Oman: Politics, Security, and U.S. Policy

The Sultanate of Oman has been a strategic partner of the United States since 1980, when it became the first Persian Gulf state to sign a formal accord permitting the U.S. military to use its facilities. Oman has hosted U.S. forces during every U.S. military operation in the region since then, and it is a… Continue Reading Oman: Politics, Security, and U.S. Policy

Turkey: Background, U.S. Relations, and Sanctions

Some specific Turkish actions have raised questions about Turkey’s commitment to NATO and overall strategic orientation. In 2019, Turkey’s incursion into northeastern Syria and acceptance of components for a Russian S-400 surface-to-air defense system have brought bilateral tensions to crisis levels, and contributed to Trump Administration sanctions on Turkey and the possibility of additional sanctions… Continue Reading Turkey: Background, U.S. Relations, and Sanctions

Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options

U.S.-Iran relations have been mostly adversarial—but with varying degrees of intensity—since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. U.S. officials have consistently identified Iran’s support for militant Middle East groups as a significant threat to U.S. interests and allies, and Iran’s nuclear program took precedence in U.S. policy after 2002 as that program advanced. In 2010,… Continue Reading Iran: Internal Politics and U.S. Policy and Options

Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy

  A 2011 uprising by a mostly Shia opposition to the Sunni-minority-led regime of Bahrain’s Al Khalifa ruling family has subsided, but punishments of oppositionists and periodic demonstrations continue. The uprising did not achieve its goal of establishing a constitutional monarchy, but the unrest has compelled the ruling family to undertake some modest reforms. Elections… Continue Reading Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy

US Foreign Aid to Israel

This report provides an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to Israel. It includes a review of past aid programs, data on annual assistance, and analysis of current issues. Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. To date, the United States has provided Israel $142.3 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted,… Continue Reading US Foreign Aid to Israel

Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies

  Iran’s national security policy is the product of many overlapping and sometimes competing factors such as the ideology of Iran’s Islamic revolution, perception of threats to the regime and to the country, long-standing national interests, and the interaction of the Iranian regime’s factions and constituencies. Iran’s leadership: * Seeks to deter or thwart U.S.… Continue Reading Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies

U.S.-Iran Tensions and Implications for U.S. Policy

  Since May 2019, U.S.-Iran tensions have escalated. The Trump Administration, following its 2018 withdrawal from the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA), has taken several steps in its campaign of applying “maximum pressure” on Iran. Iran and Iran-linked forces have targeted commercial ships and infrastructure in U.S. partner… Continue Reading U.S.-Iran Tensions and Implications for U.S. Policy

Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Kuwait has been pivotal to the decades-long U.S. effort to secure the Persian Gulf region because of its consistent cooperation with U.S. military operations in the region and its key location in the northern Gulf. Kuwait and the United States have a formal Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA), under which the United States maintains over 13,000… Continue Reading Kuwait: Governance, Security, and U.S. Policy

Five Conundrums: The United States and the Conflict in Syria

For the past 8 years, two U.S. administrations, the United Nations (UN), and numerous foreign governments have sought to end the catastrophic war in Syria and reach a negotiated political settlement to the conflict. Their efforts have repeatedly been complicated, even thwarted, by the highly contested and violent politics underlying the conflict, the sheer number… Continue Reading Five Conundrums: The United States and the Conflict in Syria

Recommendations for Success in Afghanistan

    The United States will soon enter the 18th year of combat operations in Afghanistan. During that time, multiple approaches to stabilize the country have been tried, including support to regional security initiatives, “nation-building,” counterinsurgency, counternarcotics, counterterrorism, and “train and equip.” The constellation of anti-government elements known collectively as the Taliban continues to refuse… Continue Reading Recommendations for Success in Afghanistan