Business as usual<quoted text>Why did Bush bow to the Saudis and then hold their hands?
Bush's strong support of the Dubai ports deal isn't so surprising in light of his family's many financial ties to Arab sheikdoms.
/ Feb. 24, 2006 http://tinyurl.com/h9yah
The president's shift in tone is as remarkable as his threat to use his first veto in five years to protect the Dubai deal in the face of bipartisan congressional opposition.
But Bush's passionate defense of the United Arab Emirates and the ports deal inevitably raises questions -- not only about the due diligence of his administration in this instance but about his and his family's long-standing ties to the Persian Gulf sheikdoms, and specifically to the UAE's rulers. His insinuation that skepticism is equivalent to bigotry cannot deflect such concerns, which first arose in the months after the 9/11 attacks.
By now, everyone paying attention to the furor over the Dubai ports deal should be aware of the UAE's mixed record with regard to terror and global security. The Emirates' ruling families formerly maintained close relationships with the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, whose hunting camps in Afghanistan they frequented; two of the 20 hijackers in the 9/11 plot were UAE nationals who used safe houses and banks in Dubai; and the A.Q. Khan nuclear smuggling network also used facilities there to mask its operations. Since 9/11, however, the Emirates have cooperated with U.S. operations against al-Qaida, and their state-owned corporations have eagerly participated in American attempts to improve transportation security.
What seems worrisome even to some who might ultimately accept the Dubai ports deal is the "casual attitude" of the Bush administration in vetting the company, as Sen. Carl Levin put it. Considering the history of Bush entanglement with the oil despots of the Gulf, that lax indulgence was bad policy and worse politics.