Dubai Good For America

We here at dubai metblogs have been sitent on the whole issue of DP world taking over P&O, which has created a stir in America because the deal effects Ports in the US, according to the $6.8 Billion buyout of P&O by the dubai based DP World a leader in ship handling and port Operations, control of 22 US port terminals will come under the management of DP World. P&O was the British Empire’s giant steam line in its time and now its revenues come not from shipping but from port handling. The irony is that while the british understand that Emire has given way to globalization a lot of people in the US do not.

Lets see what the big deal is.

Critics of the deal in the US say that UAE has links to terrorists prior to 9/11, their main point is that 2 of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE, this line of criticism is totally absurd. Richard Reid, the attempted “shoe bomber,” was a British citizen, and Jose Padilla, among others, is an American citizen (as was Timothy McVeigh) does that mean America should stop doing business with Britain and suspect every one of its citizens of foul play. The UAE has been a staunch ally in the war on terror, training security forces in Iraq and helping to cut off the flow of money to al Qaeda. The UAE has also provided the Americans with docking facilities for navy ships to refuel and strengthen the supply line for its troops fighting the war on terror. It is among the countries providing Air Force bases to the American Army, what more do the Americans want.

The second main Point is that it would effect security at US ports, DP world is a business, their job is to handle port operations. the responsibility of security is not with P&O neither would it be with DP World but instead with the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs. “Nothing changes with respect to security under the contract,” said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “The Coast Guard is in charge of security, not the corporation.”

Most In the Arab World feel that this deal is not a security issue but rather a racial and religious issue because of the misconceptions that most Americans have with the Arab World. Most Americans do not know much about Dubai & the UAE, but they know it is situated in the Persian Gulf, they know it is an Arab country and thus they feel that it is not safe. I would like to clarify that yes Dubai is in the middle east, it is an arab country, it might have had links to terrorists, but it is one of America’s closest ally’s on the war against terror. It is a fast developing country with one of the best records in running businesses. Its business undertakings and new projects are unmatched anywhere in the world. It already has billions invested in American businesses. Dubai is westernized Arab country with world class hotels and tourism facilities, Bars and night clubs, an active nightlife, it hosts businesses from all over the world including top companies from the US i.e microsoft, CISCO systems, CNN among the hundreds of others. There are thousands of Americans working in Dubai.

The general public in america has a totally distorted view of what Dubai is, Dubai is not what is being portrayed and we feel hurt at how a business deal is effecting the true sentiments of the people of the UAE.

37 Comments so far

  1. Will Campbell (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 12:23 am

    Hello, I live in Los Angeles and write for the Los Angeles Metblog. I really appreciate reading your point of view and agree there has been a distinct over-reaction and misunderstanding here in the United States.

    It frightens me to read of the seemingly automatic bias and fear held here against Arabic countries, which is augmented by an unwillingness to seek out information and alternative points of view.

    I confess, my initial reaction at the news of Dubai Ports World taking over management of U.S. ports such as the one here in Los Angeles was one of surprise and I must say it was heartening to see that DPW itself called for a security review.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 12:26 am

    The whole thing just drives me up the wall. 70 of the 80 major port terminals are run by companies with foreign ownership, and have been for years. This just smacks of racism pure and simple, and made much, much worse by idiotic behavior by our elected officials.

  3. Destitute Rebel (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 1:03 am

    Thanks for your comments on the issue, its always good to hear what others are thinking about a particular issue. We live in a world with information at our fingertips but sadly we do not put in an effort to learn about others and to understand them. I studied in America and it was very surprising for me to learn that most of my friends did not even know where Dubai, UAE was. An example of people’s ignorance is when i invited my friends to visit me the general reaction was, hell no! we do not have a death wish! if you look at the statistics, Dubai is one of the safest places to live in the world.

  4. zed (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 1:34 am

    Excellent points. Dubai is an excellent bridge between the two worlds. Although I have my own opinions either way, we are dealing with one of the most incompatent presidents ever. Everyone on all sides of the issue are going by certain pieces of information. For the most part, people don’t trust the president because he only hires cronies and places his own wallet over the welfare of citizens. To say the least. I think that is the main issue.

  5. cd (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 1:50 am

    cd from the San Francisco Metblog here: I grew up by the Port of LA and now live here in SF, where, just across the bay, is the Port of Oakland, so I really appreciate the importance of ports from both an economic and a national security standpoint.

    Tom’s point is well made: Many US Ports or at least major terminals within them are run by foreign corporations. There were certainly raised eyebrows over China’s involvement with several Los Angeles/Long Beach terminals.

    The way I see it, the bottom line here is that we have an administration that created an Arab boogeyman since 9/11 and is now suffering the consequences of its own fear and warmongering. Sadly, in pointing out the conflicting talking points coming out of Washington, our whole country (as represented by the media) runs the risk of looking like a bunch of conclusory, ignorant, racist bastards.

    While I find Bush’s change of heart with regard to one Middle Eastern nation amusing, I don’t see a problem with a Dubai company running the facilities (other than the PR problems). I see plenty of problems, however, with our general inattention to port security. It shouldn’t take a corporate sale to make us in the US take notice.

  6. wayan (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 3:33 am

    Hey, I like this logic.

    Two of the hijackers were UAE = we shouldn’t buy from UAE.

    The majority of hijackers were Saudi = we shouldn’t buy from Saudi Arabia

    Oh, wait, the Saudis have lots of oil we need for our SUV’s. Guess the logic only works for little Arab countires.

  7. David Markland (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 6:46 am

    While the fear of this deal boils down to Islamophobia for some, I don’t think everyone is skeptical because of that.

    For me, I think its sketchy that the Bush Admin has ties and personal financial interests in the UAE, and they tried to sneak this deal through. I think if the connections weren’t there, Bush would be opposed as well.

