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Right-wing posturing: Arab firm’s role at US ports

Right-wing posturing from Congress on Arab firm’s role at US ports

By Patrick Martin – World Socialist Web Site

Congressional leaders of both parties are engaged in a cynical publicity stunt in their criticism of the Bush administration for approving the takeover of commercial operations at six Atlantic and Gulf Coast ports by a port management company owned by the government of Dubai, a Persian Gulf sheikdom that is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

For Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer, New York’s two Democratic senators, as well as a dozen other senators, congressmen and governors of both parties, the campaign against the sale of port operations to Dubai provides a welcome opportunity to combine anti-Arab agitation with an attack on the Bush administration from the right. It gives a glimpse of the campaign the Democrats plan to wage in the 2006 congressional elections, avoiding as much as possible any identification with antiwar sentiment or the mass popular opposition to Bush’s attacks on democratic rights.

The furor began February 10 when the British-owned Peninsula & Orient (P&O) company, the fourth largest port operator in the world, agreed to be acquired by Dubai Ports World (DP World), the port operator owned by Dubai. P&O currently manages most operations at the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans, which account for the majority of the cargo shipped into the eastern half of the United States.

DP World revealed that even before the successful takeover bid, it had consulted with the Bush administration and received approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), a secretive panel of 12 top US government officials that reviews foreign acquisitions of US properties from the standpoint of their impact on American national security.

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