March 01, 2006
There is a new development which results in further complication of the Dubai ports deal. Apparently the UAE is participating in an Arab league Boycott of Israel. The Anti-Defamation League has asked the President to torpedo this deal because of this new development. Also, US law prohibits any American company from "taking action that supports this boycott". This could be the final nail in the proverbial coffin for this deal. The one saving grace is that while the UAE, owners of Dubai ports world, participates in the boycott, the company itself does not. The company itself does business with Israel and the boycott only applies to goods shipped to Dubai.
But hold on a minute. I don't see this development as a bad thing necessarily. This could be just the legitimate reason (that the international community might respect) that we need to back out of this deal. There is a difference, of course, between being in favor of allowing this deal to go forward at this point in time, and being in favor of the deal itself. President Bush, for his part, has made it clear that at least he is not in favor of scuttling the deal based solely on the fact that it is the United Arab Emirates that we are doing business with. But can't he make the case that his hands are tied by current US law? We'll see what happens, but if allowing this deal to go forward violates current US law it seems to me to be an open and shut case, and therefore no deal. Unless The UAE revises or re-evaluates its hateful boycott of Israel there may be no reconciling this new development. I'll be interested to see what Charles Krauthhammer thinks about this new development. I have come out in favor of this deal moving forward because I think that it would be an international relations disaster and would fan the flames of anti-American sentiment in the Arab world to deny a company business basically because they are Arabs but, with this new development, perhaps we have a legitimate way out of this deal that no one seems terribly comfortable with anyway.