FMC Blog: Free Speech Zone

Should the U.S. Allow the Sale of U.S. Ports to Arab Owned Company?

Bush Battles Republican and Democrat over Sale of U.S. Ports to Arabs

The Bush administration recently approved an Arab company's attempt to take over the operation of seaports in six major American cities. The sale to a company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is strongly supported by President Bush but has caused bitter opposition by many politicians on Capitol Hill and with the governors of Maryland and New York. Presently, the right to manage those American ports is owned by a non-American company located in Britain.

In response to fierce criticism, President Bush fired back by saying: "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a [British] company." President Bush praised the United Arab Emirates as a great friend of the United States and warned congressional critics against sending the wrong message to the Arab world by condemning a business just because it is Arab-owned. Furthermore, President Bush stated that the deal was fully scrutinized by government officials, who concluded that the deal poses no threat to national security.

The Free Muslims Coalition supports President Bush in his backing of the sale of the management of the Ports to an Arab owned company. The Free Muslims have been the biggest critics of Islamic terrorism and extremism. We have taken numerous positions that were unpopular among our communities when we felt it was the right thing to do. However, just as we have a zero tolerance approach towards terrorism, we also have a zero tolerance approach toward bigotry against Arabs.

As stated above, the company that presently manages those American ports is not American owned. If critics of the deal were objecting because they did not want a foreign company to manage U.S. ports that would be perfectly fine. However, it is wrong to accept management by one foreign owned company and reject another foreign owned company when both companies are located in nations that are strong allies of the United States.

Indeed, the United Arab Emirates is a great friend to the United States. They have been loyal friends in the war on terror and they are excellent friends to the U.S. military. The United Arab Emirates provides docking rights for more U.S. Navy ships than any other nation in the region.

Moreover, the United Arab Emirates has adopted American style capitalism and tolerance. The UAE is a success story that is helping to shape the Arab world in a positive way. The UAE has opened its doors completely to Americans and American businesses. Relations between the UAE and United States are so good that the UAE spends billions of dollars in America and only accepts U.S. Dollars for the sale of their oil and gas. Their loyalty to the United States helps keep the American Dollar strong and the American economy moving forward. Thus, just as the UAE opens its arms to America, America should open its arms to the UAE.

Finally, by closing the door on one of our closest allies, the U.S. would be sending the wrong message to voices of moderation in the Middle East and a gift to voices of extremism. We are certain that Muslim extremist groups like Al-Qaeda and HAMAS would jump on this issue by arguing that Americans hate all Arabs and Muslims including their allies. The Free Muslims have argued time and time again that the United States must do a better job of supporting moderate Arabs and Muslims. The uproar against this ports deal is misplaced and the Free Muslims stand by President Bush for fighting back against the voices of bigotry.

Posted February 22, 2006 by Kamal Nawash