Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Nigeria: Elections and Issues for Congress


Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs

Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer of oil and its largest democracy, is one of the U.S. government’s key strategic partners on the continent. It is Africa’s most populous country, with over 150 million people, roughly half Muslim and half Christian, and its second-largest economy. Diplomatic relations with Nigeria, which is regularly the fourth- or fifth-largest oil exporter to the United States, are strong, and the country is a major recipient of U.S. foreign assistance. After 16 years of military rule, Nigeria made the transition to civilian governance in 1999, and the country emerged as a powerful actor in African politics. The government has mediated disputes in several African countries, and the country ranks fourth among troop contributors to U.N. peacekeeping missions.

Nigeria faces serious social and economic challenges, however, that some analysts contend threaten both the stability of the state and the region, and which have the potential to affect global oil markets. The country today is relatively stable, but it has faced intermittent political turmoil and economic crises since gaining independence in 1960. Political life has been scarred by conflict along ethnic, religious, and geographic lines, and misrule has undermined the authority and legitimacy of the state. Nigeria’s oil and natural gas revenues are estimated at over $60 billion per year, but its human development indicators are among the world’s lowest, and a majority of the population suffers from extreme poverty. The Nigerian government relies on the oil sector for over 85% of revenues. By some estimates, Nigeria could rank among the world’s top five exporters of oil within a few years, but social unrest, criminality, and corruption in the country’s oil-producing Niger Delta region have cut output by one-fifth since 2006.

Inter-communal conflicts in parts of the country are common. Resentment between the northern and southern regions, and among communities in central Nigeria, has led periodically to considerable unrest and displacement. Thousands have been killed and many more wounded in periodic ethno-religious clashes in the past decade. Perceived ethnic and religious differences have been politicized by some political elites. The attempted terror attack on an American airliner by a Nigerian in December 2009, and the resurgence of a militant Islamist group, Boko Haram, have also heightened concerns regarding the possible radicalization of African Muslims. A series of recent bombings led the government to adopt new anti-terrorism measures in early 2011.

Nigeria’s April 2011 elections have been viewed by many as a critical test of the government’s commitment to democracy. The State Department referred to the previous elections, in 2007, as deeply flawed, and some contended that Nigeria had not held a free and fair general election since the return to civilian rule. The findings of election observer groups are still preliminary, but most have characterized the 2011 elections as a significant improvement over previous polls, although not without problems. Post-election violence across the north has highlighted lingering communal tensions, grievances, and mistrust. President Goodluck Jonathan, who was re-elected, faces mounting, and at times competing, internal and external pressure to implement reforms deemed critical to addressing corruption and other development and security challenges.

The Obama Administration has been supportive of Nigeria’s recent reform initiatives, including anti-corruption efforts, economic and electoral reforms, energy sector privatization, and programs to promote peace and development in the Niger Delta. In 2010, the Administration established a U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission, a strategic dialogue to address these and other issues of mutual concern. Congress regularly monitors political developments in Nigeria and has expressed concerns with corruption and human rights abuses. Congress also provides oversight for over $600 million in U.S. foreign assistance programs in the country.



Date of Report: May 17, 2011
Number of Pages: 36
Order Number: RL33964
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Libya: Unrest and U.S. Policy


Christopher M. Blanchard
Acting Section Research Manager

Over 40 years ago, Muammar al Qadhafi led a revolt against the Libyan monarchy in the name of nationalism, self-determination, and popular sovereignty. Opposition groups citing the same principles are now revolting against Qadhafi to bring an end to the authoritarian political system he has controlled in Libya for the last four decades. The Libyan government’s use of force against civilians and opposition forces seeking Qadhafi’s overthrow sparked an international outcry and led the United Nations Security Council to adopt Resolution 1973, which authorizes “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians. The United States military is participating in Operation Unified Protector, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military operation to enforce the resolution. Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and other partner governments also are participating. Qadhafi and his supporters have described the uprising as a foreign and Islamist conspiracy and are attempting to outlast their opponents. Qadhafi remains defiant amid continuing coalition air strikes, and his forces continue to attack opposition-held areas. Some opposition figures have formed an Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC), which claims to represent all areas of the country. They seek foreign political recognition and material support.

Resolution 1973 calls for an immediate cease-fire and dialogue, declares a no-fly zone in Libyan airspace, and authorizes robust enforcement measures for the arms embargo on Libya established by Resolution 1970 of February 26. As of April 21, U.S. military officials reported that U.S. and coalition strikes on Libyan air defenses, air forces, and ground forces had neutralized the ability of Muammar al Qadhafi’s military to control the country’s airspace. Coalition forces target pro- Qadhafi ground forces found to be violating Resolution 1973 through attacks that threaten civilians. President Obama has said the United States will not introduce ground forces, and Resolution 1973 forbids “a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” On April 14, the United Kingdom and Qatar co-chaired the first meeting of the intergovernmental Libya Contact Group, and the group agreed to develop a mechanism for providing financial support to the ITNC. Qatar, Italy, Kuwait, France, and others have formally recognized the ITNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. Some reports suggest that some Contact Group members have begun supplying defensive weaponry to opposition forces. The United States and others continue to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced persons.

