Project on Middle East Democracy
The POMED Wire Archives
Category: Congressional Hearing Notes (House)
POMED Notes: “Recent Developments in Egypt and Lebanon:Implications for U.S. Policy and Allies in the Broader Middle East, Part 1″
February 10th, 2011 by Kyle
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs
held an open hearing on Wednesday, focused on the future of Egypt and Lebanon in light of recent political instability in Lebanon and unrest in Eygpt. To discuss the issues facing these countries and the region, the committee – chaired by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and with Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) in attendance – requested the testimony of three individuals: Elliott Abrams
Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations; Lorne Craner, president of the International Republican Institute and former Assistant Secretary of State; Dr. Robert Satloff, Executive Director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
For full notes click here
for the pdf.
POMED Notes: “Sudan at the Crossroads”
January 23rd, 2011 by Naureen
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held its first Members’ briefing on Tuesday. The briefing focused on the future of Sudan following the completion of referendum elections on secession. To discuss the issues facing the country, the committee – chaired by Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and with Congressman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) in attendance – requested the testimony of three individuals: Princeton Lyman, Special Advisor for Sudan, U.S. Department of State; Richard S. Williamson, Partner, Salisbury Strategies LLC and Former Special Envoy to Sudan and Ambassador to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights; and Omer Ismail, Advisor, The Enough Project.To read full notes continue below, or click here for pdf.
POMED Notes: “Oversight Hearing on Corruption in Afghanistan”
July 30th, 2010 by Farid
The Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs held a public hearing addressing corruption in Afghanistan. The committee, headed by Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), requested the testimony of two witnesses: Richard C. Holbrooke, Ambassador and Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan; and Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID Administrator.Read the rest of this entry »
POMED Notes: House Foreign Affairs Hearing on Democracy Assistance
June 11th, 2010 by Jennifer
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing yesterday to explore ways to improve the effectiveness of government efforts to promote democracy and human rights abroad through foreign aid. This was the latest in a series of committee hearings focused on
foreign assistance reform,
in light of Chairman Berman’s efforts to rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. The hearing sought to address challenges such as the need for greater coordination between U.S. foreign aid organizations; problems in the current structure, organization, and delivery capacity of aid institutions; and the inherent tension in agencies’ mission to build strong bilateral relationships with foreign governments while standing firm on support for democracy. POMED’s full notes on the hearing are below the fold or are available to view or download as a pdf
. Read the rest of this entry »
POMED Notes: “The Human Rights Situation in Bahrain”
April 27th, 2010 by Josh
Earlier today, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a hearing to explore the human rights situation in Bahrain. Credible human rights NGOs and the State Department have documented violations of Bahraini constitutional protections, and have expressed concern for women’s rights, trafficking, freedom of speech and religion, domestic violence and discrimination against the Shi’a population and foreign workers’ rights. To discuss these issues, the commission – chaired by Congressman James McGovern (D-MA) with Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) in attendance – requested the testimony of five individuals: Joe Stork, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division; Stephen McInerney, Director of Advocacy for the Project of Middle East Democracy; Katie Zoglin, Senior Program Manager of Freedom House’s Middle East and North Africa division; Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle East Affairs for the Congressional Research Service; and Mohammed Alansari of the Bahrain Society for Public Freedom.
For POMED’s notes in PDF, click here
. Otherwise, continue reading below.
Posted in Bahrain, Congressional Hearing Notes (House), Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Elections, Foreign Aid, Human Rights, Journalism, Judiciary, NGOs, Political Parties, Reform, Sectarianism, US foreign policy, Women | Comment »
POMED Notes: “U.S. Policies and Programs for Global Development: USAID and the FY 2011 Budget Request”
March 3rd, 2010 by Josh
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing this morning to address President Obama’s FY2011 budget request for global development and international aid. USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah provided testimony about particular goals and objectives for USAID moving forward, and answered the committee’s questions regarding a variety of development trends and projects.
For POMED’s notes in PDF, click here
. Otherwise, continue below the fold.
