Don’t miss Walid Phares at the Counterterrorism Blog:
The backers of the deal stated that it would be unfair for the US Government to reject the deal with the UAE just because it is an “Arab country.” This argument doesn’t hold because no where in the opposing views a statement was made that the deal must be rejected “because” the signing party is an “Arab country.” First, the opposition to the contract applies to other countries from all background: Arab and non-Arab. What applies to a specific issue within the UAE would also apply to Indonesia, Malaysia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, and many other candidates. The issue is not the “ethnic identity” of the UAE, but the capability of Terrorists to penetrate the US system by penetrating a particular country.
Another extreme argument made, not necessarily by Government spokespersons, but by commentators is that “not concluding an agreement with an Arab country will offend Arabs in general and in the US in particular: Obviously this is a far fetched “lobbyist” argument. For the answer to this charge is that it would be not only welcome, but even encouraged to have Arab Americans (and other Middle Eastern Americans) to be assigned high jobs in this field, and also welcomed to sign contracts with Arab-American companies who can carry such jobs. Better, other Arab countries, had they had the possibilities would possibly qualify better, such as Jordan for example.
The Ally factor
A more serious argument is that the UAE is an “ally in the War on Terror.” Therefore, concludes the proponents, this particular status would obligate the US to grant the management of seaports to companies based in Gulf emirates. In fact the status of “ally” in the War on Terror would grant a particular country the privilege to be supported militarily, financially and have its forces trained by the US. It would even grant the UAE and other allies the options of military industrialization within their own borders, including assembling parts of American weapon system. So in term of “trust” Washington can and should travel the extra mile with its allies, European or other, to translate the alliance into tangible steps. But that doesn’t support the argument that these countries, any country with radical networks conditions, would be granted capabilities that could jeopardize US national security, even though indirectly. And it is not the UAE only: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Indonesia, and in general all allies, could present such complexity.
Britain and UAE
An argument was made about discriminating between the UAE and the UK in terms of who is a better ally in the War on Terror so that they can benefit from US offer in international business. The argument itself doesn’t fit the comparative parameters. For the critics of the contract didn’t raise the choice between Britain and the Emirates as a reason behind their concerns regarding the choice. The issue is not about London being a better ally in the War on Terror than Dubai. It is about the deployment of Salafists organizations and Khumeinist agencies within that federation of monarchies. But since the architects of the PR campaign –not necessarily the Administration- on behalf of the agreement are naturally inclined to use any argument to win the bid, including twisting geopolitical realities for a business deal, it is important not to let the argument have a free ride unchecked, at least for future similar crisis. My point is simple: Yes the United Kingdom’s strategic commitments and integration in the War on Terror are more advanced than those of the UAE. Even if this isn’t the real issue, these are the reasons why London’s position is higher: a) Great Britain is listed as a target by al Qaida, not the UAE; b) Toni Blair was sitting in the US Congress when President Bush declared War on the Taliban in October 2001, not the monarchs of the UAE; c) The UK has a clear strategy against the Jihadist-Terrorists, not the Emirates; and last but not least, the Prime Minister of the Isles declared the ideology of al Qaida as terrorist and criminal, not Dubai’s rulers. These, plus many other considerations grants Britain a clear status of strategic ally in the War with the Jihadists over the UAE’s somewhat cooperation against al Qaida…
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