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Thursday, March 09, 2006 

House Republicans stand strong, but has Dubai backed down?

First, the AP Wire (via Michelle Malkin) reports that the House Republicans produced a landslide vote against the port deal:
In an election-year repudiation of President Bush, a House panel dominated by Republicans voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to block a Dubai-owned firm from taking control of some U.S port operations.

By 62-2, the Appropriations Committee voted to bar DP World, run by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, from holding leases or contracts at U.S. ports.

Bush has promised to veto any such measure passed by Congress, but there is widespread public opposition to the deal and the GOP fears losing its advantage on the issue of national security in this fall's elections...

...By its vote, the House committee attached the ports language to a must-pass $91 billion measure financing hurricane recovery and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The full House could consider that measure as early as next week.

While GOP Senate leaders hope to delay a quick showdown with Bush on the issue, the House panel, including members of Bush's own party, showed a willingness to defy him.
GOP member Jack Kingston also said on PBS that, should Dubya want to try and veto the vote, there are enough votes to override him.

As Michelle notes, there are already attempts to villify the Republicans as betraying(!) Bush, and even accusations of Islamophobia going around. But, as she says:
...if they are guilty of anything, the House Republicans who are revolting on this issue are guilty of doing something the incompetent staffers at the White House can't seem to do very well these days: listen and respond effectively to their constituents. When all is said and done, security-minded Americans would rather not see management of terminals at our U.S. ports in the hands of an Arab state-owned company whose government officials not only provided cover to Osama bin Laden before 9/11 and created a ripe environment that facilitiated al Qaeda financing and remained a logistical hub after 9/11, but who also still maintain a catch-and-release policy toward terror suspects, deny the existence of our established ally, Israel, and may be providing material support for terrorism even as they welcome U.S. military forces to their shores.
The catch-and-release policy is something that the PLO too has been doing for a long time. And if the UAE and Saudi Arabia are supporting anti-western sentiments and terrorism against Israel and western countries, then that's why, for as long as they continue to do so, they should NOT be recognized as legitimate sources.

Now, as Michelle announces, Dubai's backed away from the bid. But that doesn't mean we should let down our guard. As IRIS Blog notes, it's possible that it could in some ways be a trick. The Wash. Post says:
It was not immediately clear how the divesture would be handled or what U.S. company would take over the operation.
It should be hoped that a reliable American firm will be able to obtain the ports. That aside, it's actually a bad thing if legislation that could help to block such deals didn't go through, because what if the UAE and Saudi Arabia were to try something like this again in the future? Real Clear Politics asks:
Will this be the end of it? I suspect so. Bush saves face and doesn't have to make good on a veto threat. A Republican-led Congrees looks good to its constituents (and feels good about itself) for flexing its muscle and derailing the deal. DPW loses, at least for the moment (The statement was notably vague, so we'll have to wait and see if a restructured deal, of which they may have some connection, emerges at some point after the election).

As with the Harriet Miers nomination, in a few weeks the DPW deal will probably be reduced to a footnote. The question is whether Bush's standing will rebound fully or whether the Dubai Rebellion will take a further chip out of the President's credibility with the Republican base that he won't ever be able to recover.
There, see that? The question of if Dubai is still going to try and find a way to get hold of US seaports is still quite valid. And if Dubya was really determined to approve the deal with an enemy country like the UAE, then somehow, I doubt his credibility will be able to recover so easily.

Whatever, as Michelle's said, the work in Washington is not done, but it certainly is a harbinger of what's to come, and I think it can be said that his attempts to grant amnesty to illegal aliens is going to be rejected as well.

But of course, to ensure that, that's why we got to work hard to make sure that things'll turn out well.

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The ports deal is dead..plain and simple.

And it should be.

As you mention aside from funding Hamas even as we speak, Dubai also violates US law by participating in the Israel boycott.

They won't even let Jews in the country! J O S H U A P U N D I T: No Jews need apply : Israel's Shahar Peer Not Allowed in Dubai Open

And Dubai is the home of the notorious UAE government funded Zayed Center, the source of the most virulently anti-Semitic and anti-American literature inthe world.

Perhaps if the president had prepared congressional leaders properly by informing them of exactly what the quid pro quo was that he promised the UAE, things might have gone more smoothly.

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