POMED Notes: “Promoting Security through Diplomacy and Development: The Fiscal Year 2011 International Affairs”
February 26th, 2010 by Josh
In a hearing on the administration’s recently released budget request, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs invited Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to give testimony on particular budgetary items relating to U.S. diplomatic and development efforts abroad. Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) opened the hearing with an affirmation of the value of investing in international diplomacy; not only to promote American values, but also as a method of prevention in order to mitigate the forces that cause international instability. Berman pledged to work with his colleagues to maintain or even increase the overall level of funding – approximately 1 percent of the entire Fiscal Year 2011 federal budget request – but ranking Republican committee member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) disagreed, using the poor economic environment as the basis to call for “selective freezes.” In particular, she questioned the wisdom of unconditionally funding the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), both of which she accuses of stealing hundreds of millions in foreign aid.
for POMED’s notes in PDF, or continue reading below.
Posted in Afghanistan, Congressional Hearing Notes (House), Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Elections, Foreign Aid, Freedom, Hamas, Hezbollah, Human Rights, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Morocco, Multilateralism, Palestine, Protests, Sudan, Syria, US foreign policy, Western Sahara, Yemen, sanctions | 1 Comment »
A Closer Look at Thomas Farr’s Briefing Remarks
February 4th, 2010 by Maria
Yesterday, POMED released a report about the briefing for the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight about the status and future of U.S. policy on international religious freedom. Thomas F. Farr, a professor at Georgetown and former American diplomat, was one of the panelists who presented at the briefing.
A PDF file of Farr’s full remarks can be found here.
Some highlights from Farr’s remarks include:
“Our international religious freedom efforts are widely viewed abroad as only benefiting Christian minorities, as a front for Christian missionaries, and as anti-Islam. This perception is, let me say it firmly, utterly wrong. Indeed, if anything, U.S. foreign policy has tended to downplay the fates of Christian minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere. And it has advocated for the rights of Muslims. But perception is critical, and, in this case, the perception of our international religious freedom policy as pro-Christian and anti-Islam is crippling.”
“Let me focus here on one critical issue — the President’s Cairo speech and his much praised strategy of engaging Muslim majority communities. It was a good speech. A significant portion was devoted to issues of human dignity and stability, namely, democracy, religious freedom, women’s rights, and development…The president told Muslim communities that religious liberty is central to human dignity and to social and political stability. In light of this, we are entitled to ask why his administration has so far ignored international religious freedom policy in the Muslim world.”
“…Young Muslim leaders are telling us that they want democracy, and, like most Americans, they want to hear from the United States that we will support democracy in all Muslim majority countries, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran, and that we will support the rights of Muslims to engage in political life on the basis of Islamic principles. But to achieve this and the other benefits of democracy, Muslim majority communities must embrace religious freedom for others. This means members of their own communities must be able to interpret and even criticize their own traditions; that majorities must forswear privileged access to the civil authority and police powers of the state; and that minorities must have complete freedom of worship and equal access to the democratic public square, and the opportunity to influence law and public policy.”
POMED Notes: “America and the Iranian Political Reform Movement: First, do No Harm”
February 3rd, 2010 by Josh
The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held a hearing to address the prospects of developing U.S. policy tools that will avoid harming Iran’s opposition movement. Four witnesses provided expert testimony: Geneive Abdo, Director of the Iran Program at The Century Foundation; Mehdi Khalaji, Senior Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Fariborz Ghadar, Distinguished Scholar and Senior Advisor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and J. Scott Carpenter, Keston Family Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
For POMED’s notes in PDF, click here
. Otherwise, continue below the fold.
Posted in Congressional Hearing Notes (House), DC Event Notes, Democracy Promotion, Foreign Aid, Freedom, Human Rights, Iran, Islam and Democracy, Multilateralism, Protests, Reform, Technology, US foreign policy, sanctions | Comment »
POMED Notes: “Yemen on the Brink: Implications for U.S. Policy”
February 3rd, 2010 by Maria
The Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing today entitled “Yemen on the Brink: Implications for U.S. Policy,” in which two State Department officials briefed the committee on the U.S. government’s current progress in Yemen.
