CRS Updates Iran and Syria Reports:

The Congressional Research Service recently updated its reports covering Iran, noting that the US believes Iran is currently its greatest challenge, and Syria, which still causes serious concern despite its reported cooperation in investigating al Qaeda. The Iran report recaps the history of Iran’s regime and dissident groups and offers a brief review of its military capability, devoting more discussion to its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and its growing nuclear program. It offers a review of US policy and diplomatic initiatives and attempts to garner international sanctions. The report on Syria notes that the US has limited direct aid and trade to the country in response to its support of terrorist groups, most recently Syria’s backing of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Another point of contention is the mysterious assassination in February 2005 of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, who was a critic of Syria’s military presence in Lebanon. The United Nations found evidence in 2005 that both Syrian and Lebanese forces were involved in the killing, but a more thorough investigation continues.