HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Friday, December 15, 2006

Arms technology 'being diverted from Dubai'

Financial Times: The Bush administration is "increasingly alarmed" about the diversion of militarily sensitive technology to Iran and Syria via Dubai, a US official said yesterday.

"Increasing numbers of controlled items are being diverted from ports in the United Arab Emirates - Dubai - to Syria and Iran," the administration official said, threatening unspecified action if this diversion was not halted.

The security concerns have been shared with US trade negotiators and are likely to put further strain on tense trade talks between the US and the UAE.

The concern is thought to centre on the trans-shipment of technology with conventional military uses.

"We are increasingly alarmed," the official said. "If we see no action in the coming months we may have to take other steps."

The threat of escalation underlines the difficulties for US relations in the region arising from the White House policy of isolating Iran and Syria, according to Philip Gordon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

"This comes at a time when the administration is trying to resist calls from the Iraq Study Group to engage with Tehran," he said, adding that the comments served to highlight the administration's view that Iran and Syria were a threat to global security.

The analyst said the warning came amid a "great debate in Washington about containment versus engagement" with Iraq's neighbours.

Diplomatic or economic retaliation against the UAE by the US was not inevitable, the official made clear.

Mr Gordon said: "It would be designed to send a message to other countries that this is a serious and important issue for the US and that actions will have consequences."

The administration has also briefed key members of Congress, where there is bipartisan support for more pressure on the UAE.

A congressional aide familiar with the briefings said: "The administration's view is that by and large we get pretty good co-operation from the UAE. We can go to them and say: 'There is a ship and it has got this specific component on board and we don't want it going to Tehran'.

"But if it is not a missile component or something that can be linked directly to weapons of mass destruction, then maybe some of the princes will look the other way."

"The view in Congress is that Iran and its desire to get nuclear weapons has to be the overriding concern when set against economic goals," the adviser said, adding: "We are just as concerned about delivery systems and the conventional components."

US security concerns over shipping in Dubai are long-standing and led to this week's sale of five US container terminals by DP World, the Dubai ports operator, after a political furore.

A report to the US Congress last year said Dubai was alleged to have been a key transfer point in the past for shipments of nuclear-related technology to Iran.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org