Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Dubai Ports Thing - Another Angle

Up until now I wasn't sure whether the issue of Dubai Ports World running some US ports is an outrage, or just an example of *how things work* overblown because of fear and xenophobia.

But an article in today's Jerusalem Post tipped the balance, towards Outrage:

Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott

The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The firm, Dubai Ports World, is seeking control over six major US ports, including those in New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It is entirely owned by the Government of Dubai via a holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCZC), which consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area.

The article goes on to explain that the company PCZC employs staff to oversee enforcement of the Israel boycott.

So far so good (although distasteful) but a problem arises because, according to the article,

US law bars firms from complying with ...requests or cooperating with attempts by Arab governments to boycott Israel.

And there is an actual US government entity, the Office of Anti-boycott Compliance, that has the power to fine companies that break this law.

So how can a company owned by the government of Dubai, a country that openly boycotts Israel, run ports in a country where that policy is illegal?

And while I'm on the subject, why is Pres. Bush so keen on defending this deal when he supposedly only learned about it at the last minute? Something else is going on here. I don't know what it is but the story just doesn't add up.

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