Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. February 28, 2013.
U.S. interest in deepening economic ties with certain countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has increased in light of the political unrest and transitions that have swept the region since early 2011. Policymakers in Congress and the Obama Administration are discussing ways that U.S. trade and investment can bolster long-term economic growth in the region. In May 2011, President Obama announced the MENA “Trade and Investment Partnership Initiative” (MENA-TIP), through which various federal government agencies are engaged in efforts to enhance trade and investment with the region. Such activities are in line with longstanding U.S. trade policy goals and measures. Some Members of Congress have called for deeper economic ties with MENA countries undergoing political change. However, continued political uncertainty and changing security environments in the region have prompted greater scrutiny of U.S. engagement. This report analyzes policy approaches that the Congress might consider concerning U.S.-MENA trade and investment.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42153.pdf [PDF format, 46 pages].
Center for a New American Security. June 6, 2012.
The upheaval that has shaken the Middle East since January 2011 has clearly demonstrated some of the faulty assumptions that have long underpinned U.S. policy in the region. In Strategic Adaptation: Toward a New U.S. Strategy in the Middle East, authors Dr. Bruce W. Jentleson, Dr. Andrew M. Exum, Melissa G. Dalton and J. Dana Stuster chart the fundamentals of a revised strategy for U.S. Middle East policy, starting with a reevaluation of U.S. interests and an assessment of the evolving strategic context. The approach they propose is one of “strategic adaptation” to meet immediate challenges while simultaneously responding to regional trends that will affect the region – and U.S. engagement – for decades to come. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.cnas.org/files/documents/publications/CNAS_StrategicAdaptation_JentlesonExum_0.pdf [PDF format, 52 pages].
RAND Corporation. 2012.
More than ten years after 9/11, there is still remarkable lack of consensus among analysts’ assessments of al Qaeda’s current condition and future capabilities. Almost every issue is debated: Whether America has won the operational battle but lost the ideological contest; whether homegrown terrorism is a growing threat; whether maintaining American troops in Afghanistan is essential; whether the United States ought to declare on its own an end to the war on al Qaeda. Part of the debate is driven by political agendas, but the arguments derive from the fact that al Qaeda is many things at once and must be viewed in all of its various dimensions. This essay examines a number of these issues in light of recent developments — the death of Osama bin Laden, the Arab Spring, and the American withdrawal from Iraq. In each case, it drives toward a bottom line. In the final analysis, it is a personal view. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/occasional_papers/2012/RAND_OP362.pdf [PDF format, 34 pages].
Unclassified Statement for the Record on the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Statement by Honorable James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence. January 31, 2012.
This statement provides extensive detail about numerous state and nonstate actors, crosscutting political, economic, and military developments and transnational trends, all of which constitute our nation’s strategic and tactical landscape. Although I believe that counterterrorism, counterproliferation, cybersecurity, and counterintelligence are at the immediate forefront of our security concerns, it is virtually impossible to rank—in terms of long-term importance—the numerous, potential threats to US national security. The United States no longer faces—as in the Cold War—one dominant threat. Rather, it is the multiplicity and interconnectedness of potential threats—and the actors behind them—that constitute our biggest challenge. Indeed, even the four categories noted above are also inextricably linked, reflecting a quickly changing international environment of rising new powers, rapid diffusion of power to nonstate actors and ever greater access by individuals and small groups to lethal technologies.
http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20120131_testimony_ata.pdf [PDF format, 31 pages].