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The politics of the Dubai port deal

I haven't yet written about the pending takeover of our port security by a UAE-owned corporation. It should almost go without saying, but I think it's fairly obviously a bad idea. Yeah, maybe I'm being unfair and prejudicial about the nationality of these people, but I'm sorry. I can't forget that the UAE was one of only three countries to formally recognize the Taliban. Unfair or not, I don't want a Dubai-based company managing the security of our ports. Seems like kind of a no-brainer to me.

I do find it encouraging, however, that opposition to the deal seems to be bipartisan. Peter King and Lindsey Graham are both on record as opposing the deal.

That makes me glad the politics of the situation are aligned as they are. If a Democrat were in the White House during this takeover bid, I think criticism from Democratic congressmen would be significantly muted. And not just because of raw partisanship, but out of a desire to avoid charges of anti-Arab bias and racism. Enough Republicans would likely be cowed by these same considerations that the chorus of opposition would likely be much smaller.

But given that Democratic critics of the deal like Bob Menendez can cast their opposition in terms of opposing the president, they have plenty of political cover to help block the deal. Their liberal bases will never exact a penalty for opposing Bush, even if it's a "No Arabs Need Apply" policy that would be unthinkable under a Democratic administration.

With any luck, the deal can be stopped.


That deal is very shameful and shows the depth of corruption within the Bush administration. Personally, I think that Chertoff should resign over this.

Aw hell, Blue. You think the entire administration should resign.

Yes I do, BUT do you agree or disagree with me on the specific issue? We are talking about the security of the country here. What they are doing is unimaginable and unbelievable.

Try reading up on the issue a little first BW.

Your post here seems to indicate that the current administration hired Dubai Ports World to oversee our port security.

The NY Times insinuates the very same thing, of course the NY Times has a habit of insinuating things it doesn't mean.

For instance, I'm certain the NY Times KNOWS that the U.S. government approved last week's purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., by Dubai Ports World, a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates, or UAE.

Peninsular and Oriental runs major commercial operations in New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

The U.S. government DIDN'T hire Dubai Ports World to oversee anything.

The British firm, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co., was purchased by Dubai Ports World LAST WEEK!

The U.S. government "approved," actually "made aware of," is more like it, as the U.S. has no right to stop the sale of a British Company to another foreign concern.

Our port security was ALREADY in the hands of a foreign company (British) and all indications are that the staff and management of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. will be retained by DPW.

I'm as skeptical about the deal as anyone, of course, in my case I don't jump to inane and completerly eroneous conclusions, the way most partisan hacks do.

Do you think the deal should be withdrawn? Yes or no? Do you trust a company from UAE looking after our security? Would you agree that the Bush administration is corrupt if they do not withdraw the deal? Simple questions deserve simple answers.

I'm skeptical of the deal BW, but I want to know a lot more before I could either condemn or condone the deal outright.

Consider this, one of the main points that opponents of the current "War on Terrorism" make is that we must be more nuanced in our dealings with the Arab/Muslim world. That is, we should (1) make sure that the world sees that this is a war against Terrorism and those who sponsor it rather than a war against Islam and (2) that we reward those Arab & Muslim countries that are pro-Western and assist us in the war on terror.

Well, the UAE, which owns the company Dubai Ports World, is a "friend" of the United States, as much of a friend as we have in the Arab world right now. In fact, Kuwait, Qutar, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia comprise the governments in the Arab world which support the U.S. right now. Turkey also supports the West and is Muslim, but is not Arabic.

I've heard this for four years, mostly from nut cases who, on the one hand, criticize America for conducting "what amounts to a war against Islam," while on the other screaming, "Why didn't we attack the Saudis instead of Iraq?"

The answer to the second part of that question, of course, can be found above - the Saudi government remains an "Allie" and a "friend" of the United States, as well. An "imperfect friend" to be sure, but a "friend" none-the-less. Same goes for the UAE. They are a "friendly" government toward America and have helped us in the war on terrorism and they have done a fair job, though not a great job of reining in terrorism within their borders.

Dubai Ports World just bought Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (POSN) LAST WEEK!

