Lee P Butler

UAE Dubai Ports World: Trust, But Verify

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February 28, 2006

UAE Dubai Ports World: Trust, But Verify

Lee P. Butler

Just as quickly as the Washington Press Corps could turn a quail hunting accident into a national scandal of hysteria, they latched onto another barn-burner of a story to focus their attention and that of the nation.

On October 31st, 2005 the BBC News reported that Dubai Ports World had given the British port management firm P&O a preliminary deal to manage terminals in six United States ports. The United Arab Emirates firm already manages ports in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.

After several months had passed and while media elitists were completely ignoring Al Gore and his obvious attempt to incite Arab hatred towards America in Saudi Arabia at a speaking engagement paid for by the bin Laden family, Congress and the media heard about the story of the possible UAE purchase.

Faster than a Massachusetts liberal can call 911 to report his driving accident in which his female passenger drowned, it was being reported that members of Congress were outraged that the possible terrorist organization of the UAE was going to be in charge of several U.S. ports creating a national security threat.

A national security threat that supposedly didn’t exist before because the Communist Chinese and even the Socialist British government who has allowed Islamic fundamentalism to flourish in their country, ran the ports.

Why, how could America possibly trust an ally country that helped during the first Gulf War in which they even sent troops to Kuwait and operates one of the most important and the busiest port of the United States Navy in the Middle East with the management of terminals in U.S. ports?

They wondered how we could trust a country that gave $3.85 billion dollars to help cover the cost of the first Gulf War, and in November ordered 42 Boeing 777 airplanes, and have given $215 million towards rebuilding Iraq, and also gave $126 million in foreign aid for hurricane Katrina relief when three of the 9-11 terrorists were born in that country?

Yet, most of those terrorists were from Saudi Arabia and we still buy their oil and trust that they are allies who are serious about helping us stop terrorism around the world. And the media still hasn’t discovered any details on the bin Laden family funded trip where Al Gore told Arabs in that country that Americans were committing ‘terrible abuses’ against Arabs.

As the story broke in America, members of Congress went on tirades against the deal, attacking the President and his administration for accepting a financial deal that would be administered by possible terrorists since the UAE is, after all, an Arab country in the Middle East.

Hillary Clinton jumped on the issue at the outset. “Our port security is too important to place in the hands of foreign governments. I will be working with Senator Menendez to introduce legislation that will prohibit the sale of ports to foreign governments.”

Clinton knew what she doing as did most other members of Congress who berated the issue to get the most dramatic response from the American people as possible. Because as has been pointed out, specifically by deputy secretary of Homeland Security Michael Jackson, that the company would get long-term leases to operate terminals in the ports. The ports themselves are not for sale.

What makes Clinton’s response even more astounding is the relationship that her husband and even his administration had with the United Arab Emirates.

In 1995 his administration sold frigates to the UAE. In 1996, the assistant state secretary said, “On the international stage, the UAE is universally respected for its generosity and commitment to regional security and fair dealing.” In 1998, they sold them Harpoon missile systems and 80 F-16 fighter jets.

In December of 2005 Clinton went to Dubai and said, “Dubai is a role model of what could be achieved despite the other negative developments in the region.” He also talked about peace in the region and pointed out how, “Less than 6% of Dubai’s income comes from oil. It’s no longer an oil economy.”

Meaning they have to rely on doing business in a global economy to remain economically valid. Any business leader will tell you that you can’t stay in business if you kill all your customers.

Also taking into account the fact that America is doing business with Pakistan even though it wasn’t until after the tragedy of 9-11 that they became an ally in the War on Terror, it’s no wonder that Hillary Clinton seemed to be relaxing her harsh rhetoric and position by the end of the week.

“There will certainly be legislation to require the 45-day investigation. It seems to many of us that on the face of the statute,” Mrs. Clinton positioned, “and given the circumstances of this transaction, that should have been undertaken, but in the absence of it, it should now be ordered. That may be the first step in trying to resolve this matter.”

She went from no foreign control of ports to lets investigate to see if its okay. So the UAE voluntarily put the deal on hold for the 45 day interim so it can be examined further by Congress.

In light of the fact that Americans will still be the people who actually do the jobs in the terminals of the ports and that the security of the ports will remain in the control of the United States, slowly the issue of who exactly is writing the checks will apparently become less of a concern to everyone.

In the end, it seems that the best policy for all can best be summed up by the immortal leadership of President Ronald Reagan when he said...

“Trust, but verify.”

Copyright 2016 Lee P Butler. All Rights Reserved.