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U.S. Foreign Assistance to the Middle East: Historical Background, Recent Trends, and the FY2008 Request

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Congressional rept.

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This report is an overview of U.S. foreign assistance to the Middle East from FY2003 to FY2007, and of the FY2008 budget request. It includes a brief history of aid to the region, a review of foreign aid levels, a description of selected country programs, and an analysis of current foreign aid issues. Congress both authorizes and appropriates foreign assistance and conducts oversight of executive agencies management of aid programs. As a region, the Middle East is the largest annual recipient of U.S. economic and military aid. With Iraq in need of long-term reconstruction assistance, Iraq has become a regular recipient of U.S. foreign aid. For policy makers, foreign assistance plays a key role in advancing U.S. foreign policy goals in the Middle East. The United States has a number of interests in the region, ranging from support for the state of Israel and Israels peaceful relations with its Arab neighbors, to the protection of vital petroleum supplies and the fight against international terrorism. U.S. assistance helps to maintain the 1979 Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt and the continued stability of the Kingdom of Jordan, which signed its own peace treaty with Israel in 1994. U.S. funding also works to improve Palestinian civil society, and aid officials have worked to ensure that U.S. aid to the West Bank and Gaza Strip is not diverted to terrorist groups. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has established new region-wide aid programs to promote democracy and encourage socio-economic reform in order to undercut the forces of radicalism in some Arab countries. After the U.S. withdrawal from South Vietnam, the Middle East as a whole began to receive more U.S. foreign aid than any other region of the world, a trend that has continued to today. This report will be updated periodically to reflect recent developments. For foreign aid terminology and acronyms, please see the glossary appended to this report.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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