The decision by Halliburton to relocate its headquarters and its chief executive officer (CEO) to Dubai is a corporate version of the “cut and run” allegations so viciously flung at those who believe we should exit from Iraq. Apparently, Halliburton officials, in their hurry to cut and run, skipped some of the corporate niceties that usually attend such an announcement, failing to notify Houston Mayor Bill White and other community leaders in advance.
And, conveniently enough, Halliburton’s hasty exit comes at a time when it is under investigation for bribery, bid rigging, defrauding the military, and illegally profiting in Iraq. Although Halliburton will continue to maintain a coporate presence in Houston, its move to Dubai will complicate efforts to hold it accountable for its activities connected with Iraq. But what else could be expected from a corporation so closely affiliated with Vice President Dick Cheney, who headed Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, and the Bush Administration?
Dubai, Halliburton’s luxurious new home, is one of the seven emirates that make up the geographical area of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). The U.A.E. is a federation located in Southwest Asia, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. The official language is Arabic although other languages are spoken, and the official state religion is Islam.
United Arab Emirates has the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world, and, in 2005, the United States invested $10,000,000,000. Although the United Arab Emirates government has made some advances in the protection of human rights, the U.S. Department of State notes in its annual report on human rights practices that numerous fundamental practices and policies exist to the contrary.
The rulers hold power on the basis of their dynastic position and their legitimacy in a system of tribal consensus. The current ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid, has two wives – the first is called the senior wife and the second is called the junior wife. Mohammed bin Rashid and his two wives are avid horse and camel racing enthusiasts, and, until 2006, kept about 30,000 boys enslaved as jockeys. International pressure and a lawsuit brought by parents of six of the boys resulted in the return of the young boys to their homes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sudan.
A Dubai City steet scene, above, is identical to those in the United States.
Dubai is home to many extravagant and luxurious hotels and accommodations.
The Burj Dubai, currently under construction, will be the tallest building in the world when completed in 2008.
Rapid modernization, enormous strides in education, and the influx of a large foreign population have changed the face of the society but have not fundamentally altered this traditional political system.
Halliburton’s new home provides ready access to the eastern hemisphere which is a market more heavily weighted toward oil exploration and oil exploitation than the market Halliburton is leaving. Halliburton’s move to Dubai positions it perfectly to exploit Middle Eastern oil resources from a position of safety.
Halliburton will be situated far enough away from the horrors of war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan yet close enough to the world’s existing strategic oil reserves and newly emerging oil excploration in the Caspian Sea region. The tangled web among the players in this scenerio is astonishing and it leads to a possible supposition – is it possible that back in the planning stages of the Iraq invasion, Halliburton already knew it would be relocating once the invasion was completed?
Perhaps its goal was to relocate once Bush and Cheney provided a “free and democratic Iraq” and a blossoming of democracy throughout the Middle East. But what it most assuredly did not count on was the tragic and disastrous outcome in Iraq and the Middle East that is now the legacy of the Bush and Cheney administration.