    I never noticed that Dubai had a Metblog… very cool. I’ll need to visit to see what happens in the UAE besides pumping oil!

  8. anomnibuzz (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 8:03 am

    DPW is a business, true. But it is a business that is owned by and whose Board is controlled by the government of UAE. Much like the United States Postal Service is a business that is owned by the US government with direct oversight by the US Congress. On principle, imagine the USPS buying La Poste and delivering the mail in France.

    DPW is not responsible for the security of the ports, true. But, as the manager of the ports, it is prevy to the US Coast Guard’s security measures and rapid response plans. Which means that the government to owns DWP will have access to those plans as well. UAE was one of only a handful of nations worldwide to recognize the Taliban as a legitamate governement and several members of the royal family actively protected Osama bin Laden from the CIA. From an American perspective, if those aren’t grounds to start asking some questions, I don’t know what is.

    Then there’s also the probability of some shenanigans. Take a look at the part where DPW way overpays for CSX World Terminals.

    UAE and DPW is a mixed bag for the US, which is why it is good we’re having this discussion.

  9. JayMonster (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 10:14 pm

    In some respects I do agree with your post, in that I do believe that this whole issue got blown way out of proportion, but I think that the reason is more about poor communication from the present U.S. White House Adminitration than else.

    However, may I point out a few things here. The one distinct difference between P & O and DPW is that P & O is a publicly traded company, wereas DPW is a State Owned entity and as such is subject to different regulations and inspection. Now I wil also say tht this probably would never have been an issue if the proper proceedures were followed by the Bush administration, and that caused a lot of the stir that needn’t have been.

    The second part is U.A.E. Now while it may be true that 2 of the hijackers were from U.A.E., the real “issue” was not that they were from U.A.E., but that U.A.E.’s lax banking laws allowed it to be used for the funnelling of funds. Again, things have changed since that time, and had public disclosure of these events been done, there would not have been such a stirring of revolt against the idea.

    So to sum it up, I agree that this issue should not be causing as much controversy as it has, but neither do I believe it is as racially motivated as people would like to claim it to be.

  10. jen m. (unregistered) on February 28th, 2006 @ 10:21 pm

    another poster from washington, dc here.

    i largely agree with “cd” — the REAL problem with this isn’t that Dubai is an Arab country or that Arab corporations are a danger to the US.

    the real problem is that Bush and his administration has gone out of their way to foster hate and fear against Arab and other Islamic countries and Muslims when it suits their purposes, but then act indignant when they try to use their position to subvert our country’s laws to provide beneficial opportunities to their pals and find that their defamation against the Islamic world has been a bit more successful than they wanted it to be. I don’t think the DPW deal should be scrapped just because some of the 9/11 terrorists were from UAE, but NONE of the 9/11 terrorists were from Iraq, and Bush did a lot worse to Iraq because of its alleged/nonexistent ties to terrorism. The hypocrisy is galling. Bush’s take on the Muslim world is that “Islamic countries are dangerous (except when they help me get what I want).”

    I have no doubt that some business pal of Bush’s is making a lot of money off this DPW deal, or else Bush would absolutely NOT be sticking his neck out here. Or if not that, he’s getting something else out if it. I hope no one is fooling themselves that Bush is supporting the deal out of some sense of fellowship towards Muslims.

    Moreover, in the US we’ve learned that when Bush starts helping his cronies, the country suffers. DPW is suspect and possibly dangerous in my mind, NOT because it’s from Dubai, but because we’ve already been burned a number of times as to what can result when Bush’s cronies are handed valuable resources and positions of power and not given proper oversight. Halliburton, anyone? Michael Brown, anyone? That’s what’s really dangerous about DPW — that Bush is so gung ho about subverting federal law to get it in. Its country of origin is irrelevant.

  11. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:20 am

    I urge Dubai and the UAE to immediately desist from the US ports being included in their P & O takeover.
    While I am opposed to the deal, I’m not here to weigh it’s pros and cons. I’m here to explain what a PR nightmare the UAE is about to jump into, as I think they do not understand that the American public has a “don’t tread on me” mentality that the UAE is indeed treading on when pushing this ports deal.
    Honestly, the UAE is about to be at the center of an American political circus for the next 45 days. Do you really want to dance the tango with our press and politicians for a month+?
    You all are about to be put through the ringer BIG TIME… American journalists are going to start putting you under the microscope, looking for any story they can, and, trust me, they will find some negative ones and they will hype them up like you wouldn’t believe. American politicians are going to use your country for all it’s worth to help them in this election year; They won’t play fair, and have no qualms about making the UAE look bad so that the politicians look good.
    This port deal is truly a no-win situation, so the UAE should get out now before the real damage is done. Every day this port deal scandal remains in the headlines in the US is a day that the UAE will have a greater negative image that will effect their standing among the American public’s opinion. Why go through all that when it’s only going to lead to the deal being cancelled anyway? This is an election year in America, and the party in power cannot afford to let this port deal go through, as it will cost them heavily come election time. Unlike the UAE, our leaders are held accountable in the USA, and that is the number one reason why this port deal is going to fail. No American politician is going to give up their job for the sake of Dubai Ports World.
    Even if the deal somehow went through, that would only elevate the levels of anti-UAE sentiment already cropping up in America. And don’t for one second think domestic terrorism is no longer a threat in America. The minute the UAE owns port operations in those 6 major ports is the minute those ports become number one on the list of targets for domestic terrorists.
    So, please, do the right thing and end this now. Do not rub salt into your self-inflicted wounds by furthering this process anymore. It is all leading to a disastrous conclusion that you seriously want to avoid, that being strong anti-UAE sentiment in the US where it didn’t exist before. Do not put yourself at the mercies of the American press and politicians for the next 45 days or so.
    However, if the UAE really wants this port deal to go through, may I offer the following compromise: If the Emirates of the UAE will all adopt a constitutional form of representative government similar to the USA’s that recognizes the inalienable rights that non-royal citizens of the UAE have and are currently being denied, the American public would welcome DPW to run our major port operations. However, as it were, there is little difference between an emir and a dictator in the eyes of the American citizens, so opposition to the port deal will remain as long as DPW is owned by a dictatorship.

