Controlled Trial of Psychotherapy for Congolese Survivors of Sexual Violence
Source: New England Journal of Medicine
Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are common in survivors of sexual violence. In high-income countries, there are effective treatments for trauma related to sexual violence, but these treatments have not been adequately tested in low-income, conflict-affected countries with few mental health professionals and low literacy rates. The few studies of effectiveness have had methodologic limitations, including a lack of controls and high attrition rates.
Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is a low-income, conflict-affected region in which political and economic instability are ongoing problems and nearly 40% of women have experienced sexual violence. The development of effective mental health services has important implications for the recovery of sexual-violence survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo and similar countries.
We evaluated an adaptation of group cognitive processing therapy provided by community-based paraprofessionals (psychosocial assistants), supervised by psychosocial staff at a nongovernmental organization (NGO) and by clinical experts based in the United States. Cognitive processing therapy has shown efficacy in high-income countries, with effects lasting for 5 or more years. We evaluated the benefits of adding this therapy to services offered by workers trained only in case management and individual supportive counseling.
Emerging East Africa Energy
Source: Energy Information Administration
Although oil and natural gas exploration has been going on for decades in various East African countries, there has been limited success until recently. In the past there were doubts about the amount of recoverable resources in the region, along with regional and civil conflicts that presented challenges and risks to foreign companies. Consequently, exploration activities in East Africa have evolved at a much slower pace relative to other African regions. However, the pace of exploration activity has recently picked up after foreign oil and gas companies made a series of sizable discoveries in several East African countries.
This new regional analysis covers emerging developments in the oil and gas sectors in five East African countries: Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Madagascar. The larger area that EIA considers as East Africa (see Africa by region map) includes 21 countries. In this region, by far the largest oil and gas producers are Sudan and South Sudan, which are not covered in this report because they are mature oil producers.
Among the countries with emerging oil and gas developments, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Madagascar have shown the most progress toward commercial development of newly discovered resources in recent years. Uganda and Madagascar will most likely be the next new oil producers on the continent. Mozambique will probably be the first country in East Africa to develop the capability to export liquefied natural gas (LNG), possibly followed by Tanzania.
Although progress toward commercial development of hydrocarbon resources in Kenya has been modest, the country plays a vital role in the region as an oil transit hub, particularly for oil products coming into the region. Kenya is planning to expand its role by embarking on a multi-million dollar investment to increase its midstream and downstream capacity.
Source: Ernst & Young
Our survey of over 3,000 board members, managers and their teams delivers three clear messages:
Executives and their teams are under increased personal pressure to produce growth in extremely challenging conditions.
Unethical conduct — including fraud, bribery and corruption — in response to this pressure is not just a just a hypothetical risk. One in five respondents have seen financial manipulation occurring in their companies. Fifth-seven percent believe that bribery and corruption are widespread in their country.
Compliance programs work, but not well enough. Companies that do not keep asking the right questions — and demanding answers — are exposing themselves to significant risk.
Source: Energy Information Administration
Algeria is the largest natural gas producer and second largest oil producer, after Nigeria, in Africa. It became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1969, shortly after it began oil production in 1958. Currently, the country is heavily reliant on its hydrocarbon sector, which accounted for almost 70 percent of government budget revenue and grants and about 98 percent of export earnings in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund.
In recent years, crude oil production has been stagnant, while natural gas production has gradually declined, because new production and infrastructure projects have repeatedly been delayed. Additionally, in the last three licensing rounds there has been limited interest from investors to undertake new oil and gas projects under the government’s current terms. As a result, the Algerian parliament recently approved amendments to the current hydrocarbon law and introduced fiscal incentives to entice foreign companies to take on new ventures, particularly exploration in offshore areas and in areas onshore that contain shale resources.
The recent militant attack on the In Amenas gas facility prompted security concerns about operating in Algeria’s remote areas, particularly in the south. Any major disruption to Algeria’s hydrocarbon production would not only be detrimental to the local economy but, depending on the scale of lost production, could affect world oil prices. Also, since Algeria is the fourth largest natural gas supplier to Europe, unplanned cuts to natural gas output could affect some European countries. Natural gas and oil account for almost all of Algeria’s total energy consumption, and the country consumes very small amounts of hydro power, coal, and traditional biomass.
