President George W. Bush justifies the sale of the private British company that manages six U.S. ports to the government owned Dubai Ports World, saying that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a close ally of the U.S. in the war on terror. Indeed, the Jebel Ali terminal in Dubai transports at least 40% of US supplies to the troops in Iraq. Having the deepest port in the Persian Gulf, Dubai is critical for U.S. naval operations in the region. The UAE also provides air bases to support U.S. warplanes and stores materiel for U.S. forces. Moreover, it is also a major market for U.S. arms.
Not surprisingly, the President threatens to veto any legislation to block the deal and challenges lawmakers to “step up and explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard" than the British company that ran the ports before.
There are many important differences. To begin with, a private company based in the U.K. a Western democracy with troops fighting along with U.S. soldiers in Iraq, contrasts sharply with the UAE, which supported al-Qaeda, sent 9/11 terrorists and funding, and continues to support Palestinian suicide bombers and particularly HAMAS, which President Bush calls “a terrorist organization.”
On July 27, 2005, the Palestinian Information Center carried a public HAMAS statement thanking the UAE for it’s “unstinting support.” The statement said: “We highly appreciate his highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahyan (UAE president) in particular and the UAE people and government in general for their limitless support…that contributed more to consolidating our people's resoluteness in the face of the Israeli occupation".
The HAMAS statement continued: "the sisterly UAE had… never hesitated in providing aid for our Mujahid people pertaining to rebuilding their houses demolished by the IOF… The UAE also spared no effort to offer financial and material aids to the Palestinian charitable societies." Indeed, as documented by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (C.S.S), HAMAS charitable societies,” are known as integral parts of the HAMAS infrastructure, and are outlawed by Israel and the U.S.
The HAMAS statement included a special tribute: "One can never forget the generous donations of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan,” the father of the current UAE president. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahayan of Abu Dhabi, was the first Arab leader to understand the importance of waging economic Jihad against the West, and was the first to use oil as a political weapon following the Yom Kippur War in 1973. On the eve of the 1991 Gulf War he branded the United States “our number two enemy” after Israel.
The multi-billionaire Sheikh Zayed, was an early patron of the PLO, and from the 1970’s until his death in 2004, contributed millions of dollars to the terror agenda of the PLO, HAMAS and Islamic Jihad.
Human Appeal International, a UAE government-operated “charitable” organization, whose board includes the UAE president, funds HAMAS as well as other Palestinian organizations, “martyrs,” Palestinian terrorists in Israeli prisons and their families. The HAI’s modus operandi is to transfer money to the Palestinian Red Crescent Organization whose West Bank and Gaza branches are operated by HAMAS. They, in turn, distribute the money to HAMAS “charities.”
For example, according to the Orient Research Center in Toronto, Canada, the UAE “compensation” plan for the Palestinian intifada in 2001 included $3,000 for every Palestinian shaheed, $2,000 for his family, $1,500 for those detained by Israel, $1,200 for each orphan. In addition, families of those terrorists whose homes Israel demolished each received $10,000.
Also in 2001, in support of the martyr’s families in the Palestinian intifada, two telethons were organized in the UAE. “We Are All Palestinians” raised 135 million dirham, or $36.8 million, and “For Your Sake Palestine” raised 350 million dirham, or $95.3 million.
According to a detailed report on March 25, 2005, in the Palestinian daily Al Hayat al-Jadeeda, the UAE Friends Society transferred $475,000, through the UAE Red Crescent, to West Bank “charitable” organizations in Hebron, Jenin, Nablus and Tulkarem to distribute to the families of “martyrs,” orphans, imprisoned Palestinians and others.
The Palestinian newspaper Al-Ayyam reported on March 22, 2005, that in 2004 the UAE Red Crescent donated $2 million to HAMAS “charities” to be distributed to 3,158 terrorists’ orphans.
On February 15, 2005, the HAMAS website reported on funds transferred from HAI to two HAMAS front organizations in the West Bank, IQRA and Rifdah, which Israel had outlawed. And last July, Osama Zaki Muhammad Bashiti of Khan Younis in Gaza was arrested as he returned from the UAE, for often transferring funds of as much as $200,000 at a time to the Gaza HAMAS branch. The suicide bombing and attacks, including one mortar attack on Gush Katif, caused the death of 44 Israeli civilians and dozens of injuries.
The UAE support of HAMAS is in line with the agenda promoted by the late Sheikh Zayed. His Zayed Center for International Coordination and Followup, founded in 1999 as the official Arab League think-tank, was shuttered under international pressure in 2003. It championed Holocaust deniers like Thierry Meyssan and Roger Garaudy and provided a platform for anti-Western, anti-Christian and anti-Jewish extremists like Saudi economist Dr. Yussuf Abdallah Al Zamel, who blamed the war in Iraq on "radical Zionist and right-wing Christian" influence.
Although UAE foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan stated that the Emirates have been and remain a “strong ally of the U.S. in combating terrorism,” its continuing support of HAMAS and other Islamist organizations contradict his statement. This legitimately raises concerns about trusting U.S. ports to UAE management.
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