUES FOR CONGRESSCongress plays a significant role in U.S. policy toward the Palestinians. Since the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993, Congress has committed more than $5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians. From FY2008 to the present,...
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Israel: Background and U.S. Relations*
*This is an edited, reformatted and augmented version of a Congressional Research Service publication, No. RL33476, dated February 28, 2014.INTRODUCTIONU.S.-Israel defense, diplomatic, and economic cooperation has been close for decades. U.S. policy...
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U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel*
OVERVIEWFor decades, the United States and Israel have maintained strong bilateral relations based on a number of factors, including robust domestic U.S. support for Israel and its security; shared strategic goals in the Middle East; a mutual commitment...
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Vol. 5, No. 2, 2014

Armed Conflict in Syria: Overview and U.S. Response *
OverviewFighting continues across Syria, pitting government forces and their foreign allies against a range of anti-government insurgents, some of whom also are fighting amongst themselves. Government forces are fighting on multiple fronts and have lost...
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Syria: Overview of the Humanitarian Response *
U.S. Assistance and PrioritiesThe United States is the largest donor of humanitarian assistance and is part of the massive, international humanitarian operation in parts of Syria and in neighboring countries. In FY2012 and as of February 1, 2014, the...
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Afghanistan: Post-Taliban Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy *
BACKGROUNDAfghanistan has a history of a high degree of decentralization, and resistance to foreign invasion and occupation. Some have termed it the -graveyard of empires."From Early History to the 19th CenturyAlexander the Great conquered what is now...
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Vol. 5, No. 1, 2014

Iran-North Korea-Syria Ballistic Missile and Nuclear Cooperation*
INTRODUCTIONCongress has at times expressed concern regarding ballistic missile and nuclear programs in Iran, North Korea, and Syria. For decades, most in Congress have viewed these three countries with unease because these programs, coupled with the...
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Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations*
INTRODUCTIONIran ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970. Article III of the treaty requires non-nuclear-weapon states-parties1 to accept comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards; Tehran concluded a comprehensive...
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Iran Sanctions*
OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVESU.S. sanctions have been a major feature of U.S. Iran policy since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, but U.N. and worldwide bilateral sanctions on Iran are a relatively recent (post-2006) development. Many of the U.S. sanctions reinforce...
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Iran: U.S. Economic Sanctions and the Authority to Lift Restrictions*
OVERVIEWThe regime of economic sanctions against Iran is arguably the most complex the United States and the international community have ever imposed on a rogue state. Iran's economy was once integrated into world trade, markets, and banking. As relations...
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Achievements of and Outlook for Sanctions on Iran*
Interim Nuclear Deal of 2013Sanctions have been eased temporarily under an interim nuclear deal of November 2013 ("Joint Plan of Action," JPA), which included a commitment from the United States to impose no new nuclear-related sanctions for the JPA...
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Vol. 4, No. 4, 2013

The United Arab Emirates (Uae): Issues for U.S. Policy *
GOVERNANCE, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND REFORM1The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven emirates (principalities): Abu Dhabi, the oil-rich capital of the federation; Dubai, its free-trading commercial hub; and the five smaller and less wealthy emirates...
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Bahrain: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy *
THE POLITICAL STRUCTURE, REFORM, AND HUMAN RIGHTS1The site of the ancient Bronze Age civilization of Dilmun, Bahrain was a trade hub linking Mesopotamia and the Indus value until a drop in trade from India caused the Dilmun civilization to decline around...
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Oman: Reform, Security, and U.S. Policy *
INTRODUCTIONOman is located along the Arabian Sea, on the southern approaches to the Strait of Hormuz, across from Iran. Except for a brief period of Persian rule, Omanis have remained independent since expelling the Portuguese in 1650. The Al Said monarchy...
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Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy *
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL REFORM1Kuwait's optimism after the 2003 fall of its nemesis, Saddam Hussein, soured after the January 15, 2006, death of Amir (ruler) Jabir Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah. Since then, Kuwait has lurched from one political crisis to...
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Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations *
OVERVIEWDespite the growing instability in neighboring states Syria, Egypt, and Iraq, Jordan has not experienced mass unrest and its government remains arguably the most reliable partner for the United States in the Arab world. Though youth-led protests...
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Vol. 4, No. 3, 2013