All indications are that the predominatly American, with a smattering of English citizens that now work securing the U.S. ports will continue to do so under the new management.

Moreover, neither Dubai Ports World, nor POSN could ever hire anyone they want for those U.S. ports jobs, as any foreigner applying for such a position would require a visa and background check by the U.S. Dept of Homeland Security.

Security analysts, like the folks at Stratfor don't seem all that worked up over this development, so I'd need to know a lot more than I do now before I could either condemn or condone it outright.

I will say this, ANYONE who can reflexively condemn this outright CANNOT then claim to favor any osrt of a "nuanced response" to the Arab world, nor worry about our conducting what would amount to a "war against Islam," as that outright condemnation is wholly inconsistent with that stand.

I can't believe that you as a republican "tough on terrorism" dont have the courage to call the idiotic and incompetent decision to hire this company for what it is.

Saudi Arabia and UAE are real enemies. UAE was only 1 of 3 goverments to recognize the Taliban!!!! And you think that it would be reasonable in any sense to trust a company controlled by that goverment with the security of our ports??? This decision reflects, at the very least, extreme incompetence. I personally believe that it also reflects extreme corruption. Unfortunately our country is run by a corrupt (democratically elected) regime. The Bush-Cheney regime.

Point of clarification: The UAE-owned company will be performing port OPERATIONS, not security. Port security is handled by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Right. So terrorists who could infiltrate that company will have access to our ports. Great, huh? Why are you trying to defend the indefensible?

Well, that may be because I'm not a "Republican," BW.

There are many, many Republican "Moderates" who are as socially Liberal as the likes of Ted Kennedy & Jimmy Carter.

I'm a Conservative. In fact, I'm still a registered Democrat, so that would probably make me a "Zell Miller Democrat."

Here's the facts, we ARE at WAR, with BOTH radical Islamicists/Islamo-nazis and with the governments who've sponsored, harbored and assisted these Islamo-cultists - those governments primarily are; Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and the Sudan.

It is odd that so many of those who refuse to believe that FACT, now seek to expand the base of our enemy to include ALL Islamic nations. In short, your stance, now asserts that we are NOT merely at war with the forces of Islamo-cultism and the rogue nations that have harbored, sponsored and funded terrorism, but with ALL of ISLAM.

While it is true that many of the people in the Islamic nations governed by "Allies" are themselves "Islamo-cultists" and supporters of terror, the same could be said for Engalnd - there are indeed many radicalized Muslims and Islamo-nazis in England, where over 60% of the Muslims living there want to see Sharia law made the law of the land in England.

So, sure, there are many, many Pakistanis & Saudis who are numbered among the Islamo-cultists and while it certainly would not be safe for most Westerners to go there without Military protection, BUT the government of Pakistan, like the governments of Saudi Arabia and the UAE ARE ALLIED with the U.S. & Britain in the war on terrorism.

Anyone who knows anything about that region knows why we MUST continue to support, even "prop up" the Musharef regime in Pakistan and the Saudi Royal Family.

Dubai is one of the seven small states that comprise the UAE. Its led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defense. Dubai is a VERY Westernized and pro-Western nation, with an international Tennis Championship now taking place (Feb 20th - March 4th) and the Dubai International Jazz Festival taking place March 8th - March 10th with the likes of Diane Schuur and Kool & the Gang participating.

It is true that Dubai has been a banking center, much like the Cayman Islands, for many years, and YES, a lot of the 9/11 monies went through Dubai - they also went through Germany, Switzerland and embarrassingly enough, the USA!

The FACT that Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE recognized the Taliban government in Afghanistan DID NOT and DOES NOT make those countries our enemies.

Not one of them offered any support to Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 and ALL three of those nations supported the U.S. led invasion of Afghanistan and have all worked with the U.S. & Britain in varying degrees in the war on terrorism.

AND ONCE AGAIN, the "Bush-Cheney Regime" DIDN'T MAKE "the idiotic and incompetent decision to hire this company," Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. (itself a FOREIGN BASED Comapny) has had these contracts for since well BEFORE 2000.

