for the week ending
February 17, 2012
1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
2. Egypt in the Spotlight
3. Obama Sends FY13 Foreign Affairs Budget to Congress
4. Odds & Ends
1. Bills, Resolutions & Letters
(RED LINES FOR IRAN WAR): S. Res. 380: Introduced 1/16/12 by Sen. Graham (R-SC) and 35 cosponsors, "to express the sense of the Senate regarding the importance of preventing the Government of Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons capability." Text of the resolution is available here. As discussed in last week's Round-Up, introduction of this resolution was delayed due to concerns by many senators that the resolution goes too far. It was finally introduced after days of intense AIPAC lobbying, particularly of what some consider "vulnerable" Democrats (vulnerable in terms of being in races where their pro-Israel credentials are being challenged by the candidate running against them). It was ultimately introduced with 15 Democrats and 21 Republicans (actually 20 plus Joe Lieberman, R-, I mean I-CT) as original cosponsors (along with Graham).
While two substantively minor changes were made to the original text before it was introduced, the numerous and fundamental problems with the resolution remain, including: appearing to argue that Iranian "nuclear weapons capability" is a red line for U.S. military action against Iran (a line that has, arguably, already been crossed); arguing that Iran must stop all enrichment, forever (a demand that cannot be legally made of Iran and a clear non-starter for any possible agreement with Iran, as noted even by Dennis Ross); leaving out almost any mention of diplomacy as an avenue for dealing with Iran; and failing to make clear that this resolution is not an authorization of military action against Iran (something that initiators of the resolution reportedly refused to add).
S. Res. 380 is expected to be a focal point of AIPAC lobbying efforts during the March 2012 conference in Washington, with the usual effort to get all or most of the Senate to cosponsor and then pass the measure by unanimous consent – allowing AIPAC and others to claim that the Senate is clearly unified in support of the resolution's hardline message. APN strongly opposes S. Res. 380 as currently drafted and will be urging members to refuse to cosponsor it or vote for it (or allow it to pass by unanimous consent) without additional significant substantive changes.
For more background on the efforts behind this bill in the Senate, see these articles in The Hill and Politico. For detailed analysis of the specific problems in the resolution, and suggested amendments to fix them, see this excellent analysis from NIAC. For additional reporting on the resolution, including quotes from key senators supporting it, see this piece in the Cable. Lest anyone have any doubt what this resolution is about, see this piece in the Hill about the resolution, which opens as follows: "A bipartisan group of senators said Thursday they will stand by President Obama if he attacks Iran to stop the country's nuclear program…"
Original Republicans cosponsors: Ayotte, R-NH; Boozman, R-AR; Brown, R-MA; Chambliss, R-GA; Coats, R-IN; Collins, R-ME; Cornyn, R-TX; Hatch, R-UT; Heller, R-NV; Hoeven, R-ND; Hutchison, R- TX; Inhofe, R-OK; Isakson, R-GA; McCain, R-AZ; Portman, R-OH; Risch, R-ID; Sessions, R-AL; Snowe, R-ME; Vitter, R-LA; and of course, Joe Lieberman (R-, I mean I-CT). Original Democratic cosponsors: Blumenthal, D-CT; Sherrod Brown, D-OH; Cardin, D-MD; Casey, D-PA; Coons D-DE; Gillibrand, D-NY; McCaskill, D-MO; Menendez, D-NJ; Mikulski, D-MD; Ben Nelson, D-NE; Bill Nelson, D-FL; Pryor D-AR; Schumer, D-NY; Udall, D-CO; and Wyden, D-OR).
(NEW IRAN SANCTIONS) S. 2101: Introduced 2/13/12 by Sen. Johnson (D-SD), "the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Human Rights Act of 2012." This is the sanctions bill that was marked up in the Senate Banking Committee last week (as covered in last week's Round-Up). On 2/12/12, S. 2101 was placed on Senate Legislative Calendar under General Orders. Calendar No. 320.
