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DPW agrees to 45-day review before taking over operations of US seaports

Reported by Chrish - February 27, 2006

The panel on Fox News Sunday today 2/26/06 discussed the firestorm surrounding the deal made and announced last week, that the UAE's Dubai Ports World would acquire the company operating (at least) six major US seaports. Today's announcement that DPW would hold off the deal for the 45-day review demanded by concerned members of Congress, Governors, Mayors, and citizens would have what effect on the deal? Chris Wallace asked Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol, Juan Williams of NPR, and Charles Krauthammer. (Ceci Connelly was also on the panel but Wallace posed a different question to her.)

Bloomberg is reporting that the company has volunteered to hold off closing the deal for 45 days so that members of US Congress can review it and its implications.

Bill Kristol smirked his knowing serene smile and said after the review DPW will get the contract; we'll have somewhat alienated a government that has been quite cooperative with us but not too much, and we'll move ahead. Williams wondered how the White House let this slip by, and posits that Republicans are all too happy to distance themselves from Bush for the mid-term elections.

Krathammer is amused that the company has asked for a review "on its own". Obviously, he says, it's a cover the administration is cooking up to allow it to save face and say we didn't ask for a review. It gives them a month and a half to win the public opinion argument, which they have completely lost, and to regain their footing. What's going to happen in the 45 days is Republicans are going to get back on board but Democrats are going to stay opposed because it's such a strong issue.

Comment: Krathammer and Kristol seemed amused by the whole thing, as if they are only humoring the public and the Congressional members etc. who are dead serious against this "transaction" being finalized. I suspect it will be a bigger fight than they anticipate - people in this country have been too terrorized (by Fox and the administration, ironically) for too long to just say OK and trust Bush with something this close to home. In many minds if we're fighting "them" over there so we don't have to fight "them" here, then why are we doing business with "them" here?

"We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them." -- George W. Bush, September 20, 2001

There is plenty of cause for concern, not just for those who can't seem to get that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11. The Guardian reported;

State-owned television in the UAE, after its government initially denied any links to the hijack in Boston, confirmed that two suspects had international driving licences issued in the UAE, based on Saudi driving licences, in June 2001. The two had Saudi passports.

The UAE has an unenviable reputation as a transit spot for terrorists, drug-smugglers and money launderers, a relatively easy place to pick up false identity papers. It is also one of only three countries that recognise Taliban rule in Afghanistan.

Western diplomats confirmed yesterday that international pressure had been put on the UAE in recent years to clean up the money laundering and smuggling but without success.

A connection with the UAE was also established by Yemeni investigations into the bombing of the USS Cole in Aden harbour last October, which killed 17 people.

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