  12. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 12:32 am

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    The Declaration of Independence America made centuries ago still holds true today. We will not let a deal that profits a despot like this port deal does become a reality. We do not trust despots to uphold our public good. Until the emirs can explain to us how they are not despots, don’t expect this port deal to have a chance in hell of being ratified. I for one am glad the UAE is in our sights now, and I hope this ultimately leads to the non-royal citizens of the UAE having the same freedoms we Americans so richly enjoy, freedoms that the despots of the emirates are currently denying them.

  13. Shaykhspeara (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 3:29 am

    Indeed it is about the common American’s perception of the world. A country with geography skills in general non-existant. To them an Arab has and always will be synonym to terrorist and danger. Same is the case with Islam.

    Indeed we have an image problem, but, a room will never be lit up just by placing a lamp in it. There is always an element of choice involved, Americans need to choose to turn on the light.

  14. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 8:36 am

    My, my, you paint with a broad brush, Shaykhspeara. You accuse Americans of stereotyping while at the same time stereotyping them. Seems to me you’ve got a light of your own to turn on. Then again, until you enjoy the freedoms we do, I guess you’ll never quite understand the ‘common American’. I for one don’t consider every Arab a terrorist, but I do consider every Arab Emirate little more than a dictatorship.
    I lament the level of Islamophobia in America, but it is indeed there (what with 9/11 and the manipulation of it by American politicians). And, fairly or unfairly, most of it is going to be focused on the UAE for the next 45 days of this DPW port deal review. Dubai should avoid being the eye of this political storm in America. Like I said in my previous post, you do not want to be at the mercies of our American press and politicians. Avoid the eminent trial by fire that is only going to end in the port deal struck down and USA-UAE relations being irrevocably changed for the worse. Cut your losses, cut n’ run, call it what you like… just avert this public relations fiasco before it’s too late.

  15. Destitute Rebel (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 9:46 am

    ErrinF, just curious have you ever been to the UAE or met any as you say “common emirati” and heard what they feel about the monarchy. People here are very sattisfied with their lives and are behind the monarchy 100%. secondly in my opinion this deal will not go down rather you will see that the management of DP World will face the storm head on and prove that they are an excellent company with an excellent track record.

  16. David Markland (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 11:50 am

    I entirely doubt that the people are behind the emirates “100%”… heck I love the US, but I’m by no means behind our leadership 100%.

    “You all are about to be put through the ringer BIG TIME… American journalists are going to start putting you under the microscope, looking for any story they can, and, trust me, they will find some negative ones and they will hype them up like you wouldn’t believe.”

    I don’t think this is a fair assessment of our media, or a worthy deterrent for the UAE to consider. While some media sources will look at the way the UAE operates it security, I believe that its own measures may trump the United States. And in order to make a point to security, the press will need to compare them to other countries that currently control ports in the U.S…. somehow I doubt that the UAE won’t measure up.

    I have issues with a non-elected goverment of any sort, but I don’t think this should disqualify the UAE from a business deal that even China can participate in.

    Again, I agree with Bush’s decision on this, but his motives are questionable.

  17. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 2:56 pm

    Why, aren’t I among the ‘common emirati’ now, Destitute Rebel? Haven’t I read your posts on this blog as you have read mine? In effect, we have met now on the worldwide internet. Nice to meet you… care to discuss?
    I’m curious myself… are the emirati really 100% behind the emirs, or are the emirs in 100% control of the emirati? Is DPW an excellent company, or is it a company that belongs to ‘his excellence’? While we’re at it, what’s the female version of the word ’emir? Surely, being that men and women are equal, there has been a female emir that has run an emirate before? Or is monogamy not part of your monarchy?
    How freely can you even answer these questions, Desitute Rebel? How freely could the blogger FeedYourHead express his views over at a blog called Sorry Dubai? If 100% of the emirati are behind the emirs, then why was .001% yanked from expressing their views about an ‘excellent company’ owned by his excellence, the Emir of Dubai?
    Is a king evil when he is born a king? Is a prince evil when he is born a prince? No; People are what they are. But the very system they are born into is inherently wrong if it denies people the inalienable rights they have as part of all creation. For your government to deny any person their right to freely speak their minds or publish their views is for your government to do wrong. The majority of us Americans are simply not going to support such a regime, let alone allow it to profit from and control the operations of our ports.
    Lastly, what is your opinion on my proposal that the UAE should adopt a constitutional form of representative government similar to America’s? Do you feel monarchies are an equal or better type of government to be under than a free and open democracy? There is room to meet me halfway on this, or even all the way if your emirs are so beloved by the emirati. Certainly, such emirs would thrive in any open election, what with such a large percentage of the populace behind them. Why, a Bill Of Rights would even allow the emirati to express all the more openly their complete and utter love of the emirs. Even the current ‘0%’ that has been pulled from the internet for speaking against the Emir.

