Opponents of the Dubai Ports deal can now claim that we did indeed dodge a bullet in sinking that deal. Glen Carey and Tarek al-Issawi of Bloomberg describe the ways in which Dubai is allowing itself to be used as a base for violating sanctions on Iran.
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From his base in Dubai, the second-biggest member of the United Arab Emirates, Reza ships General Electric Corp. refrigerators and other American-branded products to Iran, even though re-exporting them is banned under U.S. sanctions. Within days, the printers will be snapped up by buyers in Iran.
``Anything made in America is popular,'' Reza, 55, says as his crew prepares for another voyage.
The illicit trade takes place in one of the world's most guarded waterways. Hundreds of dhows, traditional Arab sailing vessels, weave their way past U.S. warships that have patrolled the oil shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz for almost three decades. These days, the military is more occupied with intercepting weapons than desktop computers.
U.S. sailors are focused on securing oil flows from the region as tensions in the Gulf increase because of Iran's nuclear program and the war in Iraq.
``We're not looking for commercial products; if there aren't terrorists or weapons onboard, they're free to go,'' says Lieutenant John Gay, a spokesman for the Bahrain-based U.S. 5th Fleet. ``It's not our mission.''