The past decade has seen unprecedented progress in malaria control efforts in most sub-Saharan African countries. As countries have scaled up insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying (IRS), improved diagnostic tests and highly effective antimalarial drugs, mortality in children under five years of age has fallen dramatically. It is now clear that the cumulative efforts and funding by the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI), national governments, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), the World Bank and many other donors are working: The risk of malaria is declining. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) 2012 World Malaria Report, the estimated annual number of global malaria deaths has fallen by more than one-third – from about 985,000 in 2000 to about 660,000 in 2010.
The U.S. Government’s financial and technical contributions have played a major role in this remarkable progress. However, gaps in resources remain. If progress is to be sustained, committed efforts must continue. The theme for World Malaria Day 2013, and for the years leading up to the 2015 target date for the Millennium Development Goals, is “Invest in the future. Defeat malaria.” To this end, PMI and partners continue to build on investments in malaria control and prevention and respond to challenges, such as antimalarial drug resistance, insecticide resistance and weak malaria case surveillance.
Source: RAND Corporation
This work examines what happened in April of 1961, when the French government was about to conduct the fourth of a series of nuclear tests in the Sahara. Four French Army generals, unhappy that de Gaulle was willing to support Algerian independence, staged a coup to keep Algeria as a French colony. The nuclear test was conducted a few days ahead of schedule — it was not successful — and speculation ever since has been that the test was moved up to keep the weapon out of the rebel generals’ hands.
While there is evidence that one of the generals contacted the officer who was in charge of the tests to try to delay them, Jenkins concludes that the generals really never had a plan in place to seize the weapon and that the French government didn’t want to delay the test. At the time it happened, the world viewed it as an internal, French problem.
The second, shorter part of the book compares the 1961 events to what might happen today if the military in Pakistan or North Korea splintered, and a rebel group got their hands on those countries’ nuclear materials. Jenkins contends that such a scenario today would clearly be an international incident, that neither Pakistan nor North Korea would want any foreign intervention, and that the United States "might not be the only first responder."
Two additional short essays by Dr. Stephen J. Lukasik and Constantin Melnik, a security assistant to the French prime minister in 1961, also review what happened in 1961.
From Chaos to Cohesion: A Regional Approach to Security, Stability, and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
From Chaos to Cohesion: A Regional Approach to Security, Stability, and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Source: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College
Prevention is the key to effective policies in Africa, whether the issue is equitable resource exploitation, ethnic conflict, infectious diseases, or famine. African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have moved beyond their initial purpose of a loose confederation of trading partners to become increasingly effective supranational bodies promoting financial, political, and security stabilization in each of their regions. Looking at each of the RECs, their power centers, and areas of weakness, policymakers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the sometimes symbiotic and often destructive dynamics within and among African states to seek more effective strategic and regional, not national, approaches. This monograph suggests USAFRICOM is uniquely positioned to help design a path to spearhead a pan-African strategy highly likely to have the net long-term effect of attaining considerable competitive advantage for the U.S. economically, militarily, and politically, with a corresponding increase in stability, security, and economic opportunity for the entire continent.
Top Five Reasons Why Africa Should Be a Priority for the United States
Source: Brookings Institution
For over a decade now, the continent of Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, has undergone a major transformation. In 2000, The Economist referred to Africa as the “Hopeless Continent.” This nickname was based on an evaluation of the many disadvantages that characterized the continent: poverty and disease, cycles of conflict, military and dictatorial one-party states, etc. Despite large endowments of natural resources, the continent’s economic performance was dismal as a result of poor macroeconomic management and a hostile environment for doing business.
