Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Kaufman Reports From The Middle East

Source: Delaware Way

By Nancy Willing

July 9, 2010

I phoned in to Senator KAUFMAN's conference call this afternoon from Egypt. He discussed his trip through the Middle East. His two basic questions: "How is Iraq progressing toward the wind down" and "What regional views are in play concerning the Israeli - Palestinian peace process". Both outcomes were surprisingly favorable.

Iraq is moving ahead so positively that KAUFMAN thinks that there will be a democratic, representative government in place by August. He said that the US military was comfortable with the wind down schedule. (We have about 50K soldiers there who haven't been engaged in combat for some time. The Iraqi army numbers around 600K and is taking care of business.) We'll be continuing the counterinsurgency strategy with a civilian expansion - building capacity in government, economic development, education, roads, schools etc..

Senator KAUFMAN described his meetings across the region (see itinerary below) as unified in the strong desire to see progress toward direct talks and a two state solution for Israel and Palestine. The Saudis were the newest to call for peace, being under pressure now of the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. They have even written a peace plan.

Israelis outside of Netanyahu's coalition are ready to move to a solution. KAUFMAN feels that the planned expansion of settlements will be given up as talks progress. The only real problem seems to be the likely interference of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

I had to ask the Senator if anyone in the Middle East had asked him about his Wall Street reform fame and he laughed and said, no, that for a solid week he hadn't heard the words 'Wall Street' until just then.

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