(SUPPORT FOR SYRIAN OPPOSITION) H. Res. 549: Introduced 2/15/12 by Rep. Ellison (D-MN), "Calling for democratic change in Syria." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. This is identical to S. Res. 370, introduced 2/9/12 by Sen. Casey (D-PA). The text of the resolutions has raised some eyebrows mainly over the 9th resolved clause, which some believe could be read as Congress approving of arming (or providing funds for arming) Syrian opposition groups. The clause reads: "urges the President to support an effective transition to democracy in Syria by identifying and providing substantial material and technical support, upon request, to Syrian organizations that are representative of the people of Syria, make demonstrable commitments to protect human rights and religious freedom, reject terrorism, cooperate with international counterterrorism and nonproliferation efforts, and abstain from destabilizing neighboring countries." S. Res. 370 was considered in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 2/16/12.
(SYRIA) S. Res. 379: Introduced 2/16/12 by Sen. Kerry (D-MA), "condemning violence by the Government of Syria against the Syrian people." On 2/16/12 placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar. Text of the resolution is available here.
(MORE IRAN SANCTIONS) HR 4070: Introduced 2/16/13 by Rep. Turner (R-NY), "To clarify certain provisions relating to the interests of Iran in certain assets, and for other purposes." Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs, Financial Services, and the Judiciary.
(EYGPT NGO CRISIS) S. Res. 372: Introduced 2/14/12 by Sen. Kerry (D-MA) and 3 cosponsors, "A resolution recognizing the importance of the United States-Egypt relationship, and urging the Government of Egypt to protect civil liberties and cease intimidation and prosecution of civil society workers and democracy activists, and for other purposes." On 2/14/12 placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar. For comment on the resolution, see this brief from POMED.
(EGYPT NGO CRISIS/EGYPT AID) S. Amdt. 1541 to S. 1813: Amendment submitted by Sen. Paul (R-KY) to S. 1813 (to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs), to prohibit assistance to Egypt. The amendment is non-germane (entirely unrelated to the substance of S. 1813) and it is redundant (so long as Egypt is targeting U.S. NGOs, aid to Egypt will be blocked under current law, which requires the Secretary of State to certify that the Government of Egypt "is supporting the transition to civilian government including holding free and fair elections; implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, and religion, and due process of law." In an effort to force a floor vote on this amendment, Sen. Paul filibustered the nomination of Adalberto Jose Jordan to be United States Circuit Judge for the Eleventh Circuit (for more on this, see Member on the Record, in Section 4, below). Sen. Paul has posted text and video of his floor speech on Egypt on his website.
(EGYPT NGO CRISIS/TRAVEL WARNING) H. Res. 546: Introduced 2/14/12 by Rep. Schock (R-IL), "Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Department of State should raise the travel advisory for Egypt from the current level of "Travel Alert", in place since November 7, 2011, to "Travel Warning", the highest level of travel security advisory, until all 43 detained nongovernmental organization workers are given the freedom to leave Egypt." Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
(SUPPORTING IRAN DIPLOMACY OVER WAR) Ellison-Jones letter: On 2/15/12, Reps. Ellison (D-MN) and Jones (R-NC) began circulating a Dear Colleague seeking cosigners on a letter to President Obama. The letter articulates support for diplomacy to resolve the crisis over Iran's nuclear program and to prevent another costly war in the Middle East. The letter is supported by both APN and J Street.
(ISRAEL MISSILE DEFENSE FUNDING) Ros-Lehtinen-McKeon letter: On 2/14/12, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. McKeon (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to President Obama urging the President to reconsider the proposed cut in U.S. support for Israeli missile defense programs in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget request.
2. Egypt in the Spotlight
As noted above, this week has seen a number of legislative initiatives aimed at Egypt. In addition to these initiatives, the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) held two hearings this week on Egypt. First, HFAC's Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held a hearing on 2/15/12, entitled "Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt, Part I. A webcast of that hearing is available here (starts at around 28:00). Second, the full HFAC held a hearing 2/16/12 entitled Egypt at a Crossroads, featuring testimony from the heads of four U.S. NGOs whose employees are being targeted for legal prosecution in Egypt. A webcast of that hearing is available here (starts at 16:00).