In 2011, The Economist referred to Africa as the “Rising Continent” and a March 2013 issue of the magazine contained a special report referring to Africa as the “Hopeful Continent.” These days, Africa is variously referred to in positive terms such as emerging, rising and hopeful. This positive view of Africa is justified—sub-Saharan Africa is the host of some of the fastest growing economies in the world. This growth is not just due to rising commodity prices but is also driven by a more vibrant private sector supported by an improved business climate. There have also been dramatic improvements in governance and economic management. The region has seen major improvements in various sectors of the economy, especially in services. The information technology revolution has become an important aspect of the new Africa, particularly in terms of mobile technologies. As a result of these developments, Africa’s middle class is now growing rapidly, and the continent has become a major market for consumer goods. While sub-Saharan Africa still faces many development challenges, it is a far cry from the one described by The Economist in 2000. Africa is indeed on the path to claiming the 21st century.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Office)
The Arab League, an umbrella organization comprising 22 Middle Eastern and African countries and entities, has maintained an official boycott of Israeli companies and Israeli-made goods since the founding of Israel in 1948. The boycott is administered by the Damascus-based Central Boycott Office, a specialized bureau of the Arab League.
The boycott has three tiers. The primary boycott prohibits citizens of an Arab League member from buying from, selling to, or entering into a business contract with either the Israeli government or an Israeli citizen. The secondary boycott extends the primary boycott to any entity world-wide that does business in Israel. A blacklist of global firms that engage in business with Israel is maintained by the Central Boycott Office, and disseminated to Arab League members. The tertiary boycott prohibits an Arab League member and its nationals from doing business with a company that deals with companies that have been blacklisted by the Arab League.
Since the boycott is sporadically applied and ambiguously enforced, its impact, measured by capital or revenue denied to Israel by companies adhering to the boycott, is difficult to measure. The effect of the primary boycott appears limited since intra-regional trade and investment are small. Enforcement of the secondary and tertiary boycotts has decreased over time, reducing their effect. Thus, it appears that since intra-regional trade is small, and that the secondary and tertiary boycotts are not aggressively enforced, the boycott may not currently have an extensive effect on the Israeli economy.
Despite the lack of economic impact on either Israeli or Arab economies, the boycott remains of strong symbolic importance to all parties. The U.S. government has often been at the forefront of international efforts to end the boycott and its enforcement. Despite U.S. efforts, however, many Arab League countries continue to support the boycott’s enforcement. U.S. legislative action related to the boycott dates from 1959 and includes multiple statutory provisions expressing U.S. opposition to the boycott, usually in foreign assistance legislation. In 1977, Congress passed laws making it illegal for U.S. companies to cooperate with the boycott and authorizing the imposition of civil and criminal penalties against U.S. violators. U.S. companies are required to report to the Department of Commerce any requests to comply with the Arab League Boycott.
The current list of countries that request U.S. companies to participate or agree to participate in boycotts prohibited under U.S. law includes Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
This report provides background information on the boycott and U.S. efforts to end its enforcement. More information on Israel is contained in CRS Report RL33476, Israel: Background and U.S. Relations, by Jim Zanotti.
Devastating Decline of Forest Elephants in Central Africa
Source: PLoS ONE
African forest elephants– taxonomically and functionally unique–are being poached at accelerating rates, but we lack range-wide information on the repercussions. Analysis of the largest survey dataset ever assembled for forest elephants (80 foot-surveys; covering 13,000 km; 91,600 person-days of fieldwork) revealed that population size declined by ca. 62% between 2002–2011, and the taxon lost 30% of its geographical range. The population is now less than 10% of its potential size, occupying less than 25% of its potential range. High human population density, hunting intensity, absence of law enforcement, poor governance, and proximity to expanding infrastructure are the strongest predictors of decline. To save the remaining African forest elephants, illegal poaching for ivory and encroachment into core elephant habitat must be stopped. In addition, the international demand for ivory, which fuels illegal trade, must be dramatically reduced.
