We write to express our deep concerns regarding your Administration’s decision to allow Dubai Ports World (DP World), a firm owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to manage operations at six U.S. ports. The UAE has pledged to provide financial support to the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian Authority and openly participates in the Arab League boycott against Israel. The agreement that your Administration approved not only could place the safety and security of U.S. ports at risk, but enhance the ability of the UAE to bolster the Hamas regime and its efforts to promote terrorism and violence against Israel.
History has shown that the UAE has not shied away from supporting terrorist regimes. Prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the UAE was an active supporter of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. And, on February 2, 2006, just two weeks after the port deal was approved, Reuters reported that Arab countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, pledged millions to help the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority offset any potential cut in Israeli fund transfers and U.S. foreign aid. Under the current port agreement, there are no limitations to prevent money earned by the UAE from being be used to continue funding terrorist organizations, such as Hamas, which seek the destruction of Israel.
Additionally, current law prohibits U.S. companies and individuals from participating in international economic boycotts or embargoes. In fact, we understand that the Department of Commerce Office of Antiboycott Compliance has fined several U.S. companies in the last year for complying with DP World’s and UAE’s enforcement of the Arab League boycott against Israel. The Administration’s decision to reward a company that actively enforces the anti-Israel boycott violates the spirit and intent of our anti-boycott law and runs counter to the efforts of those of us in Congress who have sought an end to this offensive and unfair practice. The UAE should have been required to renounce its anti-Israel boycott as a condition for the deal to be approved.
Finally, press accounts have noted a breakdown in communication at the highest levels in the Administration during the process of evaluating the port agreement. Reports are now surfacing that concerns raised by the Coast Guard, the frontline defenders of our ports, were not taken into account. These omissions, coupled with UAE actions that counter our interests in the Middle East, clearly demonstrate that the Administration did not adequately evaluate the domestic and international security risks posed by this accord.
As the Administration belatedly begins a full 45-day review of the DP World investment, we strongly urge you to thoroughly examine these concerns and take all appropriate steps to ensure the security of the American people and our allies.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to your response.