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Dubai's Escape - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Dubai’s aspirations have sought to reach as far as the United States of America. The conclusion to the P&O issue, which saw Dubai withdrawing its offer to operate American ports, was in my opinion in the best interest of Dubai. Being in fierce competition with the United States would have been a complicated encounter that may have included risks and lawsuits, especially considering such a major deal and great responsibility. Dubai’s withdrawal from the deal has minimized extremely a number of potential problems. Despite how appealing the deal may have seemed, the outcome may have proved to be a painful experience. Even if Dubai took over the American ports, the problems caused by its enemies would continue from media attacks to lawsuits. Dubai would then be prone to severe judgment if any minor violation were to be committed by any authorities in the American ports. Such violations would only be interpreted in the form of financial, administrative and political burdens that would be carried only by Dubai.

Within a short timeframe, Dubai has been able to establish a name for itself internationally with its ports and seas. Its successes started from the Gulf coasts, through the Arab seas, crossing the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea ports. Its most recent success was the purchase of P&O, which is considered one of the worlds largest port operators and it is due to these successes that Dubai has put itself at risk of further antagonism. Despite Dubai’s major capacity and strong experience in this field, it would never have been able to face the future dilemmas that may have risen in time.

Firstly, Dubai could operate far from American ports to evade all sorts of lawsuits, investigation committees and campaigns that would have been instigated by competitors with their claims of security and racial issues. I believe that Dubai should postpone such a step until more appropriate economic and political circumstances have been set.

As much as Dubai’s attempt to penetrate the American economic fortress had filled the air with offense, it did bring the United Arab Emirates to the fore. This fact was highlighted in the praising reports on the United Arab Emirates in leading American magazines such as ‘Time,’ ‘Newsweek, ‘Forbes’ and others. Dubai’s green light for global markets is represented in its economic prosperity, its exceptional administrational experience and its openness in a region that is known for bureaucracy, inflexible laws and political interventions.

On the other hand, the American government declared that it is ashamed of oppositionists in the American Congress and their stance that defamed the reputation of the country and its laws. The security debate has been ongoing for quite a while and has opened the door for further debate. The debate had placed two companies, one based in the United Arab Emirates and an Israeli company under the spotlight. The company of the Emirates had proposed to buy a British branch of an American company that manufactures military equipment. As for the Israeli company it is planning to buy an American electronics company that had undergone investigations for participating in the review of the Dubai deal for operating the ports. All three deals are under review for security or military excuses. This simply forces the American government to report to the monitor committee of Congress that is concerned with supervising foreign investments in the United States.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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