New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office
Cuba Democracy Assistance
USAID’s Program Is Improved, but State Could Better Monitor Its Implementing Partners
GAO-13-285, Jan 25, 2013
Launch Services New Entrant Certification Guide
GAO-13-317R, Feb 7, 2013
Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act
Jurisdictions Face Challenges to Implementing the Act, and Stakeholders Report Positive and Negative Effects
GAO-13-211, Feb 7, 2013
Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act
Survey of States and Territories on Implementation of the Act (GAO-13-234SP, February 2013), an E-supplement to GAO-13-211
GAO-13-234SP, Feb 7, 2013
Case Studies of U.S and Chinese Economic Engagement in Angola, Ghana, and Kenya; a Supplement to GAO-13-199
GAO-13-280SP, Feb 7, 2013
Trends in U.S. and Chinese Economic Engagement
GAO-13-199, Feb 7, 2013
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
The potential for terrorist use of chemical agents is a noted concern highlighted by the Tokyo sarin gas attacks of 1995. The events of September 11, 2001, increased congressional attention towards reducing the vulnerability of the United States to such unconventional attacks. The possibility that terrorist groups might obtain insecure chemical weapons led to increased scrutiny of declared Libyan chemical weapon stockpiles following the fall of the Qadhafi regime. Experts have expressed similar concerns regarding the security of purported Syrian chemical weapons, reportedly including stocks of nerve (sarin, VX) and blister (mustard gas) agents, and their potential use.
Military planners generally organize chemical agents, such as chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals, into four groups: nerve agents (such as sarin and VX), blister agents (such as mustard gas), choking agents (such as chlorine and phosgene), and blood agents (such as hydrogen cyanide). While the relative military threat posed by the various chemical types has varied over time, terrorist use of these chemicals against civilian targets is viewed as a low probability, high consequence event.
Chemical weapons and toxic industrial chemicals cause a variety of symptoms in their victims. These symptoms depend on the chemical agent used, and a victim of chemical exposure may exhibit a combination of symptoms. Some chemical agents cause death by interfering with the nervous system. Some chemical agents inhibit breathing and lead to asphyxiation. Other chemical agents have caustic effects on contact. As a result, effective chemical attack treatment depends on identifying at least the type of chemical agent used. Additionally, chemical agents trapped on the body or clothes of victims may place first responders and medical professionals at risk. Civilian protection from and detection of chemical agents is an area of federal concern. Whether terrorist groups are capable of using chemical agents as weapons of mass destruction is unclear.
Some experts have asserted that the volumes of chemicals required to cause mass casualties makes that scenario unlikely. They claim that chemical terrorism is more likely to be small in scale. Other experts have suggested that there has been an increase in terrorist interest regarding chemical agents, and that this interest could lead to their use in terrorist attacks. Some experts assert that insecure stockpiles of military-grade chemical agents would lower the barrier to terrorist acquisition of chemical agents and thus increase the possibility that terrorists might use them. The change of regimes in Libya and Egypt and recent events in Syria have increased concern that such military-grade chemical agents might transition into terrorist hands and then be used to attack U.S. sites either domestically or abroad.
Source: International Monetary Fund
African bond markets have been steadily growing in recent years, but nonetheless remain undeveloped. African countries would benefit from greater access to financing and deeper financial markets. This paper compiles a unique set of data on corporate bond markets in Africa. It then applies an econometric model to analyze the key determinants of African government securities market and corporate bond market capitalization. Government securities market capitalization is directly related to better institutions and interest rate volatility, and inversely related to the fiscal balance, higher interest rate spreads, exchange rate volatility, and current and capital account openness. Corporate bond market capitalization is directly linked to economic size, the level of development of the economy and financial markets, better institutions, and interest rate volatility, and inversely related to higher interest rate spreads and current account openness. Policy implications follow.
Identifying Transmission Cycles at the Human-Animal Interface: The Role of Animal Reservoirs in Maintaining Gambiense Human African Trypanosomiasis
Many infections can be transmitted between animals and humans. The epidemiological roles of different species can vary from important reservoirs to dead-end hosts. Here, we present a method to identify transmission cycles in different combinations of species from field data. We used this method to synthesise epidemiological and ecological data from Bipindi, Cameroon, a historical focus of gambiense Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT, sleeping sickness), a disease that has often been considered to be maintained mainly by humans. We estimated the basic reproduction number of gambiense HAT in Bipindi and evaluated the potential for transmission in the absence of human cases. We found that under the assumption of random mixing between vectors and hosts, gambiense HAT could not be maintained in this focus without the contribution of animals. This result remains robust under extensive sensitivity analysis. When using the distributions of species among habitats to estimate the amount of mixing between those species, we found indications for an independent transmission cycle in wild animals. Stochastic simulation of the system confirmed that unless vectors moved between species very rarely, reintroduction would usually occur shortly after elimination of the infection from human populations. This suggests that elimination strategies may have to be reconsidered as targeting human cases alone would be insufficient for control, and reintroduction from animal reservoirs would remain a threat. Our approach is broadly applicable and could reveal animal reservoirs critical to the control of other infectious diseases.
