There is bipartisan concern about the Bush administration’s decision to outsource the operation of six of the nation’s largest ports to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because of that nation’s troubling ties to international terrorism. The sale of P&O to Dubai World Ports would give the state-owned company control of “the ports of New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.”
A major part of the story, however, has been mostly overlooked. The company, Dubai Ports World, would also control the movement of military equipment on behalf of the U.S. Army through two other ports. From today’s edition of the British paper Lloyd’s List:
[P&O] has just renewed a contract with the United States Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to provide stevedoring [loading and unloading] of military equipment at the Texan ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christi through 2010.
According to the journal Army Logistician “Almost 40 percent of the Army cargo deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom flows through these two ports.”
Thus, the sale would give a country that has been “a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia” direct control over substantial quantities U.S. military equipment.