Deborah Bodlander Senior Middle East Policy Advisor, The Gilman Group
US goals in the Middle East: To insure a free flow of oil at a reasonable cost; End the Arab-Israeli conflict, and Sell US products abroad. The US will fund anything to get the Arab-Israeli conflict off the table... Hamas will be a major player in a Palestinian state because of the US unwillingness to penalize Arafat. He continues to control everything on the Palestinian street. A Palestinian state will see the growth of Hamas with Syria and Iran and Libya connections - all are terrorist regimes. Economically, Israel won't be able to monitor contraband goods and weapons. Corruption and inefficiency will continue, and tribalism will extend to business and government... USAID funnels US assistance to the Palestinians. The US should address the tunnel issue with Egypt and pay for the prevention of smuggling. US should isolate Arafat further.