  18. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

    Mr. Markland, would you want to be in the center of all this for the next 45+ days? Am I in the wrong to try to deter a country that is an ally of ours from doing something I feel is foolish?
    My post was a fair assessment of the dark side of the American media. Look at how our American press manipulated the Danish cartoon affair recently to tap into Islamophobia within the US. Images of violent riots that fulfilled the American stereotype of Islam being dangerous and radical were shown over and over again and were overemphasized vastly in comparison to footage of moderate muslims voicing their dissent in words, not violence, with many a peaceful protest throughout the nations of Islam that our media only barely showed in an uneven biased manner that didn’t come close to fair, equal representation.. Am I really to believe this same media is not going to manipulate the hell out of this UAE port deal story? They have already begun… why else is this topping the news right now in the states? Need I even start elaborating on what the American politicians are doing with this issue, and will continue to do?
    A storm doesn’t even begin to describe what the UAE and DPW are heading into. An iceberg is more like it. The American public is not that familiar with Dubai or the UAE, and now our first introduction to them is going to be within a media narrative wherein they are portrayed as trying to take over our ports? And that’s just how the narrative of this story has gone so far; It will grow worse and will spawn a few more narratives outside the port deal that portray the UAE in a negative light. There is no institution in the world that can quite tear down the image of a person or a country like the American press, except for maybe the American political parties.
    Heed my warning, UAE. Once Pandora’s box is opened, it cannot be closed. Look to Iraq right now if you need any further proof of such..

  19. Shaykhspeara (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:50 pm

    Dear ErrinF, I repeat: in general (i.e. not all).

    That is something that is commonly joked about in the States, (the non existent skills in geography that is), and numerous studies have been carried out by your own people, so I do not paint with anything but a factual brush, in this case. Naturally there are many reasons why Americans are poor in geography. American is a large country and each state in itself is like a country, so it is understandable that one should not perhaps know as much about other countries…however, there is a danger in that too.

    Indeed, thankfully, not all Americans are Islamophobic nor “geography challenged”, but a country that used to portray every bad guy in its movies as an arab terrorist (and russian for that matter), does speak volumes of the “common american”. The common American however, is not every American and thank goodness we are seeing changes in America with films like Syriana coming out, painting a fairer picture of the world, and American policies.

    And I am not quite sure what freedoms I am supposed to enjoy that you feel I haven’t enjoyed? I live in Sweden, born Swede, Swedish blood, I doubt I could be any freer than I am now.

    But thank you for your kind wish.

  20. Shaykhspeara (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 5:52 pm

    american= America (typo)

  21. Tabrez (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 7:05 pm

    Its height of hypocrisy that a company from UK can operate Americas port but not from middleast and that also DUBAI which is one of the fastest growing city in the world , is it fear of the americans or sheer jealousy

  22. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 1st, 2006 @ 7:11 pm

    But do you doubt that the emirati could be any freer than they are now, Shaykhspeara? You are correct however in that I made a mistake because I’m new to this blog and was not aware of it’s international scope. I was indeed going under the assumption that I was mainly blogging with Dubai citizens here. It was an amateur’s gaffe, true, but it does not diminish my point that there is a cultural divide between the USA and the UAE when it comes to recognition of freedoms, or understanding the impact of living in real freedom.
    My broad brush observation had to do with saying all of ‘them’ Americans think of all Arabs as terrorists, not with your geography observation. The problem I have with your geography comments is not that they are untrue (most Americans do indeed hold geography in little regard), but that this port deal firestorm currently going on his hardly the geography lesson one wants for the American citizen to suddenly know where Dubai and the UAE is. Again, this is how the UAE wants the American public to learn about them in the context of this controversial port deal?

  23. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 5:24 am

    Americans differentiate between a private firm and a government. They also differentiate between governments that recognize the inalienable freedoms and rights of all human beings and the governments that don’t. It’s a long standing American tradition that goes back to before the days of the UAE.
    There is a lack of understanding between our cultures, not jealousy or fear of Dubai; Don’t take this port deal rejection personally when we’re discussing matters of principle. If only you were jealous of the American freedoms we enjoy everyday within our representative government where our leaders answer to us, not us to them. You all should give it a try some day; In fact, I bet you will soon enough. We the American people are ready to help when that day comes, though I’d be wary of our government and the politicians amid it. History has taught us Americans to be wary of all governments, though it is certainly encouraging to hear that the emirati of Dubai are 100% behind the Emir, and the Emir is 100% behind the emirati. It shows there’s a possibility that the benevolent monarchy of Dubai might take part in a democratization process in their own country, as the Emir is the emirati and the emirati are the Emir, so all the better for an open society to benefit both. I think a constitutional monarchy may be apt, as the Emir shouldn’t be expected to give up all power. I doubt if an Emir is going to turn his back on his own emirati anyway, right? You all take pride in each other, the royals and non-royals, correct? I am not being sarcastic; This is an honest observation in reaction to the genuinely positive praise I see here for your country, city, and Emir. In my eyes, your Emir is due the same inalienable rights all human beings deserve, and his being denied would be just as wrong as the emirati being denied their fullest freedoms.
    An American myself, I have no fear or hatred of Dubai; I have reservations about endorsing an autocratic regime by approving of this port deal, and I think such a deal foolishly creates a conflict of interest between two allies where there shouldn’t be one. If I suffer from ignorance of Dubai, I admit that may exist to some degree as we come from two different worlds, though on the same planet. But I don’t wish the Emir or the emirati of Dubai any ill will at all, but am rather trying to understand your perspective as well as genuinely warn you that next 45 days might end up being very rough on you. You might as well weather the storm with allies among the American people that would rather understand you and be helpful friends to you instead of the conflict of cultures that seems to be occuring. For now, it should be evident that asking for this port deal to go through is asking too much, for it goes against the grain of our history. If democratization goes against the grain of Dubai’s history, it needn’t, as it is not a threat to the Emir one bit, but rather a progressive option open to him should he be so inclined in his role to determine what is best for the future of his emirati and their Emir. May the city of Dubai grow even faster than the rate it already is, though I’m afraid it won’t be prospering from the North American portion of this DPW deal.

