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week the House Appropriations Committee approved its subcommittee (302(b)) allocations for the coming fiscal year (2013), dividing up the discretionary spending allocation it was given by the House budget resolution among the 12 appropriations subcommittees. The State, Foreign Operations (SFOps) subcommittee allocation is about $5 billion (9 percent) below what was enacted for FY2012, with about $2 billion of that reduction coming from “base” or “enduring” funding and the other $3 billion coming from Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funding. This is in contrast to the Senate allocation, which proposes overall level funding for SFOps relative to FY2012, but with a significant shift of funds from OCO back to the base. The following table summarizes the numbers: State, Foreign Operations subcommittee levels (billions of dollars) Enduring OCO FY2012 enacted Administration FY2013 request Senate allocation FY2013 Senate proposed change from FY2012 House allocation FY2013 House proposed change from FY2012 House vs. Senate (FY2013 allocations) 42.14 46.469 49.843 + 7.703 40.132 - 2.008 - 9.711 11.203 8.245 3.174 - 8.029 8.245 - 2.958 + 5.071
Total 53.343 54.714 53.017 - 0.326 48.377 - 4.966 - 4.64
Some key points to remember in considering all this: The House budget resolution set a total discretionary spending allocation ($1.028 trillion) that was $19 billion less than the cap set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 ($1.047 trillion), which is what the Senate is using. Put more plainly, the House Appropriations Committee has $19 billion less to work with than its Senate counterpart. Of that $19 billion difference with the Senate, about $4.6 billion of it is being proposed in State, Foreign Operations. The White House has said it will not sign any appropriations bills until the House agrees to stick with the discretionary spending caps agreed to in the Budget Control Act.
The universal expectation is that few (if any) appropriations bills will be signed into law before the November election results are in. A Continuing Resolution (CR) will thus be needed to continue funding into the new fiscal year, which starts October 1. Reports are that even Republicans in the House are assuming that that CR will allow funding at the level set by the Budget Control Act for FY2013, rather than the level set by the House budget resolution. The House SFOps subcommittee is expected to mark up its bill next week, probably Wednesday, May 9. The Senate is expected to mark up its bill the following week, probably “polling it out” of subcommittee early in the week (a process by which the members of the subcommittee simply indicate their approval of the bill by email or phone call, avoiding the need for a meeting) and then marking it up in full committee later in the week.
UPCOMING HEARINGS Hearing: Markup Committee: House Budget Committee Agenda: Full committee markup of: H.R. 4966, Sequester Replacement Act of 2012 Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012 When: May 7, 2:00 p.m. Where: 210 Cannon House Office Building Contact: 202-226-7270 http://www.budget.house.gov Hearing: Assessing U.S. Foreign Policy Priorities and Needs Amidst Economic Challenges in the Middle East Committee: House Foreign Affairs Committee – Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia Witnesses: Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Mara Rudman, Assistant Administrator for the Middle East Bureau, USAID Mark Ward, Deputy Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, State Department When: May 9, 2:00 p.m. Where: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building Contact: 202-225-5021 http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov HEARING SUMMARY LRA, Boko Haram, al-Shabab, AQIM and Other Sources of Instability in Africa House Foreign Affairs Committee April 25, 2012 Witnesses: Donald Y. Yamamoto, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, State Department Daniel Benjamin, coordinator for counterterrorism, State Department Amanda Dory, deputy assistant secretary for African affairs, Department of Defense
Opening Statements: *Note: committee members chose to submit their statements for the record rather than read them aloud. Donald Y. Yamamoto Military solutions to terrorism are ineffective unless they are combined with other efforts. The current situation in Mali presents significant challenges, as the country faces several simultaneous crises. Extremist groups operate by exploiting porous borders and poor rule-of-law conditions. Good governance, economic growth and improved humanitarian conditions are essential for improving the security situation in Africa. Daniel Benjamin The U.S. is utilizing all methods available to fight extremists, including diplomacy, development, military and law enforcement. While extremist groups pose a serious threat in the region, the failure of their ideologies to resonate with a majority of the population helps to contain the danger. The fall of the Libyan regime resulted in the movement of arms and fighters across the Sahara and into the Sahel. o This helped spark the ongoing Tuareg rebellion in Mali. o The instability caused by the rebellion and subsequent coup has helped give cover for AQIM. The United States has been encouraging the government of Nigeria to adjust its strategies for dealing with Boko Haram. o We are seeking a shift from a strictly military approach to one that addresses the grievances of civilians living in the affected areas. Progress is being made in some of the struggles against extremist groups. o Ethiopian and African Union forces have significantly weakened al-Shabab. o Algeria, Mauritania and Niger are increasing cooperation in their efforts against AQIM. Amanda Dory By assisting our African partners to combat threats, the U.S. helps to create the necessary space for political development and reform. The U.S. is seeking a “small-footprint” approach in Africa. o Reliance on joint military exercises, rotational forces and advising. The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership is a vital part of the Department of Defense (DoD) Africa strategy. While some groups have had their capabilities significantly degraded, the increasing capacity of Boko Haram to carry out operations in a serious concern. Questioning: Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) 1. Describe the goals and current status of U.S. operations against the LRA, and describe the efforts to use an early-warning system to prevent attacks. Yamamoto o The goals are to train and assist government forces in affected countries, and to further isolate Joseph Kony.