Armed Conflict in Syria: U.S. and International Response*
ASSESSMENTThe conflict in Syria poses increasingly complex and difficult policy questions for Congress and the Obama Administration. The popular-uprising- turned-armed-rebellion against the Asad regime is in its third year, and seems poised to continue,...
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Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights*
OVERVIEW OF THE POST-SADDAM POLITICAL TRANSITIONA U.S.-led military coalition, in which about 250,000 U.S. troops participated, crossed the border into Iraq on March 19, 2003. After several weeks of combat, the regime of Saddam Hussein fell on April...
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Syria's Chemical Weapons: Issues for Congress*
POLICY ISSUESThe Syrian case may be the first time the international community has faced a civil war in a state with a known stockpile of chemical weapons. This contingency raises two major policy concerns: whether the Asad regime would use chemical...
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Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance*
INTRODUCTION1Experts commonly list Pakistan among the most strategically important countries for U.S. policy makers. The 113th Congress is grappling with troubled and even deteriorated U.S.-Pakistani relations, as well as the need to balance Pakistan's...
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Vol. 4, No. 2, 2013

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses*
POLITICAL HISTORYIran is a country of about 75 million people, located in the heart of the Persian Gulf region. The United States was an ally of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (-the Shah"), who ruled from 1941 until his ouster in February...
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Iran Sanctions*
OVERVIEW AND OBJECTIVESU.S. sanctions have been a major feature of U.S. Iran policy since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, but U.N. and worldwide bilateral sanctions on Iran are a relatively recent (post-2006) development. Many of the U.S. sanctions reinforce...
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Vol. 4, No. 1, 2013

Israel: Background and U.S. Relations*
INTRODUCTIONU.S.-Israel defense, diplomatic, and economic cooperation has been close for decades. U.S. policymakers often consider Israel's security as they make policy choices in the region. Israel has relied on U.S. support for its defense posture,...
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Israel: 2013 Elections Preview*
INTRODUCTION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR CONGRESSIsraeli electoral outcomes for Congress and other U.S. policymakers may have important ramifications for many issues, including the following: ** Overall U.S.-Israel Relations: Actual and perceived costs and...
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U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel*
OVERVIEWFor decades, the United States and Israel have maintained strong bilateral relations based on a number of factors, including robust domestic U.S. support for Israel and its security; shared strategic goals in the Middle East; a mutual commitment...
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Arab League Boycott of Israel*
BACKGROUNDThe Arab League is an umbrella organization comprising 22 Middle Eastern and African countries and entities. Arab League members are Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman,...
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Turkey: Background and U.S. Relations*
INTRODUCTION AND ISSUES FOR CONGRESSAs global challenges to U.S. interests have changed over time, U.S. relations with Turkey-an important ally since the Cold War era-have evolved. Congress appropriates relatively small amounts of military and security...
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Vol. 3, No. 4, 2012

THE SAUDI-IRANIAN RIVALRY AND THE FUTURE OF MIDDLE EAST SECURITY *, [Dagger]
INTRODUCTIONSaudi Arabia and Iran have viewed themselves as serious rivals for influence in the Middle East, particularly the Gulf area, at least since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution and the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, when Riyadh provided strong diplomatic...
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Saudi Arabia Country Profile *
Flag of Saudi Arabia.Official Name: Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.GEOGRAPHYArea: 2,149,690 sq. km. (829,995 sq. mi.), slightly more than one-fifth the size of the continental United States.Cities (2009 est.): Capital-Riyadh (pop. 4.7 million). Other cities-Jeddah...
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Iran Country Profile *
Flag of Iran.Official Name: Islamic Republic of Iran.GEOGRAPHYArea: 1.6 million sq. km. (636,295 sq. mi., slightly larger than Alaska).Arable land: 9.78% of the country.Cities: Capital-Tehran. Other cities-Isfahan, Tabriz, Mashhad, Shiraz, Yazd, Qom.Terrain:...
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Vol. 3, No. 3, 2012

