Expert: Jihadists Can Infiltrate Dubai Ports World

A terrorism expert has revealed a chilling scenario of just how Jihadists could deeply penetrate Dubai Ports World, the embattled United Arab Emirates company that is poised to take over operations at many key U.S. maritime terminals.

Dr. Walid Phares, terrorism and Mideast expert and senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington, told MSNBC: "In the Dubai World ports agreement, the issue is about how successful can the Jihadists be in penetrating the company in the U.A.E. If they can infiltrate it - which is most likely - they will be able to infiltrate the U.S."

"If anything has to be done, it is in this regard. The rest is politics," the former professor of Middle East Studies and Ethnic and Religious Conflict at Florida Atlantic University concluded in the brief televised interview.

Phares, who conducts briefings to the State, Justice, Defense and Homeland Security Departments, the U.S. Congress, the European Union, and the United Nations Security Council, has been - like many experts these days - focused on the national security implications of the recent purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co. by DP World, a state-owned business headquartered in the UAE.

After denigrating the politicizing of the issue, Dr. Phares emphasizes in his essay the deep danger of penetration:

"First, the enemy will penetrate from the U.A.E. end, aided by Salafi or even Khumeinist sympathizers. This first line of defense could be breached by hiring elements to form a network inside the company, or subcontracted �hostile' entities in the future.

"Second, while moving inside the layers of the management the �net' could then hire elements coming from the American side. If we project that Jihadists are operating inside the U.S., a U.A.E. company managing six main U.S. ports would be a first rate opportunity for them to �connect.'

Hence, one can project that once a network installs itself inside the corporation, it would be able to recruit U.S. citizens and residents [who are] sympathizers with or part of the movement. A bridge would thus be established between the outside cells and the inside cells through a perfectly legitimate outlet."

As to the enemy's end-game in the expert's sobering scenario, Phares writes: "Action would come once the bridge is operational. It could develop into multiple directions. General intelligence and spying in the U.S. is only one possibility. Storing material in these sensitive areas is two. Learning about the security systems in these ports from the administrative end is three. Disrupting national security operations is four. The deeper the layers, the wider possibilities would open to the Jihadists. But the initial �hole' is what allows the chain to develop."

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