Prepared testimony submitted by the witnesses at the 2/16/12 hearing, as well as opening statements from key members, are also available online: HFAC Chair Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), HFAC Ranking Member Berman (D-CA), Middle East Subcommittee Ranking Member Ackerman (D-NY), The Honorable Lorne Craner, Mr. Kenneth Wollack, The Honorable David J. Kramer, Ms. Joyce Barnathan
For reporting on the 2/16/12 hearing, see:
Al Arabiya 2/17/12: NGOs tell U.S. Congress Egyptian minister from Mubarak era behind crackdown
CBS 2/17/12: US Lacks a Champion in the New Egypt
Reuters 2/16/11: US democracy groups say Egyptian minister targeted them
Middle East Online 2/16/12: US lawmakers warn US-Egypt ties nearing 'precipice'
Global Post 2/16/12: Congress: NGO chiefs testify on Egypt aid
3. Obama Sends FY13 Foreign Affairs Budget to Congress
On February 13, 2012, President Obama sent his FY13 budget to Congress. This included funding for foreign affairs and international programs – known as Function 150. The summary of the president's FY13 Function 150 request is available here. Middle East funding in the FY13 Function 150 request, per country, is summarized below. Where narrative details are provided in the request, it is included as well.
Note: A footnote on page 52 of the summary states the following: "The Department of State intends to work with Congress to seek legislation that would provide authority to waive restrictions on paying the U.S. assessed contributions to UNESCO. Should the Congress pass this legislation, this funding [requested for International Organizations] is sufficient to cover the FY 2013 UNESCO assessment and the balance of the FY 2012 assessment." This notification of an intent to seek a waiver of the law forcing a cut-off in funding to UNESCO (because it admitted Palestine as a member) immediately drew sharp criticism from Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (who, as it happens, continues to block remaining FY12 funding for humanitarian programs for the Palestinians). Her statement is available here. It should be noted that assessed contributions to UN agencies are not discretionary. If Congress does not provide a waiver enabling the U.S. to pay its assessed contributions to UNESCO, the U.S. will be in violation of its treaty obligations with respect to UN funding. As soon as news broke about the footnote, right-wing pundits began criticizing the move (examples here, here, and here).
Discussion of the UNESCO footnote and other funding challenges in the FY13 Function 150 request are discussed in a 2/13/12 article in the Cable: 5 coming battles over the 2013 international affairs budget
Guide to funding categories: Development Assistance (DA); Economic Support Funds (ESF)
Int'l Narcotics Control & Law Enforcement (INCLE); Migration & Refugee Assistance (MRA); US Emergency Refugee & Migration Assistance fund (ERMA); International Military Education & Training (IMET); Foreign Military Financing (FMF)
FMF: $10 million
ESF: $250 million
INCLE: $7.894 million
IMET: $1.8 million
FMF: $1.3 billion
Explanation of Egypt ESF: "The FY 2013 request will continue our longstanding partnership with Egypt by providing critical assistance during the momentous period surrounding the country's democratic transition. Our programs will seek to support a successful transition to democracy while also assisting the government to address obstacles to sustainable economic growth and recovery. In partnership with the newly elected Egyptian government, U.S. assistance will support the development of democratic institutions; encourage broad-based private-sector growth and job creation through a focus on entrepreneurship, trade, and microenterprise development; build the capacity of civil society; promote democratic reform; and support improvements in education. The request also includes funds and required authorization language for the debt swap initiative's support to visible, high-impact development projects that benefit Egyptians from all segments of society."
Explanation of Egypt INCLE: "Recent unrest in Egypt draws attention to the important role of police reform in Egypt's post-Mubarak transition and the need for effective, democratic security institutions. The Egyptian response to this situation is complicated by a security apparatus that suffers from a credibility deficit with the public, and the need for training and institutional procedures to help build public trust to carry out a new mission of maintaining public security and safety. FY 2013 INCLE assistance will be used to support criminal justice sector reforms in the police and justice sectors to help Egypt develop institutions that are professional, accountable and responsive to the public."