  24. Destitute Rebel (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 10:34 am

    My Friend the deal will go through, i’ll tell you what will happen, the issue will be in the american media for 3-4 days big time, everyone will be like ha ho, then your trusted government will create a media diversion which happens all the time and most of the american people will forget about the Ports deal only a few who are interested in politics and watch C-Span religiouly will be upto date on the issue, as far as. As far as supporting a monarchy by the american government is concerned, they will support anyone who can be of any help to them. example the forgotten and cursed Pakistani Military dictatorship became their beloved and helpful pakistan.
    And my friend on the democracy issue these things take time, UAE has been independent only for the last 30 years and for that amount of time they have made a lot of progress, in contrast to the American 145 YEARS after independance to give women the right to vote, and some more to give African Americans their rights, so lets wait and see and be patient.

  25. Syed Sibgatullah (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 10:34 pm

    The furore in Washington over the DPW – P&O deal includes many fallacies in reasoning. The security issue that has been raised is, in my view, rascist. It’s purely illogical. Why should a people suffer on account of misinformation fostered by another people? This is not new. In recent times, there has been a high tendency on part of the West towards mindless stereotyping.

    British courts have already given the green signal to the deal. I don’t see any reason why is it bugging US administrators so much. It’s a real line of thought that this deal would only remain in the media for some time and then will disappear. This deal will definitely go through, I feel, whether US senators like it or not.

    It’s only a mountain created out of a mole hill when they raised hypothetical security issues. There is no such issue. Rumsfeld is on record attesting to that fact.

    It’s high time Americans now become ready for foreign ownership of their assets. It’s only a product of the lesson they preach everywhere else in the world. They should know that what they do, has to come to haunt them later.

    I agree with your post, DR. It’s a mild taste of how Americans conduct their affairs with the world, based on complete arrogance and ignorance.

  26. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 2nd, 2006 @ 11:33 pm

    Friend Destitute Rebel, your positivity speaks wonders for yourself and your emirate. One can tell when positivity is forced and when it is genuine, and you obviously possess the latter. I am reminded what a farce it is that the American media portrays those in the arab world as irrational and intolerant, and yet I receive a more civil debate here than on most American blogs!
    It is obvious that you will not be heeding my warning about all this, but I suppose you are right to do so if doing so would be to give in to negativity in your eyes. Still, I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this.
    You see, the next big news story in the cycle will most likely not be a distraction from the port issue, but an extension thereof, something some American journalist will have dug up that makes Dubai or DPW look bad. For those in our ‘trusted’ government hoping for diversion, there is an equal half that want this to remain in the headlines, as this is an election year. Polling numbers already reflect that a vast majority of Americans (beyond the cspan crowd) care about this issue. Wish for the best, but the port deal is not going to vanish from headlines any time soon. Let’s be honest, my friend: A story like this that taps into the current level of American Islamophobia is going to be kept alive and well by an American press that makes their living off of hype and hysteria. While your observations are apt for how things usually happen with America’s short attention span and fast food mentality, it won’t be the case this time, mainly because it’s an election year in the US, and this is THE election issue right now. Perhaps your prediction will come true, but I would still prepare for the opposite, as in the best case scenario this remedies itself, and in the worst case scenario Dubai and America need to put forth remedies. Already, I’m seeing people in the US say that the divide between the UAE and the USA is growing worse day-by-day due to this port deal affair. It’s time for those of us in the USA that want to be friends with those of you in the UAE that want to be friends with us to start working together to prevent public relations damage that may result from this port deal, and we should work together regardless of if we are opposed to the port deal or for it. At this point, there is a consideration beyond just the port deal, and that consideration is whether the next 45 days are going to be damaging for the goodwill between our countries, and what we can do to prevent that.
    Now, my friend DR, as for our government supporting any regime as long as it benefits them, you are very observant and correct. You are also precisely on the money that America is lacking when it comes to being progressive. I’m sure Dubai has moved forward at lightspeed in the last 30 years compared to America’s last 30 years. I have all the patience in the world for you to democratize, as that is your sovereign choice to make (well, the Emir’s choice to make, to be precise, and rightfully so), and, once it is made, it needs to be done right or not done at all. Although I started off in this blog with postings that were contrarian to monarchs and despots, that does not mean I actually consider your Emir a despot or an evil man. Rather, I was trying to give you a taste of traditional American sentiment towards non-representative governments. It is not my place to judge, and the world is complex enough that a monarch can indeed be a ‘benevolent dictator’ (that being a coined term; I am in no way implying an Emir is the same thing as a dictator). Besides, I understand you have a relatively new Emir of Dubai, your last one passing away in January (my condolences). I assume innocence before guilt, so I am operating under the assumption that the Emir has the best of intentions for his emirati, and that any Emir that truly cares about his country is a representative of his countrymen, even if not elected. While I feel certain inalienable rights are not being recognized by the emirate towards the emirati, it does not appear that those rights are being greatly repressed; Still, they should be recognized. I am not saying your Emir and traditions are wrong; I’m just saying there is always room for growth, growth being something which I think greatly interests the Emir and emirati of Dubai.
    The positivity and progressiveness that I am seeing amongst the emirate of Dubai is very encouraging; There is indeed an opportunity to use the next 45 days of the port deal review to strengthen our alliance and goodwill, although it will be an uphill battle against American negativity. My warning still stands, but I am also starting to think of another way to take on this issue and avert a public relations nightmare for the UAE in the US. It’s somewhat progressive and bold, but it’s worth a shot proposing; It certainly won’t hurt for me to think my proposed solution over and post it here when I work it out some. In the meantime, I encourage any Dubai blogger to visit American blogs so as to share their perspective. The people of Dubai and America being strangers isn’t going to help the current situation, so we should all interact more, if only through blogs and the internet. I know I have benefitted from partaking in this Dubai-based blog. Thanks, friends! : )
    p.s. One American blog I recommend is the following:

