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Poison in Dubai - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The city of Dubai represents an Arab dream; it is a success story that needs to be told in detail and continually. It is no longer a secret that Dubai and its success were built upon a strategic vision and foundations, a strong will, and an effective leadership. This wonderful atmosphere is a great opportunity that attracts investments, tourism, and recreation and multitudes of giant international companies came to this futuristic city, as well as thousands of ambitious people seeking wealth and a comfortable lifestyle and wanting to build a future for themselves. Specialized cities within Dubai were established to enable this in the fields of finance, internet, media and so on. The required specialization of added value is the key to a great economical surge. However, recently, something terrible and unacceptable took place. The announcement was made that the headquarters of the American company, Halliburton, would move from Houston, Texas in the USA to Dubai in the UAE; this decision comes after the company suffered at the hands of Congress because of the strong accusations of tax evasion made against it and for receiving “special” and “unusual” treatment and acquiring a number of deals in Iraq through direct commissioning without going through tenders and the usual competition.

Many people attribute the reasons behind the company’s special relations with gigantic projects with the US army and large oil companies to the influence of the controversial American Vice President Dick Cheney who was the Chairman of Halliburton before running in the US elections with President Bush in 2000. This company was subject to criticisms of misuse as it was awarded projects in Iraq alone that are worth over 20 billion US dollars, most of which are without tenders. In a controversial American book entitled ‘The Halliburton Agenda’, the author discussed a number of controversial issues, the methods of running the company, and its implication in scandals and bribes, which according to the author is more the style of bosses of organized crime rather than a respectable international company.

The conduct of Halliburton led to one popular American singer recording an album and naming it ‘Halliburton Boardroom Massacre,’ which contained songs named after the company’s violations, members of the board of directors, and their American politician accomplices. Even the bumper stickers appearing on cars took part in the anti-Halliburton theme with one in particular that has become popular reading “Support organized crime: vote Bush, Cheney & Halliburton.”

Halliburton is the ugly face of the American world of business, just as the group of neo-conservatives represents the ugly face of the world of politics. Halliburton is an old company, established in 1919 and focusing primarily on the oil trade. It then expanded to spread to over 70 countries around the world, but in recent years it transformed into a raging monster, and its management approach has become void of any morals.

On its way to form a respectable organizational alternative, and a futuristic approach that Arabs can be proud of; Dubai is making a huge mistake if it believes that by hosting Halliburton’s headquarters, it will add anything “reputable” to its astounding journey.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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