UAE port purchase update

News & Politics

Last Monday, I posted about the Bush administration's decision to sell the oversight of American ports to a United Arab Emirates-based company. Now Think Progress reports that the company, Dubai World Ports, would also, as part of the deal, gain control of "the movement of military equipment on behalf of the U.S. Army through two other ports."

From today’s edition of the British paper Lloyd’s List:
[P&O] has just renewed a contract with the United States Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to provide stevedoring [loading and unloading] of military equipment at the Texan ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christi through 2010.
According to the journal Army Logistician "Almost 40 percent of the Army cargo deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom flows through these two ports."
Thus, the sale would give a country that has been "a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia" direct control over substantial quantities U.S. military equipment.
You'll pardon me for a moment while I bang my head against the wall, won't you? I'm hoping it will knock something loose and allow me to begin to comprehend the impetus for this decision, or, failing that, render me incapable of contemplating this decision any further.

UPDATE: Governor George Pataki (R-NY) and Governor Robert Ehrlich (R-MD) are none too pleased about Dubai Ports World's acquisition of P&O, and are threatening to cancel leases at the ports in their states. Also:
Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina said on Fox News Sunday that the administration approval was "unbelievably tone deaf politically." GOP Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia said on ABC's "This Week," "It's a tough one to explain, but we're in a global economy. ... I think we need to take a very close look at it."
Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey said Monday that he and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., will introduce legislation prohibiting the sale of port operations to foreign governments.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has been sent out to defend the decision and asserts that "the administration made certain the company agreed to certain conditions to ensure national security." I'd love to pass on the details of those agreements, but they're "secret." How reassuring.

(Think Progress)

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