ESF: $262.85 million
IMET: $2 million
(Note: There is additional Iraq funding request in the FY13 budget, under the category "Overseas Contingency Operations")
Explanation of Iraq ESF: "The FY 2013 request will continue to support the President's goal of a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq as the U.S. Government completes the transition from a military to civilian partnership. This request will support capacity building efforts in the central and provincial governments, fund anti-corruption programs, support internally displace populations, and promote broad-based economic growth and diversification, especially by developing Iraq's agriculture sector and strengthening Iraq's private sector economy."
MRA: $15 million (Humanitarian Migrants to Israel)
FMF: $3.1 billion
Explanation of MRA funding for Israel: "This funding will maintain U.S. Government support for relocation and integration of Jewish migrants, including those from the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and Africa, to Israel."
ESF: $360 million
IMET: $3.8 million
FMF: $300 million
Explanation of Jordan ESF: "The FY 2013 request supports the Government of Jordan's capacity to advance its political, economic, and social reform agenda. Programs will encourage political and fiscal reforms, support private sector growth through job creation, build technical capacity of the national and local governments, and increase public participation in political processes. Assistance will include a cross-cutting emphasis on poverty alleviation and youth and will support improvements in basic education, health, and water and sanitation services. Funds will also provide balance of payments support to the Jordanian Government to decrease its international debt."
DA: $19.676 million
INCLE: $1.5 million
ESF: $70 million
INCLE: $15.5 million
IMET: $2.25 million
FMF: $75 million
Explanation of Lebanon ESF: "The FY 2013 request supports Lebanese institutions that advance internal and regional stability, combat the influence of extremists, and promote transparency and economic growth. These goals support a peaceful Middle East and a direct enhancement of U.S. national security. The request includes assistance to promote Lebanon's sovereignty and stability by strengthening credible and capable public institutions, and project support that will improve the quality of life for ordinary Lebanese and promote economic prosperity across sectarian lines. The United States continues to closely monitor developments in Lebanon, in particular the Government of Lebanon's adherence to international obligations and the rule of law. The program continues to emphasize the funding of non-governmental organizations."
Explanation of Lebanon INCLE: "Support for Lebanon's security forces is a key component of U.S. efforts to strengthen the institutions of the Lebanese state, promoting stability and security in both Lebanon and the region. FY 2013 funding will be used to provide technical assistance and advice to the Internal Security Forces (ISF) to increase their professionalism and continue their orientation toward the protection of, and service to, the Lebanese population, while continuing to improve country-wide perceptions of the ISF as a professional, non-sectarian institution. The program will also continue to improve the capacity of the ISF to exert sovereign authority throughout Lebanese territory, including in Palestinian refugee camps, which are critical to the successful implementation of UNSCR 1701."
IMET: $1.71 million
FMF: $8 million
IMET: $2.05 million
FMF: $8 million
ESF: $10 million
INCLE: $8 million
IMET: $2.3 million
FMF: $15 million
Explanation of ESF for Tunisia: "The FY 2013 request continues critical assistance mobilized to assist the Tunisians in laying the foundation for a stable and prosperous democratic Tunisia. Contributing to Tunisia's democratic and economic evolution advances U.S. interests in a number of ways by helping to build a locally legitimate example of responsive and accountable governance, economic prosperity, and regional stability. The FY 2013 request expands and regularizes funding for continued support for governance, civil society, youth political and socio-economic engagement; academic linkages; and financial regulation reform activities that the U.S. Government initiated shortly after the revolution."
Explanation of Tunisia INCLE: "Under former President Ben Ali, the police, courts, and prisons were used by the government as a tool to silence and intimidate regime opposition rather than to promote public security or bring criminals to justice. Supporting Tunisia's efforts to establish more transparent, accountable, and effective criminal justice institutions, particularly a police that serves citizens and an independent judiciary, is critical for its successful transition to democracy. The U.S. program assistance will do so by: supporting a police reform process aimed at building the capacity of Tunisia to combat corruption; supporting Tunisia's efforts to make civilian law enforcement institutions more accountable and transparent; enhancing the professionalism, independence, and accountability of the judiciary; and enhancing the capacity of the Tunisian correctional system to manage prisons and detention centers in a safe, secure, humane, and transparent fashion."