The Israeli Immigration Policy: Some Lessons from the Last Wave of Mass Immigration from the Former Soviet Union
PARADOXES OF THE ISRAELI LAW OF RETURNImmigration laws determine who may and may not immigrate to a country. Such laws express (both manifestly and obliquely) the goals of the host country, i.e. what is its purpose in receiving immigrants. In Israel,...
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ISRAEL'S BLOCKADE OF GAZA, THE MAVI MARMARA INCIDENT, AND ITS AFTERMATH [Dagger] *
BACKGROUND ON THE BLOCKADEIsrael withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, but retained control of the territory's borders. Hamas emerged as the predominant force in the territory. In January 2006, Hamas won the Palestinian Authority (PA) legislative elections...
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Turkey: Background and United States Relations *
INTRODUCTION AND ISSUES FOR CONGRESSTurkey has been an important ally for the United States since the Cold War era. As global challenges to U.S. interests have changed over time, U.S. relations with Turkey have evolved. During that time, Turkey has experienced...
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Turkey-United States Defense Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges *
INTRODUCTION: ISSUES FOR CONGRESSThe United States enjoys a strong legacy of defense cooperation with Turkey, both bilaterally and in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), dating from the onset of the Cold War. For both countries, mutual cooperation...
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Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012

Pakistan-United States Relations: Asummary *
OVERVIEWA stable, democratic, prosperous Pakistan actively combating religious militancy is considered vital to U.S. interests. U.S. concerns regarding Pakistan include regional and global terrorism; efforts to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan; nuclear...
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Pakistan: United States Foreign Assistance *
INTRODUCTION1Experts commonly list Pakistan among the most strategically important countries for U.S. policy makers. The 112th Congress will likely grapple with balancing Pakistan's importance to U.S. national security interests and domestic budgetary...
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Pakistan: United States Foreign Aid Conditions, Restrictions, and Reporting Requirements *
CONTEXT: RECENT TURMOIL IN U.S.-PAKISTAN RELATIONSPakistan has long been a leading recipient of U.S. foreign aid despite contentious issues in the bilateral relationship. Following the May 2011 U.S. commando raid in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden,...
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Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues *
BACKGROUNDChronic political instability in Pakistan and Islamabad's military efforts against the Taliban and al-Qaeda have raised concerns about the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Some observers fear that Pakistan's strategic nuclear assets...
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Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012

Israel's Offshore Natural Gas Discoveries Enhance Its Economic and Energy Outlook *
INTRODUCTIONIsrael's energy sector is set to undergo significant changes that could transform the country into an exporter of natural gas. Development of three recently discovered natural gas fields-Tamar, Dalit, and Leviathan (see Figure 1)-is projected...
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Israel: Background and U.S. Relations *
RECENT DEVELOPMENTSResponse to the Situation in Egypt1For more than 30 years, the United States and Israel have based their core assumptions about the basic stability of the Middle East and the absence of major Israeli-Arab conventional warfare on the...
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The Palestinians: Background and United States Relations *
ISSUES FOR CONGRESSCongress plays a significant role in U.S. policy toward the Palestinians. It has approved expanded levels of aid (a total of more than $2 billion) to the Palestinians since Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas appointed...
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Palestinian Initiatives for 2011 at the United Nations *
OVERVIEW OF PALESTINIAN INITIATIVE AND CONGRESSIONAL INTEREST1Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas cites a lack of progress on the two-decades-old peace process with Israel as the driving...
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U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians *
INTRODUCTION: ISSUES FOR CONGRESSU.S. aid to the Palestinians is intended to forward at least three major U.S. policy priorities of interest to Congress:* Combating, neutralizing, and preventing terrorism against Israel from the Islamist group Hamas...
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Vol. 2, No. 4, 2011