"Right. So terrorists who could infiltrate that company will have access to our ports. Great, huh? Why are you trying to defend the indefensible?" (Blue Wind)

That's a canard BW, for NO foreign worker from ANY company can get a visa to work here WITHOUT first going through the USCIS which is now part of the Dept of Homeland Security.

A Japanese citizen can't even work in or manage a Toyota Plant within the U.S. without such a visa.

As to the transfer LAST WEEK, of POSN to DPW, here's what the head of POSN says, Michael Seymour, president of the North American arm of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation, said, that his company "is itself a foreign-owned terminal operator that has long worked with U.S. government officials in charge of security at the ports to meet all U.S. government standards, as do other foreign companies that currently operate ports in the United States."

To validate your position, you have to either prove that the UAE, or at least, the state of Dubai is an enemy of the United States, or take the unenviable position that, "Like it or not, America is NOW at war with all of the Islamic world."

That last position may well be the case and that is why I wish to reserve judgment.

Something overlooked by most American Liberals has been the fact that virtually EVERY conflict in the world today revolves around the Islamic world's clashes with other cultures, from the Balkans (Albanian Mulsims versus Serbs & Croats), Kasmir (Muslims versus Hindus), Malaysia (Muslims versus Christians), Darfur, the Sudan (Muslims versus non-Muslims)...we are very, very close to having a real WORLD WAR...a global clash of civilizations, led by the West's fight against Muslim expansionism into Europe and the West.

That's probably why most Liberals don't see the "need for war." They apparently still don't grasp how far along and how serious this matter is.

We're heading that way now. It's almost a given that Europe, within the next five years, will have a mass expulsion of the Arabs and Muslims now living there. But even in such a conflict, do we throw out the good with the bad?

Maybe. Sometimes you have to.

But, wouldn't it be better to divide the Muslim world between pro-Westerns and radical Islamicists?

If it is, then THIS is how things like that get done.

We DON'T lump in the likes of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, "friendly GOVERNMENTS" ALL, with those countries controlled by radical Islamicists, like Afghanistan and now Iran, and rogue "secular" (pan-Arabic) states, like Syria and Iraq who've long supported Islamo-cultist terrorism as a weapon against the West.

good points JMK, but I'm going to be need more convincing that it's a 'safe' deal than Tennis and Kool and the Gang.

BW, I am not defending anything. I am correcting the record that the contract in question is for port operations, not port security.

"good points JMK, but I'm going to be need more convincing that it's a 'safe' deal than Tennis and Kool and the Gang." (Ortho)

You're right, those things alone prove nothing ortho, except the extent to which the UAE is Westernized.

In many Muslim nations the Jazz Concert especially, would be forbidden.

I'm NOT convinced this is a great contract at all and have never said that it was. I merely want to refute the hyperventilating, hyperbole of Blue Wind, who seems sure this decision is "corrupt and incompetent" based on zero facts backing up his claim.

POSN Co. (a British concern) had this contract for many, many years.


Dubai is one of the seven states of the UAE and is as much a "friend" to the U.S. is any Arab nation, closer to a "friend" than Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and as close as Kuwait & Qutar.

The keys seem to be that WE (the USA) are still ultimately responsible for our own security - port security, immigration, and everything else.

The "corrupt and incompetent" decision to hire POSN Co. wasn't made by the Bush administration. It was made prior. The sale of POSN Co. was "approved" by the U.S. last week, BUT we have no standing to stop an exchange between two foreign companies, any more than Britain has the right to stop the merger of say two American banks.

For ANY foreign worker to work here, they'll NEED a work visa that now comes under the auspices of the Dept of Homeland Security. DPW claims it has no intention of changing the staffing of the POSN Co. North America branch.

If they do change their minds, all new employees, working within the U.S. will require work visas from the Dept of Homeland Security and we've been very stringent on ANY applicants from Arab & Muslim nations lately.

Is it a sound deal?

I don't know. I don't know enough about DPW. Of course, neither does BW, or any of the folks who reflexively want to scuttle it and label it a "corrupt and incompetent decision."

Personally, I'm glad this controversy has come up. It allows us to force those like Blue Wind to take a consistent stance.

