The anti-UAE speak emanating from various US publications seems somewhat understandable given that the key ports within the States will be owned by a foreign company. But the extent to which the UAE has been linked with other nefarious activities and the way that this has been discussed verges on slander.
Here are some facts:
1. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has already approved the deal, considering information from its own intelligence agencies.
2. All regulatory approvals needed for such a transaction have been passed.
Based on these two points alone, is it not a fair assumption that a full risk assessment has been undertaken? Indeed, if the intelligence agencies have been involved, especially in a post 9/11 era, then this assessment would have been extremely rigorous. You also need to look at this and understand that P&O was already foreign owned (by the Brits), and so the arguments are patently against the UAE, which brings me to my next points.
3. The UAE was not the operational base for the September 11th hijackers.
4. The UAE condemns terrorism of any sort and is committed to combatting terrorism
5. The UAE is a staunch ally of the United States
Why are the objectors so against the transaction, if it is a UAE company? Is this bigotry? Why, if the UK were looking after the ports for so many years, would they only object after the UAE takes it over. A certain ignorance (they even call Dubai a country) probably alikens their concerns on this basis - Arab = Muslim = Middle East = Terrorist = Anti US. None of these are patently true. Ok, many Arabs are Muslim, but not all. All generalisms. Either way, they are pocketing the UAE into a generalised terrorist state. Untrue, and unfair. They say that the UAE has a spotty record on terrorism. So spotty that there has been no terrorist activity in the UAE and the UAE is not anti-US. The arguments against the UAE are woolly at best. If they say funds were channelled through the UAE, it can be argued that funds were channelled all over the world including through the US itself. Further, because of current regulations, these are now tighter than world standards, especially considering cross border transactions.
6. Hilary Clinton's popularity has been waning in recent months
7. There is widespread Muslim demonstrations across the globe, from the cartoon row to critique over the Iraq war and the profiteering from that war.
It is no secret that Hilary Clinton wants to run for the US presidency in 2008, but with her popularity as it is, she certainly doesn't have it in the bag. For her to throw her weight behind the Nationalist 'protect out shores' vote is typical of desperation. And taken up the stance without qualifying her argument is unwise if she was to go to office, and lose the links that Billy Boy built up.
8. Dubai relies on foreign investment
9. There is very little oil left in Dubai
I wonder if some of these senators have actually been to Dubai. Just because it is on the same mainland as Saudi, doesn't mean that it shares all the same values. You could say the same of England and Scotland, Spain and Portugal, the US and Canada. The list is endless. Do they even know that if there was any link with terrorism of any sort, directly or indirectly, that the Dubai economy and the grand plan will fall away as quickly as you could say 'sand dune'.
10. P&O operates in more countries than just the US.
11. DP World operates internationally and is a 4th largest port operator
The other countries that the DP World currently operates do not object to its presence, and the other countries in which P&O have operations have not objected, so why should the US think any differently?
Given all this, I do understand why there is opposition to the takeover. Loss of nationalism, perceived safety issues etc. but the way that untruths have been flagrantly recounted is just underhanded. The way that UAE is being portrayed for political reasons, is plain disrespectful for a supposed ally. With lawyers getting involved in a messy legal system, I believe that either the deal will fall apart, or some sort of compromise will have to be made with regard to the US ports. But it will all be a shame, at a time where ties should made and bridges built.
Would such a debacle have occurred if Singapore had won the bidding war?