ESF: $370 million
INCLE: $70 million
Explanation of West Bank/Gaza ESF: "The FY 2013 request will continue to strengthen the
Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinians as credible partners in Middle East peace while responding to humanitarian needs in Gaza. Assistance will provide significant resources to help build and maintain institutions and help support the economic development necessary for a future Palestinian state that can exist side-by-side with Israel in peace and security, while increasing the capacity of the PA to meet the needs of its people. Funding will be used to further the U.S. foreign policy goal of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict."
Explanation of West Bank/Gaza INCLE: "The focus of the security sector portion of the program will continue to shift from predominantly ‘train and equip' to ‘sustain and maintain.' Funds will support efforts to reform and sustain the security sector by providing technical assistance and infrastructure support to the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, and by providing the Ministry of Interior with technical assistance and program support to improve its ability to manage the security forces, with continued training and equipment donations included to ensure a successful transition. Additional training, equipment, infrastructure support, and technical assistance will be provided for the justice and corrections sectors to ensure their development keeps pace with the increased performance of the security forces."
Global Health Programs: $9.5 million
ESF: $38 million
INCLE: $4 million
IMET: $1.1 million
FMF: $20 million
Explanation of Yemen ESF: "The FY 2013 request will support political transition and constitutional reform, as well as women and youth. The request will support community livelihood programs, particularly for at-risk populations, and will fund key agriculture programs in an industry that historically accounts for two-thirds of Yemen's employment."
Middle East Multilaterals (MEM): $4 million
Middle East Regional Cooperation (MERC): $2.5 million
Near East Regional Democracy: $30 million
Explanation of ESF for Near East Regional Democracy: "The FY 2013 request will be used to expand and enhance existing Near East Regional Democracy-funded activities aimed at increasing the capacity of citizens and civil society in the region to hold their governments accountable. Programs also support cutting edge tools and requisite training that promote internet freedom and enhance the safe and effective use of communication technologies. As specific opportunities arise or new openings occur, additional focus areas may emerge that are in line with U.S. Government policy in the region."
Near East: $476.82 million
Near East IMET in General
Explanation of Near East IMET: "IMET programs focus on critical countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Tunisia, and Yemen with the purpose of enhancing professionalism, providing the technical training necessary to maintain equipment of United States origin, and increasing awareness of international norms of human rights and civilian control of the military, topics that are critical for the development of security forces in the region in a time of change."
Near East FMF in General
Explanation of Near East FMF: "The majority of FY 2013 FMF funding will provide continued assistance to the Near East region, including increased support for Israel in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding; support for Jordan's force modernization, border surveillance, and counterterrorism efforts; and programs that consolidate gains in the development of counterterrorism capabilities and professional militaries. The United States continues to plan for ongoing assistance through FY 2013 in order to be able to continue programs that encourage a disciplined, well-trained Egyptian military respectful of civilian human rights, and provide an incentive for the next government of Lebanon to adhere to its international obligations. Since the political situation in the Middle East remains fluid, longer-term specifics of the program will be reviewed in light of changing circumstances."
Middle East & North Africa Incentive Fund
Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI): $65 million
USAID Middle East Regional (OMEP): $5 million
Middle East & North Africa Incentive Fund: $700 million
Explanation of $700 million Middle East & North Africa Incentive Fund:
"The events unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa are the pre-eminent foreign policy challenge of our time. The President's May 2011 speech signaled a fundamental shift in our engagement with the region, in recognition that the stability and security we seek will only come through sustained reforms that respond to the aspirations of the region's citizens. Our support for dignity, opportunity, and self-determination must be matched by actions that affirm our support. We have an opportunity to recast our assistance posture toward one that promotes economic and political foundations for democracy, and builds new partnerships with the citizens who will shape their countries' futures. If we fail, we risk reinforcing public cynicism and losing influence in a region critical to U.S. interests. If we succeed, we have a very real opportunity to help generate lasting stability, security, and prosperity that will provide a firmer foundation for the pursuit of U.S. strategic interests and will reduce the risk that future instability will require us to commit greater resources there in the long term.
