Sunday, February 26, 2006

Harbouring suspicions :: Jordan Times

Who is Musa Keiliani? I don't know, but I like the way Musa writes and thinks:
Is an Arab Muslim country allowed to build itself as a major player in the international market?
. . .
In this particular dispute, it is the UAE that is involved, but there is no doubt that had any other Arab or Muslim country been involved in such a deal, the same objection would have been drawn from American Congress members. Notwithstanding the sweet talk American politicians give us, it is a high probability that a Jordanian company would face rejection along the same lines that are being pursued by members of Congress opposing the UAE deal.
. . .
What the critics are overlooking, or deliberately ignoring, is the excellent track record of the UAE. The UAE was among the first in the Arab world to sign up in all measures aimed at tightening security and adopting anti-terrorism measures, as suggested by the US following the Sept. 11 attacks. The UAE does not have a record of engagement in extremist attack or harbouring militants. On the contrary, the country has said it remains on high vigil and alert against extremists. The UAE is among the leading voices of moderation in the Arab world, and it has always followed a positive approach to Arab, regional and international issues. If anything, the UAE, like Jordan, is known for advocating dialogue to resolve conflict, whether in the Middle East or elsewhere.

Finally, the UAE, like Jordan and other Arab countries, is among targets of extremists. The country has signed bilateral extradition agreements with others and is also following its obligations under them without fail. It is ridiculous, at best, to suggest that the UAE has links with extremism simply because extremist suspects happened to pass through the country on their way somewhere else. Had the UAE had any inkling of their real intentions while they were present on UAE territory, they would have been arrested and questioned.

US security and intelligence agencies had tip-offs about an impending attack, but they failed to take preventive action; so how could anyone blame others where they themselves have failed?
. . .
It is heartening to see that the Bush administration committed itself to go ahead with the DPW takeover. Indeed, it is the credibility of the administration that is at stake now, both in the domestic and external contexts, and its behaviour is closely watched from all over the world.
My emphasis.

I don't agree with this: "the obvious conclusion is that certain political and business circles supported by vested interest are mobilised against any effort by any Arab country to emerge in the international market and thus gain an influential role in world affairs."

Is "vested interests" code for the Jewish lobby? The Jewish lobby exists and it is effective. But it is not in the lobby's interest to see Arabs fail.

Rather, the ports deal is facing difficult times because of two factors, one honest and one dishonest. First, the American public has honest and legitimate doubts. Those doubts must be addressed; "trust me" is not enough in a democracy. Watching that process unfold is a lesson in democracy however disconcerting it may be.

Second, there are dishonest American politicians who see political gain from playing off those fears, especially if they appear to be beating Bush at his own game, putting safety ahead of all else.

Source of this link: NZM.


Blogger Seabee said...

Is "vested interests" code for the Jewish lobby?

I don't think so John, there are other interests to consider. A piece by Patrick Seale had this to say:

But protectionism can have a local flavour. If DP World were forced to surrender its leases on North American terminals as the opposition in Congress seems to want these could then be relet to local port authorities, to the benefit of local businessmen and local political bosses. There are considerable financial interests involved.

3:16 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

Thanks Seabee, I miswrote if I failed to make clear that there are vested interests. There are lots of vested interests involved, and it is good to list them -- unions, businesses not prepared for the sharp competition, etc.

My unconscious thought was that none of the vested interests have the mystical powers to stir up 80% of Americans overnight. Nor does the Jewish lobby - and as I said, that lobby has vested interest in seeing Arabs succeed, not fail. The others have vested interest to stay in the soft arms of a P&O like owner and from that point of view only care that it is DPW because DPW will be so hardnosed businesswise. In other words, they fear a highly efficient company that just happens to be Arab.

This story is so full of ironies.

5:53 PM  

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