Search Penny Hill Press

Loading...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Coast Guard Polar Icebreaker Modernization: Background, Issues, and Options for Congress


Ronald O'Rourke
Specialist in Naval Affairs

Coast Guard polar icebreakers perform a variety of missions supporting U.S. interests in polar regions. The Coast Guard’s two heavy polar icebreakers—Polar Star and Polar Sea—have exceeded their intended 30-year service lives, and neither is currently in operational condition. The Polar Star was placed in caretaker status on July 1, 2006. Congress in FY2009 and FY2010 provided funding to repair Polar Star and return it to service for 7 to 10 years; the Coast Guard expects the reactivation project to be completed in December 2012. On June 25, 2010, the Coast Guard announced that Polar Sea had suffered an unexpected engine casualty and consequently would likely be unavailable for operation until at least January 2011.

The Coast Guard’s third polar icebreaker—Healy—entered service in 2000. Compared to Polar Star and Polar Sea, Healy has less icebreaking capability (it is considered a medium polar icebreaker), but more capability for supporting scientific research. The ship is used primarily for supporting scientific research in the Arctic.

The Coast Guard’s FY2012 budget proposes decommissioning Polar Sea in FY2011 and transitioning its crew to the reactivated Polar Star. The resulting U.S. polar icebreaking fleet would consist of Polar Star and Healy.

A 2007 report from the National Research Council (NRC) on the U.S. polar icebreaking fleet stated that “U.S. [polar] icebreaking capability is now at risk of being unable to support national interests in the north and the south.” The Coast Guard has stated since 2008 that it is studying how many polar icebreakers, with what capabilities, it will need in the future.

Following any decision to design and build one or more new polar icebreakers, the first replacement polar icebreaker might enter service in 8 to 10 years. The Coast Guard estimated in February 2008 that new replacement ships might cost $800 million to $925 million each in 2008 dollars, and that the alternative of extending the service lives of Polar Sea and Polar Star for 25 years might cost about $400 million per ship. In August 2010, the Commandant of the Coast Guard, Admiral Robert Papp, reportedly estimated the cost of extending their lives at about $500 million per ship.

Potential issues for Congress regarding Coast Guard polar icebreaker modernization include the potential impact on U.S. polar missions of the United States currently having no operational heavy polar icebreakers; the length of time that the Coast Guard has been studying requirements for polar icebreakers; the numbers and capabilities of polar icebreakers the Coast Guard will need in the future; whether to provide these icebreakers through construction of new ships or service life extensions of existing polar icebreakers; and whether new ships should be funded entirely in the Coast Guard budget, or partly or entirely in some other part of the federal budget, such as the Department of Defense (DOD) budget, the National Science Foundation (NSF) budget, or both.



Date of Report: June 8, 2011
Number of Pages: 62
Order Number: RL34391
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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sudan: The Crisis in Darfur and Status of the North-South Peace Agreement


Ted Dagne
Specialist in African Affairs

Sudan, geographically the largest country in Africa, has been ravaged by civil war intermittently for four decades. More than 2 million people have died in Southern Sudan over the past two decades due to war-related causes and famine, and millions have been displaced from their homes. In July 2002, the Sudan government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) signed a peace framework agreement in Kenya. On January 9, 2005, the government of Sudan and the SPLM signed the final peace agreement at a ceremony held in Nairobi, Kenya. In April 2010, Sudan held national and regional elections. In January 2011, South Sudan held a referendum to decide on unity or independence. Abyei was also expected to hold a referendum in January 2011 to decide whether to retain the current special administrative status or to be part of South Sudan. The Abyei referendum did not take place. In the Southern referendum, 98.8% voted for independence and 1.17% for unity. In late May 2011, Sudan government forces dissolved the joint Abyei Administration and invaded the town, displacing more than 100,000 people in the Abyei area.

The crisis in Darfur began in February 2003, when two rebel groups emerged to challenge the National Congress Party (NCP) government in Darfur. The crisis in Darfur in western Sudan has led to a major humanitarian disaster, with an estimated 1.9 million people displaced, more than 240,000 people forced into neighboring Chad, and an estimated 450,000 people killed. In July 2004, the House and Senate declared the atrocities in Darfur genocide, and the Bush Administration reached the same conclusion in September 2004. On May 4, 2006, the Government of National Unity and the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) signed the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) after almost two years of negotiations. In 2010, the SLM pulled out of the government and joined other rebel groups. As of May 2011, no agreement has been reached between the government and Darfur rebel groups.