"Achieving these outcomes requires both committing resources commensurate with the challenge and changing the way we do business in the region, including our approach to assistance. Ongoing bilateral funding in the region is being re-aligned to meet new requirements and to address continuing security commitments and challenges. Ongoing regional programs that support reforms and promote civic engagement will continue to help sustain demand for change. And, the request includes a new Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Incentive Fund to complement traditional bilateral and regional programs and to provide a framework that will support lasting reform.
"The new Fund capitalizes on the opportunities presented by the Arab Spring, supporting those countries that are moving to undertake the democratic and economic reforms necessary to address citizens' demands and provide lasting stability in the region. The approach of an incentive-based Fund will ensure that additional assistance is tied to reforms. This Fund puts into practice the President's strategy in the region, provides support to citizen demands for change, improves our ability to respond adroitly to contingencies and new opportunities, and begins to address the imbalance between our security and economic assistance in the region. The Fund will also provide the United States with additional tools to work with our international partners to support changes in the MENA region (for example, through the G-8 Deauville Partnership), allowing us to use our investment to leverage international resources.
"The primary purpose of the Fund is to advance democratic, institutional, and economic reform by MENA governments, based on incentives and with conditions that would be clearly and transparently laid out. The Fund will also ensure local accountability for reform commitments through support for civil society actors. The entry-point for governments wishing to access these resources will be public political and/or economic reform plans, incentivized by the prospect of resources for high-impact projects and activities demonstrating significant economic returns or democratic progress. The MENA Incentive Fund will complement bilateral assistance but will not be allocated at the outset to any specific countries. The allocations will be based on reform agendas and agreements. The MENA Incentive Fund may provide assistance bilaterally, regionally, or through contributions to multilateral initiatives with other donors. These kinds of long-term incentive programs that are based on negotiated agreements will require authorities to use a range of tools and longer availability periods. They will promote two primary outcomes in transitioning MENA countries:
- Effective, democratic governance and vibrant civil societies – The Fund will provide support and incentives for countries in transition to help ensure governments acquire power through transparent, competitive, and inclusive processes; to establish transparent, predictable, and accountable public governance under the rule of law, with equal access for all; to actively engage citizens, the private sector, and civil society in public decision-making, including through rights to organize, assemble, speak, and access information on- and off-line; and to respect fundamental human rights for all.
- Inclusive, market-based economic growth – The MENA Incentive Fund will promote, incentivize, and support legal, regulatory, and policy reforms and investments that will enhance broad-based economic opportunity, characterized by equitable, transparent, and predictable access to local, regional, and global capital and markets; regional trade integration; facilitation of entrepreneurship and the creation of small and medium enterprises; investments in science, technology, and innovation; support for domestic and international private sector investment; and innovative approaches to development finance, including domestic resource mobilization and leveraging private sector resources for capital-intensive investments that yield sustainable and broad economic benefits to states and their citizens. For example, the MENA Incentive Fund could be used to finance later tranches of the Egypt debt initiative announced by the President in May 2011 and authorized by Congress in the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
"Secondly, this Fund will also allow us to respond to emerging opportunities to support early transitions so that nascent reforms can continue. Our response in 2011 to unfolding events demonstrated the need for funding in critical early periods. We re-allocated approximately $500m in existing funds to transitions in 2011 at a great opportunity cost. The MENA Incentive Fund will provide the capacity to support interim governments and civil society at times of transition and allow us to respond to unanticipated needs. These stabilization requirements may range from humanitarian and peacekeeping needs to fiscal space and early security sector reforms.
"Finally, a key element of our ability to engage effectively in the region is our regional program platforms. The MENA Incentive Fund, therefore, includes the base funding for the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), $65 million, and the Office of Middle East Programs (OMEP), $5 million. MEPI cultivates locally-led change through civil society support in every country of the MENA region where we have a diplomatic presence, while OMEP provides surge capacity and region-wide scope for our development activities that respond to regional transition and reform. These programs were previously funded by the ESF account."
Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)
Multinational Force & Observers (MFO): $26 million
Explanation of MFO Funding: "The FY 2013 request includes funds to continue the U.S. contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai."
