Dubai, March 10 (Reuters): Gulf Arabs reacted bitterly today to Dubai’s decision to relinquish control of six US ports, saying the political storm that forced the emirate’s hand could provoke a backlash among regional investors.
State-owned Dubai Ports announced yesterday that it would transfer the ports to a US entity at the behest of Dubai’s ruler to allay concerns in the US that the deal posed a threat to American national security.
“Do you think we are happy this morning' The mood is black, very, very black,” said a senior official who was involved in the Dubai Ports deal.
Since the September 11 attacks, investors from the world’s biggest oil-exporting region have feared their assets in the US might be targeted for security reasons.
While the Dubai Ports row reinforced those fears among the Gulf's wealthy private investors, most analysts had said it would barely affect state-controlled petrodollar flows that are increasingly important to the U.S. economy.
They, like the region's business community, had believed the Gulf’s close diplomatic and military ties with Washington would prevail when push came to shove.
But that faith was shattered by the forced capitulation of a government-controlled company in the United Arab Emirates, a frequent port of call for American warships and a country described by President George W. Bush as a staunch ally.