  27. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2006 @ 3:57 am

    Being that I feel a crisis of goodwill between the USA and the emirate of Dubai is looming in the next 45 days, and being that the DPW won’t be retracting the US part of the port deal to avoid such (A position I respect, though advise against), I offer the following bold solution to avert the imminent public relations crisis between us allies: The Emir and emirati of Dubai should begin a process of self-democratization right now at this important historical moment for our two countries.
    Before I delve into this proposal further, I would like to clarify a couple tenets. I am not offering forth democratization as revolution but as progression, a self-determined choice made peacefully by the Emir and his people if it is deemed the best and wisest for Dubai’s future. More importantly, Dubai is not America, so I am not for one second suggesting becoming just like us. Rather, I propose something more akin to what one might call “Emirica”… Your Emir and emirate take a thorough look at our American constitution and it’s form of representative government, then decide what would work for you and what wouldn’t, all in the name of freedom, growth, and prosperity for the Emir, emirate, and emirati of Dubai.
    That being said, I would propose three steps towards using democratization to transform this port deal into a winning issue for both Dubai and America right now, each step being a bolder foray into democratization, with the Emir being the best judge of how many of those steps (if any) and how boldly (if at all) to take.
    First step: Sell off and privatize the North American portion of the DPW-P&O deal to private Dubai investors. If there aren’t enough private investors in Dubai to afford such, try the rest of the UAE to find more investors, and it would be wise to allow American investors in as well. The reason I propose this step is because, although it may be tough for you to see past all the Islamophobia being unfairly levelled at your emirate right now, there is a large contigent of Americans that are against the port deal simply on the basis that a private firm (whether or not it is British) is being replaced by a government-owned company (whether or not it is from Dubai). If the North American port operations were privatized and seperated from DPW (but still in the hands of private UAE owners), much of the US opposition to the deal would then have nothing to object to, and the negative PR repercussions of all this would be defused. Beyond this strategic and diplomatic use of privatization, I propose no other privatization of the Emir’s assets.
    Second step: Recognize the inalienable rights of human beings that the USA does by adopting something similar to our constitution’s Bill Of Rights as Dubai law. I assume guilt before innocence, so I have no basis to say such rights are being repressed in Dubai right now, but from what I understand, they are not currently being recognized by the government of Dubai. Much of what our Bill of Rights recognizes can only be beneficial to the emirate, and do not represent any threat to the Emir’s authority. To recognize full free speech, to recognize a fully free press, to recognize valid assembly for the purpose of peaceful protest does not disqualify the Emir and his supporters (of which there are many) from ever partaking in that same free speech, free press, and free assembly. An open society of which the Emir is fully part of only serves to strengthen the Emir’s standing, not diminish it. If one is free to not praise the Emir, then all the more flattering and truthful when ones does so. Words can be countered with words, news can be countered with news, and peaceful protests can be countered with peaceful protests. As for other rights recognized by our Bill of Rights, such as the right to bear arms and free religious expression, those rights, like the rest of my proposal, need to be weighed individually for if each is appropriate or not for Dubai. Adopting any semblance of our Bill Of Rights will be great for public relations, will strengthen our alliance, and, most importantly, be beneficial to a prosperous future for Dubai’s Emir and emirati.
    Third step: Adopt a form of representative government similar to ours but that includes the Emir having an important role within it as part of a constitutional monarchy. The emirati would get to vote for a President, Senate, and House of Representatives that would share power with the Emir to whatever degree is appropriate. I would propose that the Emir remains head of state, commander-in-chief, and has veto power, and that the elected President would share in the role of enforcing the Emir’s duties, perhaps even having his own presidential veto at his disposal. Of course, for a veto to be authentic, it must have a way to be overridden. I would propose the Emir’s veto being the toughest to override, whereas the president’s veto can be cancelled by the Emir’s veto or overridden by less votes in the Congress. The purpose of such a representative government would not be to displace the Emir’s rightful authority, but to allow the emirati to partake better in the decisions for what is best for Dubai, it’s emirati, and it’s Emir. Much like the second step I proposed, this third step will benefit and progress Dubai while winning over the hearts and minds of America.
    I understand that the steps I propose are bold, but I urge the Emir and his people to look past the idealism and progressivism within it, and instead focus on the pragmatic benefits it will bring to Dubai’s current and future prosperity. These steps allow the Emir of Dubai to take the current negative diplomatic situation by the horns and transform it into a positive situation with a positive outcome for our USA-UAE alliance. The American spotlight is on Dubai right now, and never again may such a historical opportunity arise wherein Dubai can secure a solid, long-term alliance with not just the American government but the American people, and insure an even more brighter future for the emirate at home as well as abroad, all the while drastically increasing Dubai’s international prominence.
    Indeed, this current situation can be parlayed into garnering something much more valuable than a few port operations. I am convinced there is no greater candidate for self-democratization in the Middle East than Dubai. History is clearly calling upon the new Emir, as he enjoys a great relationship with his supportive emirati, and there is a spirit of growth, progressivism, and pursuit of happiness within the emirate of Dubai that outshines most others in the region. What better choice than the resourceful Dubai, a country so clever as to thrive without oil in an oil-rich region? Dubai has historically proven that it can look at any situation and realize creative, resourceful ways to transform it into great benefit for the good of the emirate. Is this not the exact situation you are facing now with this port deal affair between our two countries? Unexpectedly and pleasantly surprising the American public by beginning a democratization process completely on your own would reap diplomatic rewards like no other. The Emir and emirati of Dubai are undoubtedly aware of the great desire among Americans for the Middle East region to have more democracies in it; If you were to join us in this desire, it would evolve our current alliance into one that would rival any other in the Middle East, even, perhaps, Israel’s.
    Do consider all the benefits this progressive proposal entails. Now is a time like no other for our two countries to work together to forge an alliance of great proportions. Seize this moment for all it’s worth to secure an even brighter future for the Emir and emirati of Dubai. Thank you.

  28. ErrinF (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2006 @ 6:01 am

    Damn. I accidentally typed ‘I assume guilt before innocence’, when I meant to type ‘I do not assume guilt before innocence’. Beyond that typo, everything else is in place. I just feel bad because it implies I am assuming the Emir is guilty of things he is not. Sorry.