4. Odds & Ends
- 2/21/12: NIAC will host a panel discussion on the Hill, entitled The Iranian Nuclear Dilemma: Risk of an Iraq Sequel? Speakers: Dr. Hans Blix (Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1981 to 1997, appointed to lead the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission from 2000 to 2003, and was at the center of IAEA inspection efforts in Iraq prior to the Operation Iraqi Freedom); Dr. Colin Kahl (U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East from 2009 to 2011, developing and implementing the U.S. Defense Department's strategy regarding Iran); Robert Kelley ( served as a member of the IAEA Iraq Action Team in 2003 and was Chief Inspector for the IAEA in Iraq, South Africa, and Libya). Moderated by Trita Parsi.
- 2/14/12: The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing to receive testimony on the Defense Authorization Request for Fiscal Year 2013 and the Future Years Defense Program (webcast). During that hearing, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta commented on Iran (in response to a question from Sen. Ben Nelson, D-DE):
"…we have a number of concerns here that we worry about with regards to Iran and those are concerns that we share not just with the Israelis but with the entire international community. As the president himself has stated, we will not tolerate an Iran that develops a nuclear weapon and yet they continue, obviously, to try to improve their nuclear enrichment capabilities. That's something that concerns us a great deal. They continue to threaten the possibility of closing the Staits of Hormuz and we have made very clear that that is a red line for us. That strait is extremely important to free commerce, and to shipping, and to the shipping lanes and would have a huge economic impact if that were to happen. That too is unacceptable and not tolerable for the United States. We're concerned about Iran and the spread of terrorism – the fact that they seek to undermine legitimate governments around the world – that too concerns us. We think that the approach of the international community to apply sanctions, to apply diplomatic pressure, is having an impact. It has isolated Iran, it's made very clear to them that they have to change their behavior. And I think that we need to keep that pressure on – that's an important effort, I think that the international community is unified in that effort, and I guess my hope would be that we could all stick together in ensuring that we continue to isolate Iran and make very clear to them that they should choose to join the international community, the rules and the laws and the regulations of the international community and become part of that family. If they choose otherwise, that would have serious implications..."
Panetta also had an exchange with Sen. Graham (R-SC) regarding Iran and the question of containment – in a rather transparent effort by Graham to get Panetta on the record implying support for the new Graham-backed "no containment policy" resolution (S. Res. 380, discussed above). Graham asked whether Panetta believed it was a viable strategy for the U.S. to try to contain a nuclear-armed Iran. Panetta responded: "Yes indeed." This was clearly not the response Graham was looking for, so Graham clarified: "I mean, the idea of containment – shouldn't we prevent them from getting a nuclear capability, not contain them?" Panetta: "It's not just contain but obviously doing everything we can to prevent them from developing…" Graham then interrupted Panetta to further clarify his question: "I guess my question was more correctly asked… if they get a nuclear weapon, do you think the idea of containment is a way to go? Should we prevent them versus containing them?" Panetta responded: "I think we have to prevent them." Graham then summed up this exchange (inaccurately) by characterizing Panetta's position as follows: "…the Secretary of Defense's view is that the idea of containing a nuclear armed Iran is not the way to go. The idea is to prevent them from doing it. Hopefully we can do it through sanctions and diplomatic engagement, I hope we can…"
2/16/12: The Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing to receive testimony on the current and future worldwide threats to the national security of the United States (webcast). Prepared testimony from both witnesses, DNI James Clapper and DIA Director Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, addressed challenges in the Middle East, in particular the impact of the Arab Spring, as well as the challenge of Iran. The full prepared testimony of both witnesses is highly recommended reading. Numerous Middle East-related questions and issues came up during the hearing (for example, Sen. McCain, R-AZ, suggested that it is time for the U.S. to consider military action in Syria).
Given the current attention on the issue of Iran, both witnesses offered interesting analysis on the subject of Iran. In his prepared testimony, DNI Clapper, stated (among other things) that it is the intelligence communities assessment that: "…Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons…Iran's technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These advancements contribute to our judgment that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, if it so chooses…We judge Iran's nuclear decisionmaking is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran's security, prestige, and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program."