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS* King Abdullah Proposes New Reforms. In a nationally televised speech on June 12, 2011, King Abdullah II proposed that in the future, parliamentary majorities would be able to form governments rather than the king himself.1 He offered...
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Lebanon: Background and United States Relations *
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS* Najib Miqati appointed Prime Minister. On January 25, Hezbollah and its allies nominated former Prime Minister Najib Miqati to replace Hariri as Prime Minister. Miqati was approved by a parliamentary vote of 68 in favor to 60 opposed...
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Iraq: Politics, Elections, and Benchmarks *
OVERVIEW OF THE POLITICAL TRANSITION/ FIRST ELECTIONSIraq has completed a formal political transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to a plural polity that encompasses varying sects and ideological and political factions. That transition has...
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Iraq: Politics, Governance, and Human Rights *
OVERVIEW OF THE POLITICAL TRANSITION/FIRST ELECTIONSIraq has completed a political transition from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein to a plural polity that encompasses varying sects and ideological and political factions. That transition has been accomplished...
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Vol. 2, No. 3, 2011

Unrest in Syria and U.S. Sanctions against the Asad Regime *
UPRISING AND CRACKDOWN IN SYRIAFor a full account of recent events and an assessment of their implications, see "Current Status."Overview: Syria's Changing Political Landscape and Repercussions for U.S. PolicyThe Asad family has ruled Syria since 1970....
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Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations *
INTRODUCTIONIran ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970. Article III of the treaty requires non-nuclear-weapon states-parties1 to accept comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards; Tehran concluded a comprehensive...
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Iran Sanctions *
OVERVIEWThe Obama Administration's policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration's by attempting to couple the imposition of sanctions to U.S. negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue. However, with negotiations yielding...
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Vol. 2, No. 2, 2011

Iran Sanctions *
OVERVIEWThis report analyzes various U.S. sanctions in place against Iran, and their relationship to each other as well as to U.N. sanctions imposed since 2006 because of Iran's continued nuclear program development. A particular focus of this report...
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Kuwait: Security, Reform, and U.S. Policy *
GOVERNMENTAL CHANGES AND POLITICAL REFORM [1]Kuwait's optimism after the 2003 fall of its nemesis, Saddam Hussein, has soured since the January 15, 2006, death of Amir (ruler) Jabir Ahmad al-Jabir Al Sabah. His successor, Shaykh Sa'ad bin Abdullah Al...
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Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses *
POLITICAL HISTORYThe United States was an ally of the late Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (-the Shah"), who ruled from 1941 until his ouster in February 1979. The Shah assumed the throne when Britain and Russia forced his father, Reza Shah Pahlavi...
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Iran's Nuclear Program: Tehran's Compliance with International Obligations *
INTRODUCTIONIran ratified the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1970. Article III of the treaty requires non-nuclear-weapon states-parties [1] to accept comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards; Tehran concluded a comprehensive...
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Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. Relations *
RECENT DEVELOPMENTSThe House and Senate approved the FY20 10 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 3288); Section 7041 of the act prohibits the obligation or expenditure of funds appropriated by the act for Saudi Arabia, subject to a national security...
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Vol. 2, No. 1, 2011

Yemen: Background and U.S. Relations *
COUNTRY OVERVIEWLocated at the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is an impoverished Arab country with a population of 23.8 million. The country's rugged terrain and geographic isolation, strong tribal social structure, and sparsely settled...
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Israel and the Palestinians: Prospects for a Two-State Solution *
ISSUE OVERVIEWCurrent DiplomacyFollowing leadership changes in the United States and Israel in early 2009 and the Israel-Hamas Gaza conflict in December 2008-January 2009, the inconclusive final-status peace negotiations that took place between Israel...
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Iran: Regional Perspectives and U.S. Policy *
INTRODUCTION: U.S. AND REGIONAL INTERESTS [1]As the Administration and Congress move forward to pursue engagement, harsher sanctions, or both, regional actors are evaluating their policies and priorities with respect to Iran. Iran's neighbors share many...
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U.S. Foreign Aid to the Palestinians *
INTRODUCTIONSince the signing of the Oslo Accord in 1993 and the establishment of limited Palestinian self- rule in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the mid-1990s, the U.S. government has committed over $3.5 billion in bilateral assistance to the Palestinians.This...
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