The furore centres around the $6.8 billion deal
Arab-Americans have contended that bias and bigotry, not security concerns, lie behind the uproar over a deal that would place commercial operations at six US ports in the hands of an Arab company.
The furore centres around the $6.8 billion acquisition by UAE state-owned Dubai Ports World of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. P&O which had been running operations at shipping terminals in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami, and Philadelphia.
"I find some of the rhetoric being used against this deal shameful and irresponsible. There is bigotry coming out here," he said
The UAE, whose government owns Dubai Ports World, is an international financial hub and close US ally.
Rabiah Ahmed of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said members of her organisation also believed anti-Arab bigotry was driving the debate.
Arab investment in the United States is hardly new.
Ever since the spike in energy prices in the early 1970s, dollars from oil-producing Arab nations have poured into the United States, at times prompting xenophobic reaction in some quarters as concern grew that vital interests were being auctioned off to foreigners.
February 2006: Shareholders of UK-based P&O, which operates six key ports in the United States, approve the sale of their company to state-owned Dubai Ports World for $6.8 billion. The Bush administration approves the sale after a
January 2006: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Colony Capital agree to pay $3.9 billion for Canada’s Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc., trumping an offer by billionaire investor Carl Icahn.
January 2006: United Arab Emirates-based media investment company Istithmar acquires 109 million shares, or 2.39% of Time Warner Inc. for $2 billion.
November 2005: Istithmar says it has bought New York property 230 Park Avenue for $705 million.
August 2005: Dubai’s Dubal, owner and operator of the largest aluminum smelter in the Western world, says it will take a 25% stake in Canada’s Global Alumina Corp.
January 2005: The government of Dubai buys a $1 billion stake in DaimlerChrysler AG, becoming the auto maker’s third-largest shareholder. The purchase was made through the government’s Dubai Holding company.