If you reflexively oppose this contract, you must also have reflexively supported the post-9/11 targeted round-up of some 4,000 Arab & Muslim males, the invasions of BOTH Afghanistan AND Iraq (as Saddam's Iraq was the leading State Sponsor of international terrorism from 1989 to 2003) and such folks must finally accept that we are NOW officially "at war with Islam itself," for that is what their stances on both the DPW controversy and on Iran seem to indicate.

It's insane for anyone opposed to the way Iraq was handled to now exhort America to "do something" with Iran, when we are right now doing everyting short of Military invasion. And if Dubai & the UAE are "enemies of America," along with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, then America is most certainly "at war with Islam."

I just want Blue Wind to take a consistent stand on this. The view that "anything this administration does" is wrong, is a retarded one.

I will not take a "consistent stand". I will stick with the "retarded" view that anything this administration does is wrong. Because it is.

holy shit look what they're buliding outside of Dubai!


Man i gotta say...the UAE is starting to look like a different world than what i had thought (still a bit skeptical on the port deal).

Prices start at 25 million.

Cool. Isn't that also where they have that big-ass indoor skiing facility?

yeah it is, that place looks like an international Vegas. Do some searches for hotels in Dubai also....oh man whoa!

Correction: the prices start at 7million USD, the 25million was in AED money (?)

I will not take a "consistent stand". I will stick with the "retarded" view that anything this administration does is wrong. Because it is.' (Blue Wind)

I know you will BW, in fact, I count on it, as that stance only further erodes any lingering credibility your side may still possess.

When Clinton was in office, I found the Religious Right's hysteria absurd. At worst, Clinton was a mixed bag - he did, or at least signed onto some very good things, from welfare reform, to balancing the budget, to taking a very pro-business stand, ALL at the insistance of Newt Gingrich, with whom he worked closely and well.

Now the rabid, radical Left froths at the mouth even worse over this guy (GW) and typically mistakes fervor and fanaticism for passion, vile anti-Americanism ("America is now the world's biggest terrorist" and "Bush = Hitler") for dissent, and scatological and personal attack for political strategy.

"Stolen Election of 2000!"

Didn't resonate at all in 2004, despite all the promises that it would.

"Illegal Invasion of Iraq" didn't either.

And now, as the economy continues to improve and as U.S. troop levels in Iraq continue to fall as Iraqi forces take control of their own security...and most of all, with America free from terrorist attack, now going on FIVE YEARS, there is very little upon which the Dems can hang their hats in 2006.

So, now after calling the Patriot Act "excessive" and the war in Iraq "unnecessary" and "wrong" because "we aren't at war with Islam," you're going to advance the inane idea that "ALL Arabs & Muslims are our enemy."

Look, if you now insist that even pro-Western and America-friendly governments like Kuwait, Qutar, and the UAE are our enemies, then you must review your earlier stance on the post-9/11 Arab & Muslim round-up and scuttle your earlier criticisms of the Patriot Act.

Now I support and have ALWAYS supported the targeted round-ups post 9/11, the full Patriot Act and our Military incursions to thwart the sponsors of international terrorism in the Mid-East and I remain skeptical, though NOT hysterical over this deal.

Port security remains the purview of the U.S. and this deal merely maintains a foreign entity controlling some of our Port operations...personally, I'd ask "Why can't Halliburton do this?"

But I have yet to read a single article that explains why this company DPW is a problem for us.

You're right ortho, Dubai DOES look like some kind of international Vegas.

They (the UAE) along with Qutar and Kuwait and probably Jordan seem to ne the most Westernized and pro-Western Arab nations.

The port deal is another matter altogether, but the hysteria on the part of some folks, as though "the Arabs will now be in charge of OUR port security" (WRONG) and "they'll easilly be able to sneak terrorists into our country" (wrong again, since all foreign employees require a work visa from our own Dept of Homeland Security), is not only lame, but unhealthy.

Rep Pete King (R-NY) a good guy, wants the deal reviewed again, so do Charles Schumer (D-NY)and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Let'em review it again and take their time, but hopefully NOT with the view that ALL Arabs/Muslims are the enemy.

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