See: Wild Animals May Contribute to the Resurgence of African Sleeping Sickness (Science Daily)
State Department — Benghazi — Accountability Review Board (ARB) Report (Unclassified) (PDF)
Source: U.S. Department of State
1. The attacks were security related, involving arson, small arms and machine gun fire, and the use of RPGs, grenades, and mortars against U.S. personnel at two separate facilities – the SMC and the Annex – and en route between them. Responsibility for the tragic loss of life, injuries, and damage to U.S. facilities and property rests solely and completely with the terrorists who perpetrated the attacks. The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks, which were unanticipated in their scale and intensity.
2. Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the “Department”) resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.
3. Notwithstanding the proper implementation of security systems and procedures and remarkable heroism shown by American personnel, those systems and the Libyan response fell short in the face of a series of attacks that began with the sudden penetration of the Special Mission compound by dozens of armed attackers.
4. The Board found that intelligence provided no immediate, specific tactical warning of the September 11 attacks. Known gaps existed in the intelligence community’s understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests, although some threats were known to exist.
5. The Board found that certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated a lack of proactive leadership and management ability in their responses to security concerns posed by Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack of reliable host government protection. However, the Board did not find reasonable cause to determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his or her duty.
New Report Finds Illegal Hunting and Trade of Wildlife in Savanna Africa Could Result in a ‘Conservation Crisi s’ if Unchecked
A new report published today by Panthera confirms that widespread illegal hunting and the bushmeat trade occur more frequently and with greater impact on wildlife populations in the Southern and Eastern savannas of Africa than previously thought, and if unaddressed could potentially cause a ‘conservation crisis.’ The report challenges previously held beliefs of the impact of illegal bushmeat hunting and trade in Africa with new data from experts.
While the bushmeat trade has long been recognized as a severe threat to the food resources of indigenous peoples and to wildlife populations in the forests of West and Central Africa, far less attention has been focused on the issue in African savannas, in part due to the misconception that illegal hunting for bushmeat in African savannas is a small-scale phenomenon practiced for subsistence living.
CRS — U.S. Trade and Investment Relations with sub-Saharan Africa and the African Growth and Opportunity Act
Source: Congressional Research Service (via U.S. Department of State Foreign Press Center)
Following the end of the apartheid era in South Africa in the early 1990s, the United States sought to increase economic relations with sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). President Clinton instituted several measures that dealt with investment, debt relief, and trade. Congress passed legislation that required the President to develop a trade and development policy for Africa. Between 1960 and 1973, Africa’s economic growth was relatively strong, followed by a period of stagnation and decline for the subsequent two decades in many SSA countries. Current perspectives, however, indicate that many of the fastest-growing countries in the world are on the African continent, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects that the SSA region will grow in terms of real GDP by 5.3% in 2012 and 2013.
In 2000, Congress approved new U.S. trade and investment legislation for SSA in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA; Title I, P.L. 106-200). According to U.S. trade statistics, U.S. trade with SSA has comprised 1% to 2% of U.S. total trade with the world. AGOA extends preferential treatment to U.S. imports from eligible countries that are pursuing market reform measures. Data show that U.S. imports under AGOA are mostly energy products, but imports of other products have grown significantly. AGOA mandated that U.S. officials meet regularly with their counterparts in SSA, and 11 of these meetings have been held to date. The 11 th AGOA Forum was held from June 14 to June 15, 2012, in Washington, DC.
AGOA also directed the President to provide U.S. government technical assistance and trade capacity support to AGOA beneficiary countries. Government agencies that have roles in this effort include the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa (established by statute under AGOA), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Export-Import Bank, the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service, and the Trade and Development Agency. In AGOA, Congress declared that free-trade agreements should be negotiated, where feasible, with interested SSA countries. Related to this provision, negotiations on a free-trade agreement with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which includes South Africa and four other countries, began in June 2003, but were suspended in April 2006.