In July 2007, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1769, authorizing the deployment of a robust peacekeeping force to Darfur. The resolution calls for the deployment of 26,000 peacekeeping troops to Darfur and authorizes the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to take all necessary measures to protect its personnel and humanitarian workers. As of April 30, 2011, UNAMID deployed a total of 23,129 peacekeeping personnel. As of April 2011, 89 peacekeeping personnel have been killed in Darfur. In July 2008, International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo accused President Omar Bashir of Sudan of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and on March 4, 2009, the ICC Pre- Trial Chamber issued a warrant of arrest for President Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In late October 2009, the Obama Administration announced a new Sudan policy. The policy focuses on three policy priorities: the crisis in Darfur, the implementation of the North-South peace agreement, and counter-terrorism. The new policy links the lifting of sanctions and incentives to verifiable progress on the ground. In mid-September, the Obama Administration announced new policy initiatives on Sudan. The new policy update focuses on the Administration’s active and expanded diplomatic engagement and relaxation of sanctions and restrictions. On March 31, 2011, President Obama appointed Ambassador Princeton Lyman as Special Envoy for Sudan.



Date of Report: June 15, 2011
Number of Pages: 42
Order Number: RL33574
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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

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, 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 June, there are an estimated 5,000 Ugandan peacekeeping troops in Somalia. As of June 2011, more than 50 Ugandan and Burundian peacekeeping forces have been killed. In early June 2011, six peacekeepers were killed, including a senior Ugandan officer.

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: June 8, 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, June 22, 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, Jordan 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 coalition air strikes and defections. His forces continue to attack opposition-held areas. Some opposition figures have formed an Interim Transitional National Council (TNC), 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 June 6, NATO 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 May 5, the Italy and Qatar co-chaired the second meeting of the intergovernmental Libya Contact Group, and endorsed terms of reference for a temporary financial mechanism to support the TNC and the unfreezing of seized assets for humanitarian costs. Qatar, Italy, Kuwait, France, and others have formally recognized the TNC as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people. 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. On March 21 and May 20, President Obama sent letters to Congress outlining U.S. military objectives and operations, but not explicitly seeking congressional authorization. House and Senate resolutions now seek to further define the goals and limits of future U.S. engagement.

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 long term consequences of military operations and political intervention.



Date of Report: June 6, 2011
Number of Pages: 51
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.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Morocco: Current Issues


Alexis Arieff
Analyst in African Affairs

The United States government views Morocco as an important ally against terrorism and a free trade partner. Congress is particularly interested in Morocco because it is a recipient of considerable U.S. foreign assistance for counterterrorism and socioeconomic development, including a five-year, $697.5 million Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) aid program agreed to in 2007. Morocco is also a significant purchaser of U.S. defense articles.

King Mohammed VI retains supreme political power in Morocco, but has taken some liberalizing steps with uncertain effects. In early March 2011, amid a series of ongoing political protests that have coincided with demonstrations across the region, the king announced a broad reform plan, including constitutional changes to strengthen the legislature and judiciary, and the creation of an independent National Council Human Rights. The constitutional reforms are expected to be drafted by a commission selected by the king, then voted on by citizens in a referendum. The protests, which have been largely peaceful, have continued, however, with some activists criticizing the king’s control over the reform process and calling for more radical changes to the political system. Authorities have tolerated many of the protests, but in some cases security forces have used violence to disperse demonstrators and have beaten prominent activists. Senior U.S. officials have expressed strong support for the government’s reform efforts.

Morocco’s comprehensive approach to countering terrorism involves security measures, economic reforms, control of religious outlets, education, and international cooperation. Morocco experienced devastating terrorist attacks in 2003, and Moroccan nationals have been implicated in attacks and plots overseas. In April 2011, after years without a domestic attack, a bomb exploded at a popular tourist cafĂ© in Marrakesh, killing 17 people, mostly Europeans. Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), considered the greatest regional threat, has not mounted a successful attack in Morocco and denied responsibility for the April Marrakesh bombing. However, individual Moroccans have joined AQIM outside of the country and the group has reportedly attempted to use Moroccan territory as a transit point for transnational smuggling operations.

Morocco’s human rights record is uneven. A number of abuses have been documented along with constraints on freedom of expression. At the same time, the 2004 Family Code is a landmark initiative that could improve the socioeconomic rights of women if fully implemented. The king has also sought to provide a public record of abuses perpetrated before he ascended the throne in 1999 and to enhance the rights of ethnic Berbers (Amazigh/Imazighen), the original inhabitants of the region. In 2010, questions about religious freedom arose when foreign Christians were expelled for illegal proselytizing, sparking criticism by some Members of Congress.

Morocco’s foreign policy focuses largely on France, Spain, and the United States. Morocco’s relations with its neighbor Algeria are troubled by the unresolved dispute over the Western Sahara, a territory south of Morocco that Morocco largely occupies and views as an integral part of its national territory. Algeria supports the POLISARIO Front in its quest for the region’s selfdetermination. Recent signals, however, indicate that Moroccan-Algerian relations may be warming. Relations between Morocco and Israel are strained, though at the same time, 600,000 Moroccan Jews are citizens of Israel. Morocco severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2009.

See also CRS Report RS20962, Western Sahara, by Alexis Arieff; and CRS Report RS21464, Morocco-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, by Raymond J. Ahearn



Date of Report: May 27, 2011
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: RS21579
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.