Wednesday, February 15, 2006

 

Arab-owned American Ports?

Pure risk

The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment approved a $6.8 billion transaction allowing Dubai Ports World, a government-owned United Arab Emirates firm, to purchase control of some of America's busiest ports. The Washington Times editorializes:
We should be improving port security in an age of terrorism, not outsourcing decisions to the highest bidder. The ports are thought to be the country's weakest homeland-security link, with good reason. Only a fraction of the nation's maritime cargoes are inspected.

This deal appears to be all about money. Dubai Ports World is "a business and its money is the same color as everyone else's, only it's got more of it," one banker told the Baltimore Sun. Where does the money come from? As a private company, Dubai Ports World's claim of 20 percent annual growth since 2001 is all but unverifiable, and its inner workings opaque. For all we know, Dubai Ports World is an undeclared arm of a foreign government.

The root question is this: Why should the United States have to gamble its port security on whether a subsidiary of the government of the United Arab Emirates happens to remain an antiterrorism ally?
We shouldn't. Congress or the President should nix this deal.

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