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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
03KUWAIT2704
2003-06-18 13:58:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Kuwait
Cable title:  

KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION: GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION AND

Tags:   KU  KDMR 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 002704 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/ARP, NEA/PPD, PA, INR/NESA,
IIP/G/NEA-SA, INR/B
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH, PARIS FOR O'FRIEL
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA
CINCCENT FOR CCPA
USDOC FOR 4520/ANESA/ONE/FITZGERALD-WILKS
USDOC FOR ITA AND PTO/OLIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KU KDMR
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION: GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION AND
INFLUENCE PEDDLING; INDICTMENT OF KUWAITI EDITOR


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KUWAIT 002704

SIPDIS

STATE FOR INR/R/MR, NEA/ARP, NEA/PPD, PA, INR/NESA,
IIP/G/NEA-SA, INR/B
WHITE HOUSE FOR PRESS OFFICE
LONDON FOR GOLDRICH, PARIS FOR O'FRIEL
SECDEF FOR OASD/PA
CINCCENT FOR CCPA
USDOC FOR 4520/ANESA/ONE/FITZGERALD-WILKS
USDOC FOR ITA AND PTO/OLIA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KU KDMR
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION: GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION AND
INFLUENCE PEDDLING; INDICTMENT OF KUWAITI EDITOR



1. SUMMARY: Op/ed by Ambassador Jones on the Middle East
Roadmap receives fulsome coverage in today's print media,
including four Arabic and two English newspapers.

Charges of corruption and governmental malfeasance dominate
all Arabic dailies over the past week as the country
prepares for July 5 parliamentary elections. Indignation
against the government for preferring charges against a
Kuwaiti editor for slandering the ruling family continues
apace, with liberal Kuwait University professor Ahmed al-
Baghdadi--himself once imprisoned for lese majeste--penning
a harsh attack on the Minister of Information for allegedly
asserting that the ruling family of Kuwait "gave" the
country democracy. END SUMMARY.


2. HEADLINES:

--All newspapers (6/16): De facto Prime Minister and
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed, called
for combating wasta (influence) in the government body and
said that: "for every wasta, someone's right goes to
waste."

--All newspapers (6/16): Cabinet discussed corruption
issues and the freezing of recent decision undertaken by
elected Ministers who will be running for elections.

--All newspapers (6/16): National Assembly Speaker, Jassim
Al-Khorafi, also a candidate for parliamentary elections
called on the ruling family to settle any issues they have
through decisive decisions. Al-Khorafi argued that the
National Assembly was beginning to lose its credibility with
Kuwaiti citizens.

--Al-Watan (6/14): Journalists without Borders sent a
letter to Minister of Information, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahd,
expressing concern for referring Editor-in-Chief of Arabic
daily Al-Watan, Mohammed Al-Jassim, to the Public
Prosecutor. (Front page)

--Al-Qabas (6/14): conducted a poll among 800 Kuwaitis
whereby 85% said they think that corruption in Kuwait is
"extremely serious" or "serious".

--All newspapers (6/18): the Kuwaiti Journalists
Association called on Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed to withdraw the
government's claim against the editor-in-chief of Al-Watan

newspaper who was recently referred to the Public Prosecutor
and charged with contesting the Amir's authorities. The
association argued that the decision reflects negatively on
Kuwait's democratic image, especially during the elections
time.


3. Liberal Saud Al-Samaka wrote in independent Al-Qabas
(6/18): Influence (wasta) has reached the core the core of
this society and has contaminated it with corruption..
Influence has deprived our youths of the spirit of
initiation and national loyalty. It has also shed a
negative light on society to the extent that our country is
now being characterized as anarchic and as a society of
thieves and bribes.."


4. Liberal Nabeel Al-Fadl wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-
Aam (6/18): "We must agree that funding election campaigns
is a legitimate right and a proper application of the
democratic process. The President of the United States has
earned his elected office through funding by various groups
that saw him as their best representative. This is the same
for all members of the Congress and the Senate.. Therefore,
funding election campaigns is a legitimate, democratic
process in principle. Yet, what is forbidden is using
public funds or charity donations to fund these campaigns.
The money paid must come from private sources and donations
by those who see that the candidate represents their best
interests. Even such donations must have a ceiling in order
not to exceed the real need of election campaigns and
therefore deviate from their proper cause and legitimate
path.. In order to achieve that, we must have transparency
and must announce the source of funding and the amount of
each donation in comparison with the actual expenses of the
campaign. This process must also be monitored by a judicial
committer to monitor and audit."


5. Kuwait University professor, Hasan Abdulla Abbas, wrote
in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/16): "We never expected the
government to accuse elected ministers of being deficient in
their duties and that corruption has dominated their
ministries due to election interests... Unfortunately,
corruption has spread throughout the government body and
from the top to the bottom of the ministerial hierarchy..
It is also disgusting to witness the class system in our
National Assembly. Members of parliament are more biased
towards their blue blood, instead of defending principles
and the rights of citizens."


6. Parliament in Kuwait Lacks a Vision and Opposes Reform
Liberal political science professor, Dr. Shafeeq Al-Ghabra,
wrote in independent Al-Rai Al-Aam (6/16): "Kuwait is
carrying heavy burdens that are hindering its development.
Its first burden is a parliament that lacks reform and where
many of its members do not believe in freedom of thought and
equality, not only between men and women, but also between
one human being and the other. What is more dangerous is
that the nature of the election system (vote buying and lack
of laws that allow political parties) is in dire need for
reform."


7. Liberal Kuwait University Political Science professor,
Dr. Ahmed Al-Baghdadi, wrote in independent Al-Seyassa
(6/16): "The Minister of Information is trying, through his
statements, to state that the democracy enjoyed by the
Kuwaiti people since 1963 was brought on by the ruling
family. This is a flagrant canard that the ruling family
should not allow the young minister to foist onto the
Kuwaiti people.. It is not the right of the Minister of
Information or others to present democracy as if it had been
bestowed on us. Unfortunately, the Kuwaiti people have lost
their courage in defending their constitutional rights. In
reality, I am not astonished by the statements made by the
Minister of Information. It seems that excessive contact
with the religious current leads to such thoughts,
especially impatience with democracy.. The Kuwaiti people
do not beg for their democracy from you Mr. Minister.
Instead, they derive it from the constitution that holds you
accountable. Yet, if your statements are derived from your
capacity as a member of the ruling family, then know that
the constitution does not grant you this right, neither does
it grant it to others regardless of their power."