As Dubai and its investors sort out the consequences of overexpansion, a larger, darker side of the United Arab Emirates is still a tight secret -- particularly their acquisition of nuclear technology and the easy potential for proliferation; their human rights abuses; and violations of their World Trade Organization agreements.
Nuclear Technology: The Obama administration is planning to provide nuclear capability -- of course publicized as Civilian Use Nuclear Technology – to the UAE, despite the high probability of its falling into the hands of terrorists and rogue tribes and nations in the area, including the UAE’s close trading partner, Iran.
What the UAE do not want you to know is that not only was it one of only three countries in the world officially to recognize the Taliban, but that two of the 9/11 hijackers were UAE nationals – a fact somehow never brought up even, apparently, in the FBI and CIA reports of 9/11, despite one of the hijackers having been on a UAE Government-funded military scholarship in the US at the time.
As many other UAE citizens also contribute to the terror ranks in a society still based more on tribal loyalty than on democratic norms, this proposed transfer of nuclear technology can only pose a direct and immediate threat to US allies and interests in the region, as well as to Israel.
Human Rights Abuses: These abound, especially in Sharjah, a constituent state of the UAE, best known as a hub for internationally wanted weapons dealers, for which the Sharjah airport cargo section is famous -- an open secret that no one in the Middle East wishes to spell out, due to harsh and swift consequences.
The laws in Sharjah can best be described as one step better than those of the ousted Taliban. Members of the Criminal Investigation Department [CID] are undercover policemen with unlimited powers -- and no accountability.
Arrested non-Muslims, for example, are unofficially offered the option of converting to Islam whereby they will be pardoned, or of being prosecuted in the harshest way possible.
Internet cafes selling VOIP (telephone communication over computers) products have been shut down and the attendants of the cafes arrested, tortured, and illegally detained by the CID to try to extract forced confessions.
The American University of Sharjah is a hotbed of pro-Palestinian propaganda and fund-raising for Palestinian causes, without of course, ascertaining to what ends these funds are to be used. It is baffling therefore why the US would continue to recognize such a university. And Jewish Heritage is openly abused, at least verbally, on the streets.
Although the UAE’s constitution does not ban the practice of any religion including Judaism,and the rulers of the UAE have happily gifted lands for Hindu temples and Christian churches, there is not yet one synagogue in the UAE. Individuals and families of Jewish heritage are routinely exposed in the streets to open abuse and live in perpetual fear. The current president of the organization representing the Arab boycott of Israel is a UAE national, and UAE has a policy that individuals with an Israeli visa or stamp on their passports will be denied entry into the UAE – although this rule is often waived in deference to international pressure or international commerce, and then claimed as a “large-hearted gesture” toward Israel.
Violations of WTO Free Trade Agreements: Although a signatory to free trade agreements, the UAE does not, for instance, allow American companies to legally operate within its billion dollar VOIP sector and allow users to make computer-to-mobile-phone calls. This is done to protect the state-owned monopoly, Etisalat [Emirates Telecommunications Corporation], although recently Dubai started a similar company, DU.
The government company that facilitates this violation of the free trade agreements is the Telecom Regulatory Authority [TRA], whose website does not name its Board members, possibly for fear of being blacklisted.
However the fact that Etisalat and the government of the UAE are actively purchasing shares and interest in the telecom of other countries in the region -- including the Middle East, North Africa, India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia – while denying such benefits in the UAE, is a punishable offense. It also presents the possibility that rogue members of the UAE are able to control, eavesdrop, and have unlimited access to communications, conversations, SMSes and the like.
Moreover, the UAE, which illegally shuts out American companies the right to participate in its lucrative VOIP sector, has, either directly or through its front-companies, delved into a buying spree of its own in the US. Their assets include:
-- A tower and adjacent plot of land at 1466 Broadway, owned by the UAE company, Istithmar, which also owns Dubai World.
-- Jumeirah Essex House New York, on Central Park South, Jumeirah being a district in Dubai.
-- Barney’s Department Store, New York City
-- Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York City
-- W Union Square Hotel, New York City
.There is no reason for the US to look the other way as the UAE closes the door to American entrepreneurs who would like to invest in the VOIP Market: Congressional hearings are probably in order.
There is also no reason, while the UAE benefits substantially from the US economy, for the US to continue to continue to countenance bald violations of human rights and one-sided business practices.
And there is certainly no reason for the US to pour more nuclear capability into a region where neighbors are rough, borders porous, and succession uncertain at best.
It is high time for the UAE to be held accountable on the international stage: it has gotten away with too much for too long.