GOI: How many times have we heard from President Bush that "freedom is on the march" and that his desire is to bring "Democracy" to the Middle East. Well in that vein I looked up some information on the United Arab Emirates. The following is from the U.S. State Department:
The UAE is not a Democracy rather it is an Islamic federation of emirates. An Emir is a prince of an Islamic territory. The UAE has no political parties and does not allow women to vote. They have a form of executive, legislative and judicial branches:
Executive: 7-member Supreme Council of Rulers, which elects president and vice president (in other words the people have no say in who their President and VP might be).
Legislative: 40-member Federal National Council (consultative only).
Judicial: Judicial--Islamic and secular courts (Prison system is horrible). Administrative subdivisions: Seven largely self-governing city-states.
In 2004, the U.A.E.’s first and only president, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, died. His eldest son Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan succeeded him as Ruler of Abu Dhabi. In accordance with the Constitution, the U.A.E.’s Supreme Council of Rulers elected Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan as U.A.E. Federal President. Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan succeeded Khalifa as Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. In January 2006, Sheikh Maktum bin Rashid Al Maktum, U.A.E. Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, passed away and was replaced by his brother, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defense.
In 2004: The [UAE] Government restricted freedom of speech and of the press. The Government restricted free assembly and association, and it restricted religious freedom by banning proselytizing of Muslims. The Government restricted the rights of workers, many of whom were not protected by labor laws. There are no labor unions. There were poor working conditions for some laborers, failure to pay wages, and abuse of foreign domestic servants in an economy in which 98 percent of the private sector workforce is foreign. There were no independent human rights organizations. Trafficking in women as prostitutes and very young foreign boys as camel jockeys continue to be serious problems, despite government pledges to end these practices.
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary; however, its decisions were subject to review by the political leadership.
The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press; however, the Government restricted these rights in practice. The law prohibits, under penalty of imprisonment, criticism of the Government, ruling families, and friendly governments, as well as other statements that threaten social stability; however, the law was rarely enforced because journalists practiced self-censorship.
Custom dictates that a husband can bar his wife, minor children, and adult unmarried daughters from leaving the country.
GOI: So we are basically just supposed to "trust" this President's "judgement" on this UAE port controversy. What a joke. He hasn't given us any reason to trust anything he does. He doesn't spend much time thinking about Osama bin Laden. That is good judgement. He rushed us into war with his "good judgement" that there were WMD's in Iraq. He asked us to "trust" him that the war in Iraq would be over quickly and we would be greeted as liberators. He also asked us to "trust him" when he said, "mission accomplished" in Iraq and yet thousands of American soldiers have died since. He asked us to trust him when he said that "Brownie" was doing a "heck of a job" in dealing with the Katrina disaster. We are supposed to "trust him" on the Valerie Plame scandal and on and on.
So now we are supposed to trust his judgement to give the UAE the keys to the front door?? Does this sound like a country we want to be doing business with and supporting? I don't think so. I thought we were living in a "post-9/11 world???" This just shows that Bush really isn't about a push for Democracy as long as the non-democratic country is willing to do business with his administration.
His kind of "good judgement" has gotten us nothing but trouble.
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