  29. Keefieboy (unregistered) on March 4th, 2006 @ 2:35 pm

    Mainly for the benefit of Errinf, but also anyone else who is confused about how Dubai is governed (not that I’m an expert, you understand, I’m just a Brit who has lived in Dubai for twelve years).

    Nobody in any of the Emirates is called an ’emir’. Each Emirate has a Ruler. The seven Emirates are part of a federation called the United Arab Emirates.

    You have caught us in a period of profound change. One of the founders of the UAE, and its first President, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, passed away in November 2004. He was replaced by one of his sons, Sheikh Khalifa.

    The Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al Maktoum, passed away in January 2006, and has been replaced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum.

    Sheikh Mohammed is the one to watch; he has been enormously influential in the development of Dubai, and that beneficial influence will now extend to all of the Emirates.

    So, we have the Rulers, and they elect a President. They also nominate candidates to sit on the National Consultative Council. It was announced a few months ago that in future half of the NCC seats will be filled by directly-elected candidates.

    Destitute Rebel says that Emiratis are 100% behind the monarchy (actually, monarchy is the wrong word too – nobody goes around calling themselves King). This might be an exaggeration, but it is not far from the truth. Most Emiratis truly love their leaders. Heck, I love them and I don’t even get any of the social benefits that the Emiratis do! I know this is going to be hard to swallow for anyone who has not experienced it directly, but this little country is flourishing under its benevolent dictatorship: the Rulers do everything they can to improve the quality of life for Nationals and expats. And because they do not have to deal with beaurocratic consultation procedures, decisions can be implemented very very quickly. Sometimes these decisions are flawed because they have not been debugged by consultation, but they get tweaked as they go along.

    Yes, there are issues with human rights, freedom of speech, Internet censorship etc. But these issues are being addressed, and while the situation is far from perfect, it is a lot better than it was even five years ago, and it has always been infinitely better than in many other Middle Eastern countries. With Sheikh Mohammed’s recently-announced new Cabinet I think we are going to see some surprising and welcome changes.

    But don’t try and force western-style democracy into the picture. As far as I can tell, there is not that much interest in Government and politics amongst Emiratis. And the great fear would be that free elections could give power to Islamists, and if that happened it would be the end of the UAE as we know it.

  30. Keefieboy (unregistered) on March 4th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    Oh, I forgot. Do you know how old the UAE is? It will be having its 35th birthday on December 2nd 2006. Name one other country that even came close to achieving what the UAE has achieved in 35 years! And this is just the beginning…

  31. selecan (unregistered) on March 5th, 2006 @ 12:29 am

    I detect some high level of arrogance and passive-aggressive behavior in the American poster ErrinF.

    Though that poster tries to be outwardly cheery, she presents lists of demands that must be met before her “America” will accept the DPW or, it seems, the UAE as worthy enough to interact with.
    Her demands:

    1. Sell off and privatize the North American portion of the DPW-P&O deal to private Dubai investors. (though no complaints like this are made about Communist China or French, Singaporean, German *DHL*, Japanese, or Taiwanese government-owned entities investing in American assets -selecan).

    2. Recognize the inalienable rights of human beings that the USA does by adopting something similar to our constitution’s Bill Of Rights as Dubai law. I assume guilt before innocence,..

    3. Adopt a form of representative government similar to ours but that includes the Emir having an important role within it as part of a constitutional monarchy. The emirati would get to vote for a President, Senate, and House of Representatives that would share power with the Emir to whatever degree is appropriate. I would propose that the Emir remains head of state, commander-in-chief, and has veto power..(This person wishes to impose a bastardized American governmental structure on a UAE structure she clearly does not understand..there is no “Top Emir”. This is as arrogant as saying Britain must reform in order to be eligible for any more financial transactions with America by scrapping the UK Constitution and laws, replacing with American ones, and scrapping British government with a replacement American structure.)

    ErrinF typifies the spectacular ignorance and arrogance we sometimes see in Americans back in the UK. She wants to impose a sort of American imperialism everywhere because she thinks “her” way is best, which is curiously amusing because she seems MOST dissatisfied with the President her “perfect government and Constitution” elected.

    I like Americans as a general rule, but they can be so ignorant of other countries and too prideful of their own ways. Much like Russians. Or Chinese..

    I take ErrinF as one of their less-educated “bumpkins” who has not traveled and appears to know nothing about the UAE or likely any other nations or cultures — but is not deterred in the slightest from a presenting a comprehensive plan to “improve” other nations and peoples by imposing an American structure and system….

    She DOES need to get out more!

  32. Laurie (unregistered) on March 5th, 2006 @ 1:40 am

    Here’s why the deal scares me: Weeks before, not sure

    how many, George Walker Bush openened up the entire eastern seaboard

    to oil drilling.

    This doesn’t even consider the increases in earthquake magnitude

    activity occurring around this region, hell, Georgia, U.S.A. recently

    had an earthquake, Georgia rarely quakes as does Louisiana, not often.

    Imagine all these broken petroleum pipes in the Atlantic.

    I’m sure the fishermen, people, and wildlife will be quite happy.

    Then G.W. opens six ports to a foriegn government, one being

    the port of New Orlean’s where we’re being able to get

    some sort of development back after being innundated by

    hurricanes Katrina, and Rita; this is a very bad

    move for the soul of New Orlean’s, it is a war port.

    I wanna’ mention one more small thing any USGS or NOAA

    site will tell you that an extremely large tsunami

    is supposed to occur on the eastern seaboard sooner than later.

    What about all of these blasted pipelines?

    Bush says he’s all for alternate energy while digging

    as many holes as absolutely possible.

    His brother Jeb recentlty told him no on lease 181

    this should tell the country a lot more in itself.

