Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Portgate: Why is Bush Dug In?

Why is George W. Bush so dug in and inflexible in his support of the takeover of P&O by the United Arab Emirates-controlled Dubai Ports World? To the point of threatening his first veto ever.

The UAE is rich in oil and natural gas reserves. It has been in a long and continuing dispute with Iran over ownership of three small but oil-rich and strategically-placed islands in the Straits of Hormuz, the Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb. These three disputed islands were effectively occupied by Iranian troops in 1992.

In 1996 the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) proposed the dispute over these islands be resolved by the International Court of Justice, an option supported by the UAE and rejected by Iran. In December 2001 the GCC issued a statement reiterating its support of the UAE's sovereignty of these islands and declared Iran's claims as "null and void."

The Straits of Hormuz sits at the narrowest point of the 600-mile-long Persian Gulf through which 80% of the oil produced in the region is transported by tanker. At one point this "jugular vein" for the world's economy is just 34 miles wide between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran.

The takeover by UAE's DP World of operations in important U.S. ports appears to be intertwined with the Bush administration's lust for oil and its strivings for influence over Middle Eastern political matters. With the United States as its close ally, the stage will be set for an “urgent” and “necessary” pre-emptive attack on Iran in order to protect the UAE from an “imminent threat to our interests and national security.” Sound familiar?

In other words, the Bush administration is setting the stage to embroil us in a larger, much more deadly war in the Middle East.

Even though we can't contain and are being bankrupted by our misleadingly-conceived and ill-executed war in Iraq.

Even though our brave fighting forces are spread thin....militarily and personally overextended.

Even though we expose our own seaports to the deadly political whims of an Arab government whose loyalties are, and will in the future be, based on their survival, perhaps at our cost.

For the UAE this is win-win-win. They profit from our commerce, gain our military protection and get a death grip on our economically vital ports.

Gee George, such a good deal.....for the United Arab Emirates!

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