Monday, February 27, 2006

The sheik behind the port deal

Economists, international experts say the backlash is rooted in anxiety that the U.S. is losing its top spot in the global economy, not in fear of terrorism

By Susan Chandler and Stephen Franklin, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune reporters Ameet Sachdev, Thomas A. Corfman, Becky Yerak, James P. Miller and Mike Hughlett, and The Associated Press contribute
Published February 26, 2006

He is an acclaimed poet. He is a world-class equestrian who favors endurance racing. He is an ardent believer in economic development from a country with close U.S. ties, a man who has built amazing hotels, shopping centers and office towers, transforming his tiny city-state into an international finance center and playground for jet-setters.

With his existing investments in U.S. hotels, Sun Belt apartments and health-care facilities, Dubai ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum doesn't seem like the kind of foreign investor who would create a political uproar on Capitol Hill. But a proposed $6.8 billion deal by a state-owned Dubai company to take over operations at six U.S. ports has done exactly that.

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