Chairman Howard L. Berman (D-CA) made opening remarks mentioning the Fort Hood shooting and the failed Christmas Day attack, followed by a brief overview on the current conditions in Yemen. Ranking member Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) also made some remarks, focusing on al-Qaeda’s presence in Yemen. “It is no accident that al-Qaeda has found a home in Yemen.” Ros-Lehtinen said that a small group controls much of Yemen’s wealth, which relies on oil revenues, and that “al-Qaeda is now targeting the Yemeni state.” Her main question for the State Department officials was whether or not the Yemeni government has really changed its attitude toward al-Qaeda and whether the U.S. now truly has a partner in the Yemeni government.
for POMED’s full notes on the hearing as a pdf, or continue reading below.
POMED Notes - “Bill Markup: Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act”
October 30th, 2009 by Zack
The House Foreign Affairs Committee marked up the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act (H.R. 2194). The meeting was opened with remarks from Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ranking Member leana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) who then opened the floor to comments from members of the committee. The bill was widely supported by the committee with three representatives that offered dissenting speaches. Ultimately, the measure was passed by a voice vote with the promise that Berman will push the bill to the House floor as soon as possible.
To read a PDF version of POMED’s notes, please click here.
Or keep reading below the fold.
POMED Notes - “Implications of the Promotion of Defamation of Religions”
October 29th, 2009 by Zack
The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a meeting to discuss recent movements in the international community to create resolutions against the defamation of religion. The event hosted Joseph Cassidy, Director of the Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy; Leonard Leo, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom; Angela Wu, international director of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; Tad Stahnke, director of Policy and Programs at Human Rights First; Zainab al-Suwaij, cofounder and president of the American Islamic Congress; and Felice Gaer, director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights of the American Jewish Committee. Panelists focused on the recent U.S.-Egyptian draft resolution protecting the freedom of speech as well as other anti-religious defamation efforts in the international community.
For POMED’s full notes of the event, please click here
American Interests in Afghanistan
October 15th, 2009 by Jason
Italy reportedly paid off the Taliban and did not tell NATO allies, an oversight that may have cost the lives of ten French soldiers. Meanwhile, Great Britain has authorized an increase of 500 more troops to Afghanistan. At home, the debate over Afghanistan continues, with Chairman Berman
of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs observing: “there is no consensus today
on how the U.S. should address the challenges we face there.”
The Afghan Ambassador to the U.S. has requested an increase in troops
, but Chris Good posits “given the ambiguities surrounding Afghanistan’s fledgling democracy, it probably doesn’t carry a load of political ramifications one way or the other.” Citing such ambiguities, Seumas Milne
argues against an escalation: “It was a war for democracy, women’s rights, development and opium eradication - all successively demonstrated to be a hollow joke.”
While they do not argue for a troop decrease, Robert Pape and Chibli Mallat argue the U.S. must reevaluate its basic strategy in Afghanistan. Given that the U.S. is increasingly viewed as an occupier supporting a “corrupt and illegitimate” regime, Pape contends the U.S. should focus on “local empowerment,” the same strategy that has worked so well for the Taliban. Arguing counterinsurgency cannot succeed without a democratic, functioning partner government, Mallat argues the U.S. must first help resolve election fraud before considering troop levels. Mallat suggests a consensus-building assembly
, or Loya Jirga
, could help resolve the elections.
In his testimony in front of the House Armed Services Committee, Stephen Biddle
said that human rights, education and prosperity are only tertiary U.S. interests in Afghanistan, but the U.S. should be mostly concerned with not allowing Afghanistan to host extremist bases or destabilize Pakistan. Meanwhile, David Ignatius concludes, “Stabilizing the whole country is Mission Impossible
, I’m afraid.”
Posted in Afghanistan, Congressional Hearing Notes (House), Democracy Promotion, Elections, Human Rights, Military, Multilateralism, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, US foreign policy, Women, al-Qaeda | Comment »
POMED Notes: “The Afghan Elections: Who Lost What?”
October 2nd, 2009 by Daniel
The House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia held a hearing Thursday on the implications for U.S. policy of the recent elections in Afghanistan. The five witnesses were Glenn Cowan, Co-Founder and Principal of Democracy International, Inc., Alexander Thier, Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the United States Institute of Peace, Peter Manikas, Senior Associate & Regional Director for the Asia Programs of the National Democratic Institute, Dr. Christine Fair, Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, and The Honorable Lorne Craner, President of the International Republican Institute.
