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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests

Jim Nichol
Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs

U.S. policy toward the Central Asian states has aimed at facilitating their cooperation with U.S. and NATO stabilization efforts in Afghanistan and their efforts to combat terrorism, proliferation, and trafficking in arms, drugs, and persons. Other U.S. objectives have included promoting free markets, democratization, human rights, energy development, and the forging of East-West and Central Asia-South Asia trade links. Such policies aim to help the states become what various U.S. administrations have considered to be responsible members of the international community rather than to degenerate into xenophobic, extremist, and anti-Western regimes that contribute to wider regional conflict and instability. 

Soon after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, all the Central Asian "front-line" states offered over-flight and other support for coalition anti-terrorism operations in Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan hosted coalition troops and provided access to airbases. In 2003, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan also endorsed coalition military action in Iraq. About two dozen Kazakhstani troops served in Iraq until late 2008. Uzbekistan rescinded U.S. basing rights in 2005 after the United States criticized the reported killing of civilians in the town of Andijon. In early 2009, Kyrgyzstan ordered a U.S. base in that country to close, allegedly because of Russian inducements and U.S. reluctance to meet Kyrgyz requests for greatly increased lease payments. An agreement on continued U.S. use of the "transit center" was reached in June 2009. In 2009, most of the regional states also agreed to become part of a Northern Distribution Network for the transport of U.S. and NATO supplies to Afghanistan. The status of the "transit center" was in doubt after an April 2010 coup in Kyrgyzstan, but the new leadership soon stated that the "transit center" arrangement would remain in place. 

Policymakers have tailored U.S. policy in Central Asia to the varying characteristics of these states. U.S. interests in Kazakhstan have included securing and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear and biological weapons materials and facilities. U.S. energy firms have invested in oil and natural gas development in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and successive administrations have backed diverse export routes to the West for these resources. U.S. policy toward Kyrgyzstan has long included support for its civil society. In Tajikistan, the United States pledged to assist in its economic reconstruction following that country's 1992-1997 civil war. U.S. relations with Uzbekistan—the most populous state in the heart of the region—were cool after 2005, but recently have improved. Since the 2008 global economic downturn, more U.S. humanitarian, health, and education assistance has been provided to hard-struck Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. 

The second session of the 111th Congress is likely to continue to be at the forefront in advocating increased U.S. ties with Central Asia, and in providing backing for the region for the transit of equipment and supplies for U.S.-led stabilization efforts in Afghanistan. Congress is likely to pursue these goals through hearings and legislation on humanitarian, economic, and democratization assistance, security issues, and human rights. Ongoing congressional interests are likely to include boosting regional border and customs controls and other safeguards to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), combat trafficking in persons and drugs, encourage regional integration with South Asia and Europe, advance energy security, and counter terrorism. Support for these goals also contributes to stabilization and reconstruction operations by the United States and NATO in Afghanistan. For several years, Congress has placed conditions on assistance to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan—because of concerns about human rights abuses and lagging democratization—which have affected some U.S. security ties. Congress will continue to consider how to balance these varied U.S. interests in the region.


Date of Report: August 10, 2010
Number of Pages: 48
Order Number: RL33458
Price: $29.95

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Turkmenistan: Recent Developments and U.S.Interests

Jim Nichol
Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs


This report examines the political, economic, and foreign policies undertaken by Turkmenistan's

President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, who came to power in late 2006. The report discusses

U.S. policy and assistance and provides basic facts and biographical information. Related

products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications

for U.S. Interests.


Date of Report: August 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 12
Order Number: 97-1055
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.

Kyrgyzstan: Recent Developments and U.S.Interests

Jim Nichol
Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs


This report examines Kyrgyzstan's uneven political and economic reform efforts. It discusses

U.S. policy and assistance for democratization and other programs and provides basic facts and

biographical information. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia:

Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol.


Date of Report: August 13, 2010
Number of Pages: 16
Order Number: 97-690
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.

Uzbekistan: Recent Developments and U.S.Interests

Jim Nichol
Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs


Uzbekistan is a potential Central Asian regional power by virtue of its relatively large population,

energy and other resources, and location in the heart of the region. However, it has failed to make

progress in economic and political reforms, and many observers criticize its human rights record.

This report discusses U.S. policy and assistance and basic facts and biographical information are

provided. Related products include CRS Report RL33458, Central Asia: Regional Developments

and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol.


Date of Report: August 12, 2010
Number of Pages: 14
Order Number: RS21238
Price: $29.95

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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, August 13, 2010

Health-Related Issues in Russia and Eurasia: Context and Issues for Congress

Jim Nichol
Specialist in Russian and Eurasian Affairs


After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, all the newly independent Eurasian states faced economic dislocations, conflicts and population shifts, and more porous borders that contributed to rising communicable and non-communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS and drug addiction. At the same time, the inherited healthcare systems were obsolete and unable to cope with existing health problems, let alone new challenges. 

Even before the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States provided it with some health assistance to address urgent needs, including vaccines for children. Since then, Eurasian Health issues have received increased U.S. attention. As part of recent concerns, a December 2008 Intelligence Community Assessment highlighted global threats posed to U.S. citizens and interests by increasing infectious diseases and other health problems originating outside U.S. borders, including in Eurasia. The assessment and estimate warned that increased political, military, social, and economic disorder in the Eurasian states could be worsened by the spread of disease and declining health, thereby setting back their democratic and free market reforms, and that such instability might further complicate U.S. arms control cooperation, efforts to contain the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and trade relations. In addition, the assessment and estimate cautioned that Eurasian militaries and populations could face increased ill-health, harming the national security of the Eurasian states and diminishing the effectiveness of the militaries in international peacekeeping. Also, military forces and populations with significant health-related problems could become agents for the spread of diseases among U.S. forces involved in international exercises and training and to the U.S. homeland population. 

After the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the spread of anthrax by mail in the United States later in the year, and the rising global incidence of the West Nile virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), the H5N1 ("bird flu") virus and the H1N1 ("swine flu") virus, there were heightened policy concerns about disease threats to the U.S. homeland. These concerns are increasingly shaping the debate over health policy and aid, including to Eurasia, where the major foci of U.S. policy long have been democratic and economic reforms and arms control, with health aid viewed as complementing reforms and as justified on humanitarian grounds. 

Although U.S. health aid for Eurasia has long been overshadowed by other U.S. aid priorities, it increased as a percentage of all U.S. foreign assistance to Eurasia after FY2002. This report provides an overview of health conditions in the Eurasian states, U.S. aid efforts in recent years, and issues which Congress might consider in providing health assistance to the Eurasian states
.


Date of Report: June 24, 2010
Number of Pages: 34
Order Number: RL30970
Price: $29.95

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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.