Also notably, in his prepared testimony, Lt. Gen. Burgess stated (among other things), that it is DIA assessment that: "If attacked, or if sanctions on its oil exports are enacted, Iran has threatened to control traffic in or temporarily close the Strait of Hormuz with its naval forces, a capability it likely has. Iran has also threatened to launch missiles against the United States and our allies in the region in response to an attack; it could also employ its terrorist surrogates worldwide. However, it is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict or launch a preemptive attack."
In his summary of his testimony delivered in the hearing, Burgess noted that "Iran today has the technical, scientific, and industrial capability to eventually produce nuclear weapons. While international pressure against has increased including through sanctions, we assess that Iran is not close to agreeing to abandoning its nuclear program."
2/16/12: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Peace Corps, & Global Narcotics Affairs held a hearing entitled "Iran's Influence and Activity in Latin America." Witnesses were Cynthia J. Arnson, Director, Latin American Program, Woodrow Wilson Center (testimony); Douglas Farah, Senior Fellow, International Assessment and Strategy Center (testimony); Roger Noriega, Former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Former Ambassador to the OAS (testimony); and Ilan Berman, Vice President, American Foreign Policy Council (testimony). (no webcast is available as of this writing).
Members on the Record:
Rep. Ellison (D-MN) 2/16/12: On the growing drumbeat for war with Iran
Reps. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) & McKeon (R-CA) 2/15/12: Ros-Lehtinen, McKeon Oppose Obama's Proposed Cut to Israeli Missile Defense, Say Jeopardizes Israel's Security
Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 2/15/12: Administration's Push for Resumption of UNESCO Funding Could Jumpstart Unilateral Palestinian Statehood Scheme, Ros-Lehtinen Warns
Sen. Leahy (D-VT) 2/15/12: Explaining (again) why Sen. Paul's Egypt amendment to the transportation bill is basically grandstanding, since the law already does what Rand says he wants to do
Sen. Reid (D-NV) 2/15/12: Slamming (again) Sen. Paul's filibuster of a judicial nominee to try to force a vote on his Egypt amendment
Sen. Leahy (D-VT) 2/15/12: Slamming Sen. Paul's filibuster of a judicial nominee to try to force a vote on his Egypt amendment
Sen. Leahy (D-VT) 2/14/12: Explaining why Sen. Paul's Egypt amendment to the transportation bill is basically grandstanding, since the law already does what Rand says he wants to do
Sen. Reid (D-NV) 2/14/12: Slamming Sen. Paul's filibuster of a judicial nominee to try to force a vote on his Egypt amendment
Sen. Paul (R-KY) 2/14/12: Defending his amendment to cut all aid to Egypt and his filibuster until his amendment is voted on (an amendment offered to S. 1813, to reauthorize Federal-aid highway and highway safety construction programs)
From the News:
Reuters 2/17/12: Mission impossible? U.S. wants sanctions to hurt only Iran
MSNBC 2/16/12: Iran 'unlikely' to provoke conflict, US official says (DIA chief Lt. Gen. Burgess)
The Atlantic 2/16/12: Egypt vs. Israel: How Congress Weighs the Risks of Cutting Our Aid to Cairo
The Cable 2/16/12: McCain leading delegation to Egypt
LA Jewish Journal 2/15/12: Berman's Israeli investor visa bill: a small (and problematic) fix
Jerusalem Post 2/15/12: ‘Congress could increase Israel defense funding'
NY Jewish Week 2/14/12: Will Next 9th District Race Again Hinge On Israel?
‘Jerusalem Post 2/14/12: Obama backs continued Egypt, PA aid despite tension
Reuters 2/13/12: Obama proposes $800 million in aid for "Arab Spring"
The Cable 2/10/12: Senators call for aiding the Syrian opposition
Check the APN blog for breaking news and analysis about issues related to Israel, the Middle East, and the Hill.
Past editions of the Round-Up are archived and available online.
information, contact Lara
No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG - www.avg.com
Version: 2012.0.1913 / Virus Database: 2112/4815 - Release Date: 02/17/12