    I know what big oil has done to the Gulf of Mexico.

    The fact that more pople along the eastern seaboard aren’t

    kicking and screaming is confusing?

    There is a fault line that runs parallel to the Gulf of Mexico

    from Louisiana into Texas.

    Louisiana had an earthquake at Poverty Point December 20th

    one of these days that line is gonna’ shake, the Gulf of Mexico

    will be ruined, yeah, I wanna’ see more scared people!

    This is all about oil!


  33. Journey (unregistered) on March 10th, 2006 @ 3:17 am

    You know, I have come to realize that there is great national pride in all nations with rich culture and heritage. Every one of them thinks theirs is the best. America is no exception.

    I am American myself, but I like to think, that although I do not have the means or opportunity to travel as suggested above, I do what I can…research. Whenever a nation, people group, reigion, or religion come up in the news, I head to my computer and I embark on a virtual journey to other lands.

    I research their history (American included) from their inception. I try to understand how they think,their political/ruling system, WHY they do what they do/don’t do. In light of this information, I try to imagine how they must view America and other Western societies.

    The freedoms enjoyed by those in Western societies are unrivialed, but they do not come without their problems.
    Democracy is great…for the most part. It has it’s downfalls like anything else.
    Don’t get me wrong, I would not give up democracy in my home land for anything! However, democracy…or Americanized democracy…is not the superior and only way to rule a nation.
    Democracy simply would not work in many nations as they are now. And a pure democracy may never work in some.
    Although, I’ll risk saying, that some form of it, with greater freedoms for the peoples would be welcome in any nation.

    As for the Dubai Ports World purchasing the operating rights to U.S. Ports….I am for it.

    The opposition is not without merit, and there is always some degree of risk involved when another nation controls port operations, however, other then “what ifs”, there is no good reason NOT to allow them operating rights.

    Sure, terrorists roam the world, and virtually all of Middle Eastern and Muslim.
    Estimates say somewhere roughly around 3000-5000 al-Qaida.

    However, that’s 3-5000 out of 1 BILLION Muslims.

    You can’t write off the entire Islamic population.

    As a matter of fact, several Islamic nations are not very happy with al-Quaida themselves, since they too have been targets.

    All the more reason to make diplomatic ties with friendly Arab nations (yes, there is such a thing as a FRIENDLY Arab nation).
    To alienate them by blocking a lucritive business deal worth billions would be very bad for future relations.

    Absolultly! America needs to seriously beef up her offshore security. It is pathetic. If a terrorist gets a bomb onto our shores, shame on us!
    But it won’t be because an upstanding Arab company was operating our ports. It will be because we only inspect mayby 5% of cargo entering the U.S. God only knows what is ALREADY in our country!!

    By the way, with security as-is, al-Quaida would not need the UAE port to smuggle a bomb in, who are we kidding???

    Well, there’s my two cents everyone.

    Not worth much, I know, but, well, there it is.

    Have a great day everyone.

  34. Laurie (unregistered) on March 11th, 2006 @ 2:23 am

    What it means is George W. Bush is negligent for 95% of port security.

    It is a first step at bettre’ port security.


  35. Farrukh Ahmed (unregistered) on March 11th, 2006 @ 8:25 am

    What affect is it gonna have on USA and UAE now that the Dubai company has climbed down from the deal?

  36. Journey (unregistered) on March 15th, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

    Well, yeah, I suppose you could blame George Bush. It would be a kind of “scape-goat” kinda thing though This goes WAY beyond George Bush. The probablem has existed long before either Bush was in office, and will likley exist long after.

    I hate to burst bubbles, but presidents are not soley responsible for every woe a country has.

    Security is a MAJORE woe, I understand, but simply saying “It’s Bush’s fault” (or any president for that matter), shows a lack of understanding on how our American governmental system works.

    If George Bush were THAT in control of every aspect of security, don’t you think the Dubai Port deal would have gone though??

    The entire system is out of whack right now due to many influencing factors.

    What effect will it have? No one can know that for sure. I can only hope that it does not damage U.S-Arab relations too severely.

    If you ask me, it sends the wrong message. It says that we, as a country, are not interested in Arab’s as allies, but would rather steryotype you all as potential terrorists.

    Very unfortuantely, that sentiment has been perpetrated loudly by the media since 911.
    I have not heard anywhere how we must become strong allies with anyone, ESPECIALLY friendly Arab nations, who will help in this nearly unwinable war on terror. Terror is not an American problem, it is a WORLD problem. All I ever hear on the news fearmongering. “Be afraid and suspect ALL Arabs!” is all I hear shouted from the airwaves.

    It is NO WONDER America now feels this way. Unfortuantly most listen only to the liberal owned network news. To the ignorant, this is the “gospel” of world events.

    Hitler was right when he said “Repeat a lie loud enough, long enough, eventually people will believe it.”

    Blame Bush, sure. But remember, he is the one who understands that to win this war, we must have allies in the Middle East. We can not afford to allienate that vast source. THAT is security. Securing the help and aid of those closest to the real terrorists.

    Port security is not directly Bush’s responsiblity. You will need to speak to the entire administration concerning that.

    How will it affect USA/UAE relations. Negetively. HOW badly? Guess we will have to wait and see.

  37. Laurie (unregistered) on March 16th, 2006 @ 12:26 am

    Bush doesn’t want to win the war; he believes he is the Seventh

    Avenging Angel chosen by God to start Armageddon by keeping

    the middle east in constant turmoil.

    The above sentence is way too freaked out to be made up – it came

    out of Bush’s own mouth during an interview with a christian magazine.

    You’re damn right Bush scares me!

    Why did the British terrorists disapear from reality?

    Why was John Walker Lynn forgotten so damn quickly.

    All Arabs are not terrorist, geez.

    Not all Americans believe a thing the Bushman sayeth.


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