Until recently, the United States government was pursuing a policy of reengagement toward Qadhafi after decades of confrontation, sanctions, and Libyan isolation. While U.S. military operations continue, Obama Administration officials highlight a number of non-military steps the U.S. government has taken to achieve Qadhafi’s ouster, such as new targeted sanctions established in Executive Order 13566. Some Members of Congress expressed support for U.S. military intervention prior to the adoption of Resolution 1973, while others disagreed or called for the President to seek explicit congressional authorization prior to any use of force. Some executive-legislative consultation occurred prior to the start of U.S. military operations, and, on March 21, President Obama sent a letter to Congress outlining U.S. military objectives and operations, but not explicitly seeking congressional authorization. Several House and Senate resolutions now seek to further define the goals and limits of future U.S. engagement in Libya.

Many observers believe that Libya’s weak government institutions, potentially divisive political dynamics, and current conflict suggest that security challenges could follow the current uprising, regardless of its outcome. In evaluating U.S. policy options, Congress may seek to better understand the roots and nature of the conflict in Libya, the views and interests of key players, and the potential consequences of military operations and other proposals under consideration.



Date of Report: April 25, 2011
Number of Pages: 42
Order Number: RL33142
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Uganda: Current Conditions and the Crisis in North Uganda


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In February 2006, Ugandans voted in the first multi-party elections in almost 26 years. President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Revolutionary Movement (NRM) parliamentary candidates won a decisive victory over opposition candidate Kizza Besigye and the Forum for Democracy Coalition. Nevertheless, poll results showed a notable decline in support for President Museveni from previous elections. International election observers did not condemn the election results, nor did they fully endorse the electoral process. Critics charged the government with intimidating the opposition during the pre-election period, and Besigye spent much of the campaign period in jail. The election followed a controversial move by the Ugandan parliament in July 2005 to remove the constitutional two-term limit on the presidency. In February 2011, Ugandans voted in presidential and parliamentary elections. President Museveni won 68% of the vote, while his nearest opponent, Kizza Besigye, won 26% of the vote. In April 2011, a number of opposition leaders, including Besigye, were arrested after multiple “walk to work” demonstrations.

In the north, the government of Uganda has long fought the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an armed rebel group backed by the government of Sudan. Through over 20 years of civil war, the brutal insurgency has created a humanitarian crisis that has displaced over 1.5 million people and resulted in the abduction of over 20,000 children. In 2006-2008, the government of Uganda and the LRA were engaged in an effort to resolve the conflict peacefully. The government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) mediated the talks. In August 2006, the government of Uganda and the LRA signed a Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. In February 2008, the parties agreed on a Permanent Ceasefire and amended the Agreement on Accountability and Reconciliation and Agreement on Comprehensive Solutions. However, the leader of the LRA, Joseph Kony, failed to show up for the final signing of the agreement on a number of occasions. The cessation of hostilities has allowed an estimated 1.4 million people to return to their homes. In November 2007, an LRA delegation went to Kampala for the first time and held talks with senior Ugandan officials. In late 2007, Vincent Otti, the deputy commander of the LRA, reportedly was killed in Uganda by Joseph Kony, the head of the LRA. In December 2009, the deputy commander of the LRA, Bok Abudema, was killed by Ugandan forces in Central African Republic. In 2009 and 2010, a number of senior commanders have been killed or captured or have defected. In late November 2010, the Obama Administration announced a “Strategy to Support the Disarmament of the LRA”, as called for in P.L. 111-172.

In late October 2007, President Museveni visited Washington, DC, and met with President Bush and other senior Administration officials. President Museveni also met with several Members of Congress. During his visit, President Museveni discussed a wide range of issues, including U.S.- Uganda relations, the crises in Somalia and Darfur, trade, and HIV/AIDS. Uganda deployed an estimated 2,700 peacekeeping troops to Somalia, shortly after Ethiopian forces invaded Mogadishu and installed the Transitional Federal Government (TFG). As of July 2010, more than 20 members of the Ugandan peacekeeping forces have been killed. In late November 2010, President Museveni visited Mogadishu, Somalia.

On July 11, 2010, the Somali terrorist group Al-Shabaab carried out multiple suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda. An estimated 76 people, including one American, were killed and more than 80 injured. The United Nations, the African Union, and the United States condemned the terrorist attacks. More than 20 suspects are currently in prison.



Date of Report: April 29, 2011
Number of Pages: 40
Order Number: RL33701
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Piracy off the Horn of Africa


Lauren Ploch
Analyst in African Affairs

Christopher M. Blanchard
Analyst in Middle Eastern Affairs

Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

R. Chuck Mason
Legislative Attorney

Rawle O. King
Specialist in Financial Economics and Risk Assessment


Pirate attacks in the waters off Somalia and the Horn of Africa, including those on U.S.-flagged vessels, have brought renewed international attention to the long-standing problem of maritime piracy. According to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), at least 219 attacks occurred in the region in 2010, with 49 successful hijackings. Somali pirates have attacked ships in the Gulf of Aden, along Somalia’s eastern coastline, and outward into the Indian Ocean. Using increasingly sophisticated tactics, these pirates now operate as far east as the Maldives in good weather, and as far south as the Mozambique Channel. Hostage taking for ransom has been a hallmark of Somali piracy, and the IMB reports that more hostages, over 1,180, were taken at sea in 2010 than any year since records began; over 86% of those were taken by Somali pirates.

