27 February 2006

The Jordan Times

One aspect of travelling is to be able to read newspapers and gain perspective from the countries’ reporters and affiliated press agencies.

The Jordan Times did not let me down, and there were 3 articles that today caught my attention.

Apart from posting comments on other blogs, I’ve kept out of the DP World debate because it’s already been well-documented – notably through the various posts and reference links on John Chilton’s The Emirates Economist blog.

However, this opinion article from Musa Keilani deserves a mention. It’s a balanced viewpoint from the security aspect of the deal, and addresses this from both UAE and the US angles.

The article made me wonder if after all this, why DP World would want to assume responsibility for the management of the US Ports? It opens up the Middle East and Muslim people to more blame if things do go wrong at these ports. There are people out there who would deliberately cause mayhem to have the ME and Islam portrayed in bad light by claiming that the wrongdoings were carried out by Islamic groups. Why not – it’s probably been done before?

The second article by Hamza Hendawi, uses a barber shop in Iraq to depict how life for the Iraqi people has changed since the US “liberation”. From a people living under f
ear of a regime, they now live in fear of each other – never knowing when one of their own people is going to find issue and kill them for whatever reason.

All through this article, I had the impression that the barber being interviewed was an older man, and was taken aback to read that this was a man in his mid-30s.

That’s too much death and fear in the life of a man of his age.

Where the Iraqis were once more unified as a people under the Saddam regime, the recent intervention has created an environment where favour has been bestowed on one side, and with that comes unrest from the losers. This is not an environment in which democracy can be introduced: where the sheer numbers of Shiites will outvote the lesser numbers of Sunnis at every turn.

Unless resolution can be found, there's a high probability that there will be civil war and/or years of unrest under US occupancy, as this Reuters' article explains - finishing with the sentence:
"Abroad, there has been concern that Iraqi sectarian violence could inflame the entire Middle East if it gets out of hand."

Overdramatic ending? Perhaps. But a real possibility all the same.


John B. Chilton said...


It is from you that I learn a lot.

I will be putting up a post to that first link "Harbouring suspicion". Unless I miss my guess Musa's piece will receive lots of notice and appreciation. It deserves wide circulation.


nzm said...

Thanks John - we're members of the Mutual Admiration Society!

Another great piece that you wrote on your blog about this, and thanks for the referral link.

Seabee said...

nzm, good point about the blame game re the US ports. Since 9/11 there's been a lot of comment in the US press about the ports being the weak link in the security fence and complaints that not much is being done to beef up security at them. Security is nothing to do with the operator, it's US Coastguard/Customs and Homeland Security who run it regardless of who the operator is.
DP World has already isolated the US ports from the rest of P&O - the best thing long-term could well be to simply sell that part off and concentrate on the rest of the world.

nzm said...

Hi Seabee

Good comments.

Although security is still in the hands of the USA, it will still be a finger-pointing exercise at the foreign owners should anything happen that breeches that security. The opponents of the sale will make sure of that!

It's a good thing that DP World has isolated the US ports - it would be better to sell them. I read somewhere (unconfirmed by me) that the US operations only account for about 12% of the total worldwide ports management operations to be now owned by DP World. Maybe the US senators and opponents would prefer that the Chinese also manage these ports, as they already do on the US West coast!

Sharron Kidney-Stone said...

are the ports the weak link or the president? funny or sad (you choose), bush got his statement all mixed up (as usual) when talking about the ports issue:
"This deal wouldn't go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America." (referring to the sale of port operations for the U.S. ports to a U.A.E.-based company) he PROBABLY meant to say the deal wouldn't have gone forward if there was any cause for concern regarding the security of the U.S.

nzm said...

Yeah - another Bushism!

Did you add that to your collection of them?


Keefieboy said...

NZM: pls email me, keefieboy {at} gmail {dot} com when you have a minuet.