The 112 th Congress enacted legislation to extend through September 2015 an expiring provision in AGOA, which allows apparel made in lesser-developed countries to be made of yarns and fabrics from any country and still receive duty-free treatment, subject to a cap (P.L. 112-163). This amendment to AGOA also added South Sudan to the list of SSA countries eligible for AGOA benefits. Eligible countries may become AGOA beneficiaries subject to approval by the Administration.
Legislation is pending to further enhance U.S.-SSA trade relations. H.R. 4221 and S. 2215 seek to increase U.S. exports to Africa, in part, through strategies aimed at further developing relationships between the United States and African countries on a government-to-government level, fostering private sector U.S.-African ties, and targeting more U.S. export financing toward trade with Africa. An amended version of S. 2215 was ordered reported by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September 2012. H.R. 656, a separate initiative, would create at the State Department a Special Representative for United States-Africa Trade, Development, and Diaspora Affairs that would also promote U.S. trade and investment ties with SSA.
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)
Congress has played an active role in U.S. policy toward Sudan for more than three decades. Efforts to support an end to the country’s myriad conflicts and human rights abuses have dominated the agenda, as have counterterrorism concerns. When unified (1956-2011), Sudan was Africa’s largest nation, bordering nine countries and stretching from the northern borders of Kenya and Uganda to the southern borders of Egypt and Libya. Strategically located along the Nile River and the Red Sea, Sudan was historically described as a crossroads between the Arab world and Africa. Domestic and international efforts to unite its ethnically, racially, religiously, and culturally diverse population under a common national identity fell short, however. In 2011, after decades of civil war and a 6.5 year transitional period, Sudan split in two. Mistrust between the two Sudans—Sudan and South Sudan—lingers, and unresolved disputes and related security issues still threaten to pull the two countries back to war.
The north-south split did not resolve other simmering conflicts, notably in Darfur, Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan. Roughly 2.5 million people remain displaced as a result of these conflicts. Like the broader sub-region, the Sudans are susceptible to drought and food insecurity, despite significant agricultural potential in some areas. Civilians in the conflict zones are particularly vulnerable. Instability and Sudanese government restrictions have limited relief agencies’ access to conflict-affected populations. Humanitarian conditions in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have been at crisis levels for months, but an estimated half a million people remain largely beyond the reach of aid groups. Logistical challenges constrain the delivery of relief for those who have fled, primarily to remote refugee camps across the border in South Sudan. The harassment of aid workers is a problem in both Sudans, further hindering aid responses.
The peaceful separation of Sudan and South Sudan was seen by some players as an opportunity to repair relations between Sudan’s Islamist government and the United States. Those ties have long been strained over Khartoum’s human rights violations and history of support for international terrorist groups. Among the arguments in favor of normalizing relations with Sudan has been the notion that the United States has few additional unilateral “sticks” to apply against Khartoum, given robust sanctions already in place. Applying certain “carrots,” such as easing sanctions, might encourage further political reforms, proponents say. The Obama Administration sought to improve the relationship with Khartoum in 2011, given South Sudan’s successful referendum and separation from Sudan, and Sudan’s cooperation on counterterrorism. The U.S. effort has been impeded by ongoing reports of abuses, including allegations that Khartoum continues to commit war crimes against civilians. Some observers argue that improving the relationship would reward bad behavior. Relations are also complicated by the fact that several government officials, notably President Omar al Bashir, have been accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide at the International Criminal Court in relation to the Darfur conflict.
U.S. relations with South Sudan, which are rooted in years of American activism and disaster relief to the south during the civil war, remain close, though there have been signs of strain in 2012. The United States is the country’s largest bilateral donor, but the Administration has expressed concern over certain actions taken by leaders in Juba that have, in its view, further aggravated the relationship between the Sudans and the economic situation in both countries.
This report examines the shared interests and outstanding disputes between the Sudans after separation, and gives an overview of political, economic, and humanitarian conditions in the two countries, with a focus on possible implications for U.S. policy and congressional engagement.