The increase in pirate attacks off the Horn of Africa is directly linked to continuing insecurity and the absence of the rule of law in war-torn Somalia. The absence of a functioning central government there provides freedom of action for pirates and remains the single greatest challenge to regional security. The lack of law enforcement capacity creates a haven where pirates hold hostages during ransom negotiations that can last for months. Some allege that the absence of Somali coastal security authorities has allowed illegal international fishing and maritime dumping to go unchecked, which in turn has undermined coastal communities’ economic prospects, providing economic or political motivation to some pirates. The apparent motive of most pirate groups, however, is profit, and piracy has proven to be lucrative. Somalia’s “pirate economy” has grown substantially in the past two years, with ransoms now averaging more than $5 million. These revenues may further exacerbate the ongoing conflict and undermine regional security.

The annual cost of piracy to the global economy ranges between $7 and $12 billion, by some estimates. The U.N Security Council has issued a series of resolutions since 2008 to facilitate an international response, which is coordinated by a multilateral Contact Group. The Council has authorized international navies to counter piracy both in Somali territorial waters and ashore, with the consent of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG), and has also authorized, as an exemption to the U.N. arms embargo on Somalia, support for the TFG security forces.

Counter-piracy patrols by multinational naval forces near Somalia are intended to compliment mariners’ self-protection measures. Increased patrols and proactive efforts by ships have reduced attacks in the Gulf of Aden, but the U.N. Secretary-General warns that “while the effectiveness of naval disruption operations has increased and more pirates have been arrested and prosecuted, this has not stopped piracy. The trend of the increased levels of violence employed by the pirates as well as their expanding reach is disconcerting.” Some suggest that a perception of impunity exists among pirates and financiers; nine out of ten Somali pirates apprehended by naval patrols are reportedly released because no jurisdiction is prepared to prosecute them.

The United States has sought to prevent, disrupt, and prosecute Somali piracy through a range of interagency and multilateral coordination and enforcement mechanisms. The Obama Administration has initiated a new “dual track” policy toward Somalia, where some contend that international efforts to build a credible central authority have failed. Congress has examined options to address piracy both diplomatically and militarily. Congress appropriates funding and provides oversight for policy initiatives with implications for piracy in the region, including maritime security assistance to regional governments, support to peacekeeping operations in Somalia, and funding for U.S. Navy operations. Congress continues to debate options for addressing pirate safe havens and improving the prospects for prosecution of pirate suspects.



Date of Report: April 27, 2011
Number of Pages: 47
Order Number: R40528
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.

Rwanda: Background and Current Developments


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

In 2003, Rwanda held its first multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections in decades. President Paul Kagame of the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) won 95% of the votes cast, while his nearest rival, Faustin Twagiramungu, received 3.6% of the votes cast. In the legislative elections, the ruling RPF won 73% in the 80-seat National Assembly, while the remaining seats went to RPF allies and former coalition partners. In September 2008, Rwanda held legislative elections, and the RPF won a majority of the seats. Rwandese women are now the majority in the National Assembly. In October 2008, the National Assembly elected Ms. Mukantabam Rose as the first female speaker of the Assembly. In August 2010, Rwanda held its general elections and President Kagame won 93% of the votes cast.

In Rwanda, events of a prior decade are still fresh in the minds of many survivors and perpetrators. In 1993, after several failed efforts, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and the government of Rwanda reached an agreement in Tanzania, referred to as the Arusha Peace Accords. The RPF joined the Rwandan government as called for in the agreement. In April 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, along with several senior government officials, were killed when their plane was shot down as it approached the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. Shortly after, the Rwandan military and a Hutu militia known as the Interhamwe began to systematically massacre Tutsis and moderate Hutu opposition members. In the first 10 weeks of the Rwandan genocide, an estimated 1 million people, mostly Tutsis, were slaughtered by government forces and the Interhamwe militia. In July 1994, the RPF took over power and later formed a coalition government.

In late 2008, the governments of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) agreed on a wide range of issues. The two governments agreed to launch a joint military offensive against the National Congress for the Defense of the Congolese People (CNDP) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). They also agreed to restore full diplomatic relations and to activate economic cooperation. In January 2009, Rwanda and Congo launched a joint military operation in eastern Congo. In late February 2009, Rwandese troops pulled out of Congo as part of the agreement with the Kabila government. In October 2009, Ugandan authorities arrested a top genocide suspect, Idelphonse Nizeyimana. He was later transferred to Tanzania to stand trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.



Date of Report: April 29, 2011
Number of Pages: 12
Order Number: R40115
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at
http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail
Penny Hill Press  or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.