From the Shah to Dubai

In 1976, the Shah of Iran out of good faith and support for United States, decreed the Pahlavi Foundation to probe into purchasing the controlling rights of Pan American World Airways.  PanAm had been struggling for a few years as once-lucrative routes, mostly to Europe and South America, had not been generating the kind of cash they had projected.  Coupled with some high level purchases from Boeing, namely 747 airliners, the airline had placed itself in a precarious cash poor position. 

The Shah’s intent was to bail out the airline which also happened to be the only American airways operating into and out of Iran.  By such an act, which was the first bold move by any Middle Eastern country, Iran would have become an owning partner of a major player in a major American Industry. 

Not surprisingly, Congress got involved and stopped the attempt by legislating the ownership of an airliner by a foreign entity as illegal.  Does this sound familiar?

Exactly thirty years ago America had the wherewithal to stop such a purchase at the time when the Shah was at the apex of his power and his friendship to the US was unquestionable. America had the vision to stop a good friend from helping out: imagine if the Pahlavi Foundation, renamed the Mostazaffin Foundation under the Islamic Republic, was the majority owner of PanAm.

I can only picture, Mohsen Rezaie, or Haddad Adel or another goon sitting side by side their counterparts in the PanAm buildings’ boardroom on New York’s 5th avenue. Perhaps they would have sent Khamenei or Rafsanjani to occasionally represent the interests of Islamic terrorism in proxy meetings.  Just imagine if the foundation would have taken the lead to create its own 9/11, by commissioning one of the fully loaded PanAm jets to fly into the world trade centers.  Or perhaps they would have colluded with Osama to let him use the planes for his dirty deeds. 

All of these were possibilities and all are nothing but what-ifs.  So when the US congress tries to put a stopgap measure in place it does so with the same zeal and foresight that their forbearers did thirty years earlier.  It is not to stop an Arab or a Muslim country from owning a piece of America, but rather to prevent a horrible scenario from taking shape.  There is no doubt that the Dubai Ports world and its managing members are friends of America, as the Shah was thirty years before that, but the question is the forces that are beyond their control.

Can anyone guarantee that 15 years from now Dubai or UAE is in the same tranquil and prosperous environment it is in today?  It is a well-known fact that the people of the Middle East – aside from the Iranians – are the most hostile population to the American way of life and this powder Keg of instability could ignite at any time. Why would the US want to tranfer the security of its ports into the hands of a company and a region that is unstable?  The prospect of an Osama like demon taking control of one of our ports should shudder the back of anyone who supports this deal with the Arabs.  

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