The communication program has provided cell phones and improved coverage to affected areas to allow for warnings at the sight of LRA forces.
Dory o The U.S. seeks to improve security, rehabilitate former fighters, provide humanitarian assistance, and isolate Kony. o DoD is specifically seeking to cut down on the time between the gathering of intelligence and its use in an operational setting. Ranking Member Howard L. Berman (D-CA) 1. Why haven’t we been able to kill or capture Joseph Kony? Dory o The area in which the LRA is operating is roughly the size of California, and is heavily forested. o The LRA is a very small target to try to locate. 2. Dodd-Frank requires the mapping of resource mines and areas of rebel activity in Africa in order to track the potential proliferation of conflict minerals; where is that map? Yamamoto o A draft has been completed, but the final project will not be completed until sometime in May. 3. Some governments that receive U.S. assistance do not allow for freedom of the press or for open political opposition; how do we know that our counterterrorism funding isn’t hurting human rights in these countries? Yamamoto o Training programs produce better and more responsible troops who are less prone to violent repression. o Efforts are made to work with partner governments to improve human rights as a part of our counterterrorism strategy. Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ) 1. How high of a priority is Joseph Kony, and how seriously have his capabilities been degraded? Yamamoto o The capture or killing of Kony is a very high priority. o He is believed to be down to a few hundred fighters (150-200). o The LRA faces an increasingly limited area of operation. 2. How large is the award for information relating to Kony’s capture, and how is information about this award being spread? Yamamoto o The State Department’s Rewards for Justice program is seeking information on Kony. Dory o Pamphlets are being passed out in communities in the affected areas. 3. How has the ascendance of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt affected Islamic radical groups elsewhere in Africa? Benjamin o The Muslim Brotherhood has not been associated with violent attacks since the 1970s. o Egypt remains a close counterterrorism ally. o There has been no noticeable effect on al-Shabab or AQIM.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) 1. How are State Department and USAID programs affecting efforts to stabilize Sudan and surrounding areas? Yamamoto o State is working with the Arab League and other partners in the region to foster progress on the diplomatic front. o USAID has large and important programs in the region. Benjamin o Counterterrorism officials view a broad-based approach as essential. o Development programs are important for changing the environment in which extremist groups attempt to gain recruits. o The Bureau of Counterterrorism is enacting short-term programs targeted towards hotspots in order to compliment long-term USAID programs. 2. Have any of Joseph Kony’s senior lieutenants defected or been captured? If so, are they able to provide actionable intelligence regarding Kony’s whereabouts? Yamamoto o Some of his senior people have defected, but Kony remains an elusive figure. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) 1. How are State and DoD working together to coordinate operations and resources? Dory o The departments are working closely together on security and stability operations, largely through AFRICOM. 2. A request has been made for Boko Haram to be officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization; has a decision been reached at State about this? Benjamin o Cannot comment on an ongoing internal process. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) 1. The Invisible Children video about Joseph Kony has created a huge impact in the United States; have people in the affected region seen this video, and are they fully aware of the situation they face? Yamamoto o Those people live that situation every day; they are fully aware of what is going on. Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) 1. What types of U.S.-supported antiradicalization efforts have been most effective? Dory o The success of our programs has been based upon their complimentary nature; no one is singly responsible for the gains that have been made. Yamamoto o It is important to address issues like instability, education and healthcare when trying to deal with radicalism. Benjamin o The variety of pathways to radicalism is staggering – it requires a multi-pronged approach. 2. Are other countries in the region aiding our efforts as much as they should? Yamamoto o Yes they are.
