After experiencing serious unrest during the late 1990s, Bahrain undertook several steps to enhance the inclusion of the Shiite majority in governance. However, the Sunni-led government's efforts to maintain its tight grip on power have stirred new unrest among Bahraini Shiites in advance of October 23, 2010, parliamentary elections. That election, no matter the outcome, would not produce a new executive, but achievement of a Shiite majority in the elected lower house could give the opposition greater authority with which to challenge the ruling Al Khalifa family. In advance of the elections, the government has launched a wave of arrests intended to try to discredit some of the hardline Shiite leadership as fomenters of violence and tools of Iran. The crackdown has perhaps contributed to increasing Shiite popular protests in advance of the elections. Underlying the unrest are Bahraini concerns that Iran is supporting Shiite opposition movements, possibly in an effort to install a Shiite led, pro-Iranian government on the island. These fears are occasionally reinforced by comments from Iranian editorialists and political leaders that Bahrain should never have become formally independent of Iran. On the other hand, Bahrain's Shiite oppositionists accuse the government of inflating the Iran threat, and the contacts between Iran and the opposition, to discredit the opposition politically. At the same time, Bahrain's rulers have tried to avoid inviting Iranian aggression, in part by signing energy agreements with Iran and by allowing Iranian banks and businesses to operate there. Bahrain has also sought to dissuade Bahraini journalists and officials from publicly criticizing Iran.
Pres. Obama shares the goals of the previous Admin. to contain Iran¿s strategic capabilities and regional influence, but he has formulated approaches that differ from those of its predecessor ¿ i.e. through expanded direct diplomatic engagement with Iran. Contents of this report: (1) Political History; (2) The Supreme Leader, His Powers, and Other Ruling Councils; The Pres: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; (3) Human Rights and Dissent; (4) Iran¿s Strategic Capabilities and Weapons of Mass Destruction; (5) Foreign Policy and Support for Terrorist Groups; (6) Policy During the Clinton and George Bush Admin.; Overview of Obama Admin. Policy; Containment and Possible Mil. Action; Regime Change; Further International and Multilateral Sanctions; U.S. Sanctions.
The UAE¿s relatively open borders, economy, and society have won praise from advocates of expanded freedoms in the Middle East while producing financial excesses, social ills such as prostitution and human trafficking, and relatively lax controls on sensitive technologies acquired from the West. Contents of this report: (1) Governance, Human Rights, and Reform: Status of Political Reform; Human Rights-Related Issues; (2) Cooperation Against Terrorism and Proliferation; (3) Foreign Policy and Defense Cooperation With the U.S.: Regional Issues; Security Cooperation with the U.S.: Relations With Iran; Cooperation on Iraq; Cooperation on Afghanistan and Pakistan; U.S. and Other Arms Sales; UAE Provision of Foreign Aid; (4) Economic Issues.
Iran is subject to one of the most stringent U.S. sanctions regimes of any country in the world. Many of these sanctions overlap each other as well as the several U.N. sanctions imposed since 2006 because of Iran's nuclear program development. A particular focus of legislation in the 110th and 111th Congress has been to expand the provisions of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) to apply to additional types of business with Iran. That law has caused differences of opinion between the United States and its European allies ever since its adoption in 1996 because it mandates U.S. imposition of sanctions on foreign firms. The Obama Administration's overall policy approach toward Iran has contrasted with the Bush Administration by actively engaging Iran in negotiations on the nuclear issue, rather than focusing only on increasing sanctions on Iran. That approach was not dramatically altered in the immediate aftermath of the Iranian dispute over its June 12, 2009, elections. However, the Administration expressed its intention to join its partners and other countries in imposing "crippling" new U.N. sanctions if Iran did not return to multilateral nuclear talks by late September 2009. That deadline was later amended to the end of 2009, to allow time to reach an agreement with Iran to implement an October 1, 2009, framework to send out most of its enriched uranium to France and Russia for reprocessing (for later medical use). Because Iran has not accepted the details of this framework, the United States, the other P5+1 countries, and other nations who believe that Iran needs to be further pressured are discussing further U.N. sanctions against Iran. The Administration has been increasingly less vocal about engagement with Iran since late 2009. Instead, the Administration has taken certain administrative steps (e.g., modifying regulations to allow U.S. Internet software to reach Iran) that appear to support a congressional trend to try to help the domestic opposition.
Overall frequency of violence in Iraq is down to levels not seen since 2003, yet insurgents are still able to conduct high profile attacks in several major cities. These attacks have not caused a modification of the announcement by Pres. Obama that all U.S. combat brigades would be withdrawn by 8/31/10. Contents of this report: (1) Policy in the 1990s Emphasized Containment; (2) Post-9/11: Regime Change and War; (3) Post-Saddam Transition and Governance; (4) Econ. Reconstruction and U.S. Assistance; (5) Security Challenges and Responses; (6) Iraq Study Group Report, Legis. Proposals, and Options for the Obama Admin.; (7) Stepped Up Internat. and Regional Diplomacy; (8) Reorg. the Political Structure, and ¿Federalism; (9) Econ. Measures. Map.
The Bush Administration has said that the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in April 2003 will ease the security challenges the Persian Gulf region faces. The US-led war has ended Iraq's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and virtually ended any Iraqi conventional military threat to the region. However, some of the Persian Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates) fear that Iraq might no longer serve as a strategic counterweight to Iran and they fear that pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim groups might obtain a major share of power in post-war Iraq. Substantial administration concern remains about Iran's WMD programs, particularly what appear to be rapid advances in its nuclear program, and the potential for Iran to transfer that technology or materiel to the terrorist groups it supports. Over the longer term, with Iraq no longer a major power and the United States likely to sharply reduce its Gulf presence once Iraq is stabilised, the Gulf states might try to fashion a new security architecture for the Gulf that is based more on regional states and less on the United States. On the other hand, a reduction of the U.S. military presence in the Gulf might benefit the Gulf states by easing internal opposition to close co-operation with the United States. This new book presents the latest issues of the post war Persian Gulf states.