A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Bye-Bye Dubai Ports World

AP: Dubai Firm Backs Out of U.S. Ports Deal---

WASHINGTON - A Dubai-owned company abruptly abandoned its plans for managing U.S. ports on Thursday, defusing an election-year showdown between President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress over an issue that had become a political land mine for the GOP.

"DP World will transfer fully the U.S. operations ... to a United States entity," H. Edward Bilkey, the company's top executive, said in the surprise announcement that seemed to spread relief throughout the Capitol and the White House. It was unclear which American business might get the port operations.

Just hours earlier, Republican House and Senate leaders privately told the president that Congress was all but certain to block DP World's plans. Under pressure from a disapproving public, a House committee overwhelmingly voted against it Wednesday. The leaders told Bush the Senate would inevitably do the same, despite his threats to veto any legislation killing the deal.

The company's announcement gave Bush an out. He now doesn't have to back down from his staunch support of the United Arab Emirates-based company or further divide his party on a terrorism-related issue with a veto.

The White House expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

"It does provide a way forward and resolve the matter," said Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary "We have a strong relationship with the UAE and a good partnership in the global war on terrorism, and I think their decision reflects the importance of our broader relationship."
More from Mark Levin, Fox News, and Michelle Malkin has a ton more.

The AP has this list of Ports that would have been affected by the deal. Oh, yes, and it numbers quite a few more than 6, which is the number the President and the pro-deal people were throwing out there, in defense of the deal.

Over at The Hill, news that:

Dubai is threatening retaliation against American strategic and commercial interests if Washington blocks its $6.8 billion takeover of operations at several U.S. ports.

As the House Appropriations Committee yesterday marked up legislation to kill Dubai Ports World’s acquisition of Britain’s Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation (P&O), the emirate let it be known that it is preparing to hit back hard if necessary.

A source close to the deal said members of Dubai’s royal family are furious at the hostility both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have shown toward the deal.

“They’re saying, ‘All we’ve done for you guys, all our purchases, we’ll stop it, we’ll just yank it,’” the source said.

Retaliation from the emirate could come against lucrative deals with aircraft maker Boeing and by curtailing the docking of hundreds of American ships, including U.S. Navy ships, each year at its port in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the source added.