The Obama Presidency

Thursday, May 21, 2009


U.S. to Help UAE Build Energy Program

President Obama has approved an agreement to help build a nuclear energy program in the United Arab Emirates, officials said Wednesday.

The agreement was reached by the administration of President George W. Bush and left for Obama to shepherd through Congress. The new president's team portrays it as a way to prevent Middle Eastern countries from building nuclear weapons under the guise of energy programs.

Under the agreement, the UAE agreed not to enrich uranium to run its nuclear plants, or to reprocess spent fuel, steps that could be used to create material for a bomb. In exchange, the UAE will be allowed to buy fuel and other materials for its nuclear power plants from U.S. businesses.

The UAE has also agreed to intensive international inspections. But a number of lawmakers and nonproliferation experts worry that the plan's safeguards are not strict enough.

Once the accord arrives in Congress, lawmakers have 90 days to review it.

The accord sat at the White House for weeks as a scandal unfolded over a video smuggled out of the UAE that showed a member of the royal family brutally beating an Afghan businessman. The sheik was detained this month, five years after the incident, pending the outcome of a criminal investigation, according to the UAE government.

-- Mary Beth Sheridan

Powell Rebuffs Limbaugh: As one of the nation's most decorated soldiers, Colin L. Powell knows how to fight. And he came out swinging this week in the ongoing war of words with former vice president Richard B. Cheney and radio host Rush Limbaugh.

In a speech in Boston, Powell hit back against the pair for questioning his loyalty to the Republican Party.

"Rush Limbaugh says, 'Get out of the Republican Party.' Dick Cheney says, 'He's already out.' I may be out of their version of the Republican Party, but there's another version of the Republican Party waiting to emerge once again," Powell told the crowd, according to the Boston Globe.

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