The discussion centered on whether increased troop commitments could improve the credibility of elections, and whether the U.S. mission should include counter-insurgency and nation-building. POMED’s notes from the hearing can be found here
POMED Notes: “United Nations Chapter VII Mandates and the U.S.-Iraq Bilateral Agreement”
September 18th, 2009 by Jason
The U.S. House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight of the Committee on Foreign Affairs hosted a hearing Thursday on the current status of Iraq under the U.N. Chapter VII Mandates and Iraq’s relations with the United States. In the first pannel, Dr. Kenneth Katzman of the Congressional Research Service, Michael J. Matheson of the George Washington University Law School and Stephen G. Rademaker of the BGR Group served as witnesses. In the second panel, members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives, Ayyad Allawi and Saleh al-Mutlaq, testified before the subcommittee as well.
For POMED’s complete notes on the event, please click here
Posted in Congressional Hearing Notes (House), DC Event Notes, Elections, Human Rights, Iraq, Kurds, Legislation, Military, Multilateralism, Oil, Political Parties, Sectarianism, US foreign policy, United Nations | Comment »
POMED Notes: “The World Bank’s Disclosure Policy Review”
September 11th, 2009 by Jason
The House Committee on Financial Services hosted a hearing yesterday to examine options for reforming the World Bank into a more democratic and transparent institution, thereby improving development outcomes. The Committee heard expert testimony from Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University, Richard E. Bissell of the National Research Council, Professor Alnoor Ebrahim of the Harvard Business School, Vijaya Ramachandran of the Center for Global Development and Thomas S. Blanton of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Among many other points of discussion, Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) questioned why the U.S. often sends mixed messages to foreign aid recipients about the relative importance of pure economic growth versus democratic values. To see our notes from the event, click here.
POMED Notes: 2010 International Affairs Budget
May 13th, 2009 by Eoghan
Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources JacobLew appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to discuss President Obama’s 2010 budget request for international affairs activities. The administration’s proposed budget would double foreign assistance by 2015, and double USAID overseas personnel.
POMED Notes: Human Rights in Egypt
May 8th, 2009 by Cecile
Yesterday, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held a hearing on the status of human rights and political reform in Egypt. Discussing these issues before the commission were Saad Eddin Ibrahim
, Founding Chair of the Ibn Khaldun Center; Ahmed Salah
, an activist and leader of the April 6 movement in Egypt; Cameel Halim
, Chairman of the Coptic Assembly of America; Paula Schriefer
, Director of Advocacy at Freedom House; and Ayman Nour via telephone from Egypt. The participants urged Congress to pass H.Res.200
, a resolution introduced by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), which calls on “the Egyptian Government to respect human rights and freedoms of religion and expression in Egypt.”
POMED Notes: “The Future of the U.S.-Pakistan Relationship”
May 5th, 2009 by Eoghan
The House Committee on Foreign Affairs held a hearing on the future of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, with much of the discussion focusing on the Pakistan Enduring Assistance and Cooperation Enhancement (PEACE) Act, which would increase civilian aid to Pakistan. The first portion of the hearing featured Richard Holbrooke, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The second panel included Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, C. Christine Fair, Senior Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, and Daniel Markey, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Posted in Afghanistan, Congressional Hearing Notes (House), Democracy Promotion, Foreign Aid, Pakistan, Reform, Taliban, Terrorism, US foreign policy, Women, al-Qaeda | Comment »
POMED Notes: Clinton Hearing on Obama Foreign Policy
April 22nd, 2009 by Eoghan
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appeared before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs today to discuss the foreign policy goals and strategies of the Obama administration. The discussion touched on Palestine and Hamas, Afghanistan, Pakistan, funding diplomacy and development aid versus funding the military, and the promotion of human rights and democracy around the world.
Posted in Afghanistan, Congressional Hearing Notes (House), Democracy Promotion, Diplomacy, Event Notes, Foreign Aid, Freedom, Hamas, Human Rights, Islam and Democracy, Mideast Peace Plan, Military, NGOs, Pakistan, Palestine, Secularism, Taliban, US foreign policy | 1 Comment »
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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of POMED as an organization