Rep. Gerald Connolly (D-VA) 1. One of the most serious problems in areas affected by extremist violence is the inability of governments to provide law and order in their own countries; is the U.S. supporting institution-building programs in these countries? Yamamoto o Capacity-building is very important to our overall efforts. o The last decade has seen significant progress in Uganda. o The LRA has been chased out of Uganda due to improved government capabilities. 2. What about Mali? Yamamoto o Mali was a great disappointment, as programs there were progressing so well until the coup. 3. The coup in Mali was led by a U.S.-trained officer; how does this reflect on our programs in these countries? Yamamoto o One man does not impugn the whole program. Rep. Edward Royce (R-CA) 1. Would an expansion of the Rewards for Justice program be beneficial in the efforts to capture or kill Joseph Kony? Dory o DoD supports an expansion of the Rewards program. 2. Is AQIM involved at all in the drugs trade in North Africa? Benjamin o AQIM primarily relies upon the kidnapping and ransoming of foreign nationals for their funding. o While they operate in areas with significant levels of drug trafficking, there is not yet evidence that they are involved in it. 3. Boko Haram has recently started using suicide bombers; al-Shabab started using suicide bombers a short time before they announced their official affiliation with al-Qaeda. Is it possible that Boko Haram is shifting towards a more al-Qaeda-like ideology? Benjamin o Boko Haram looks to have received some training from AQIM. o Though the UN attacks are worrisome in that they may mean a shift to attacking outside targets, for the most part Boko Haram seems more interested in local concerns. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) 1. Does the neglect of human rights encourage radicalism? Yamamoto o Yes. Good governance and protection of human rights are important for maintaining stability and preventing the spread of radical ideologies. 2. Who is funding extremist groups in Africa? Are radical Islamists receiving financial support from Saudi Arabia? Is China involved anywhere? Benjamin o Most funding appears to come from ransoming hostages and other forms of crime. o There is some outside funding for groups, but it does not appear to be substantial. o Al-Shabab supports itself through control of the charcoal trade in Somalia.
Rep. David Rivera (R-FL) 1. There are reports of al-Qaeda activity in some of the Polisario camps in the Western Sahara; is the U.S. concerned that these camps, which receive U.S. and international support, are serving as recruiting and training grounds for al-Qaeda? Benjamin o Such reports have been investigated and have been found to be spurious in nature. ARTICLES AND REPORTS Agence France-Presse May 3: Asia’s architectural treasures ‘vanishing’ Tourism, war and rapid economic expansion threaten many important historical sites in Asia’s developing countries. Advocates from these states have accused UNESCO of neglecting them, citing figures that put over 80 percent of World Heritage sites in the world’s 10 wealthiest nations. BBC May 3: Guatemalan town under state of siege after clashes The Guatemalan government has deployed over 200 soldiers and police officers to the Santa Cruz Barillas area after the death of a local activist sparked a violent riot. Residents of the town believe the community leader was murdered because of his vocal opposition to the planned construction of a hydroelectric dam. Economist May 5: Rejoice, it’s Joyce Following her sudden ascent to the presidency, Malawi’s Joyce Banda has taken quick action to restore her country’s reputation for stability and genuine democracy. She has fired controversial figures from the previous regime, incorporated opposition parties into her government, and repaired relations with the UK and the IMF. However, economic and budgetary problems still pose a serious challenge for the country’s new leaders. May 5: Will it ever be stable? A former Congolese rebel leader wanted by the ICC is suspected of stirring up a new rebellion in the east of the DRC. General Bosco Ntaganda, known as “the Terminator,” has occupied an area in the North Kivu province, where he is gathering defecting soldiers by the hundreds. It remains to be seen if the situation will develop into a full scale revolt Washington Post May 2: South Sudan, Sudan clash along disputed border A photo essay on the violence on the Sudan/South Sudan border. (Editor’s warning on the essay: “Some images in this gallery may be disturbing due to their violent or graphic nature.”) May 4: Hundreds of Kenyan youth trained by Somali militants pose threat to nation, officials say The al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab militia has reportedly trained hundreds of Kenyan youths, who now pose a threat to their home country’s stability as they return from Somalia. A grenade attack on a church last week was reportedly carried out by one such individual. Disclaimer: Articles linked in the Update are intended to provide a dashboard view of newsworthy and topical issues from popular news outlets that will be of interest to readers of the Update. The articles are an information sharing vehicle rather than an advocacy tool. They are in no way representative of the views of InterAction or the U.S. NGO community as a whole. 7
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