Viewing cable 06KUWAIT2478
Title: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION - ELECTIONS

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06KUWAIT24782006-06-24 14:20:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Kuwait
VZCZCXRO9588
OO RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHKUK
DE RUEHKU #2478/01 1751420
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 241420Z JUN 06
FM AMEMBASSY KUWAIT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5376
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHWSMRC/USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL//CCPA// IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KUWAIT 002478 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR NEA/ARP, NEA/PA, NEA/AIA, NEA/PI, INR/NESA, R/MR, I/GNEA, 
B/BXN, B/BRN, NEA/PPD, NEA/IPA FOR ALTERMAN 
LONDON FOR TSOU 
PARIS FOR ZEYA 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO KDEM PGOV KU IR MEDIA REACTION
 
SUBJECT: KUWAIT MEDIA REACTION - ELECTIONS 
 
TODAY'S TOPICS: 
 
-- ELECTION SLOGANS 
-- A MESSAGE TO VOTERS 
-- YOUTH REVOLUTION 
-- A CHANGE OF MIND 
-- WOMEN AS A WEAPON TO FIGHT CORRUPTION 
-- IS THIS DEMOCRACY? (Full translation) 
 
Block Quotes 
------------ 
 
Saturday, June 24, 2006 
 
¶1. Secretary General of Kuwait's Journalists Association, Mr. Faisal 
Al-Qanai suggested a new election strategy, "Let's take it back to 
what it used to be."  In his daily column in pro-government Arabic 
daily Al-Seyassah that carried the same headline Mr. Qanai proposed, 
"The election campaign slogan of candidate Marzook Al-Ghanim 'Let us 
take it back to what it used to be' carries within it beautiful 
meanings, and at the same time reminds us of our disgraceful reality 
when we deserted our beautiful Kuwaiti values that used to bring 
people together.... Kuwait used to be a pioneer in politics, 
economy, socially, culturally, and in sports and art.  We used to be 
the model for neighboring countries, whose leaders looked upon us 
with envy and astonishment.  We need to recalculate and reorganize 
our priorities. The government must put in place a comprehensive 
development plan that carries the headline 'let us take it back to 
what it used to be.'" 
 
¶2. Kuwaiti writer Mr. Zubn Al-Bathal headlined his article in 
pro-government Arabic daily Al-Seyassah "a letter to voters." The 
letter of Mr. Al-Zubn advised women, "My sisters and fellow women 
voters: 'You represent a large number that out weighs men; that is 
why your choice must be right and unbiased.  You should not be 
swayed to vote based on tribal, clan, family, or sect loyalties. 
You should only vote for the qualified, and the best. You should 
only vote for who you think is going to be good for our country and 
people.'" 
 
¶3. Headline "We Want it One," an article by columnist Dr. Sami 
Nasser Khalifah in the independent Arabic daily Al-Rai Al-Aam 
opined, "The coalition grouping changed its election slogan from 'We 
Want it Five' to 'We Want it Coalition', which signifies the 
importance of collective work in bringing large number of same 
minded candidates to the parliament. We now ask, why not change it 
to 'We Want it One?'.... Kuwait now needs an election bylaw that 
guarantees equal representation to all, and gives a equal 
opportunity to members of every residential district of the country. 
 We need a law that would not lose its effectiveness when the 
population of Kuwait expands.  Thus, an election system that 
supports one district would not contradict with the core of our 
constitution that guarantees our genuine Kuwaiti values: fairness, 
equality, and equal representation." 
 
¶4. Under the headline "I will vote for Waleed," Editor-in-Chief of 
independent Arabic daily Al-Rai Al-Aam Mr. Jassem Boodai 
editorialized, "This election surprised everyone by its timing, 
length of period, the circumstances that surround it and even the 
reasons that lead to calling an election, and the political 
ammunition that has been used in it.  Voters are more lost and 
confused than the candidates.... If I put myself in the candidate's 
shoes, I would be confused and undecided as well. Everyone is 
talking the same talk, except for one man who was an exception to 
that rule. This man has put the interest of Kuwait before his own 
and took the right decision at the right time.  Mr. Waleed Al-Jari 
was a knight who dismounted a leading horse when he felt that real 
objectives have been lost.... Mr. Waleed Al-Jari, from now until 
Election Day and beyond, we will look for people like you to vote 
for; nevertheless, your withdrawal from the race had the greatest 
impact in all election campaign headquarters." 
 
¶5. Saud Al-Samaka, a liberal academic and columnist in the daily 
moderate Al-Qabas, wrote an article under the headline, "Youth of 
Kuwait Unite" where he encourages Kuwaiti men and women, stating 
"This political awakening movement must proceed regardless of the 
election results. If we as the political powers in this country want 
to lead Kuwait onto the right path, we must encourage and support 
this youth awakening and political awareness, which represents a 
turning point in our history. Today, I am repeating what I had said 
in previous columns; the ball is now in the young people's court. 
They are the ones who should work together and continue to do so for 
their future, and the future of their children, and for Kuwait. 
Youth of Kuwait unite and become a force of action and reform." 
 
KUWAIT 00002478  002 OF 003 
 
 
 
¶6. Political activist in women's issues Ms. Iqbal Al-Ahmed 
criticized in progressive Arabic daily Al-Qabas, "When some 
candidates were asked why they segregated women in their election 
campaigns, and sometimes screened their presentations to an audience 
of women on pre-recorded tapes, they replied: 'We are trying to save 
our sisters the trouble of having to come to our diwaniyas.  In 
addition, the majority of our sisters wear veils, which make it 
uncomfortable to sit in this hot weather and listen to speeches.' To 
those people I say, if this is your excuse, then you had better 
print what you wanted to say on pamphlets and distribute them to all 
women in Kuwait, so that they could read your election program in 
the comfort of their homes.  At his election campaign headquarters 
former MP Dr. Waleed Al-Tabtabaei clarified his previous position 
that opposed the appointment of Dr. Masouma Al-Mubarak to the 
council of ministers saying, 'Our decision was based on 
constitutional grounds, and not on religious convictions. At that 
time the lady minister's name was unlisted on election lists.' It is 
strange to hear Dr. Tabtabaei say that now, when back during the 
voting on the appointment he used to say, 'giving a woman 
ministerial position meant giving her general sovereignty, an action 
that is banned by Shariah and Islamic laws.'...  Today Islamists 
need the votes of women in their alleged fight against corruption; 
therefore we see that their positions have changed. The same woman, 
who yesterday was considered by them to be unfit mentally and 
physically to practice politics, today has become their weapon with 
which they will fight corruption!" 
 
Full Translation 
---------------- 
 
¶7. Under the banner "Is this a true democracy?" Editor-in-Chief of 
pro-government Arabic daily Al-Seyassah and English-language Arab 
Times Mr. Ahmed Al-Jarallah editorialized, "Ever since HH the Amir 
issued a decree to dissolve the National Assembly and even before 
dissolution of the Parliament was officially announced, the 
government has been on the receiving end of some vicious accusations 
and harsh criticism, which won't end until June 29, 2006, Election 
Day.  During their election campaigns, almost every candidate has 
accused the government of selling Kuwait through the Northern 
Oilfields project and jeopardizing the country's natural resources 
and the future of its citizens by allowing foreign companies to 
steal the nation's wealth leaving only some small pennies for the 
citizens. 
 
¶8. Some pessimistic candidates have accused the government of 
helping the rich become richer and closing the doors in the face of 
citizens with limited incomes.  Soon others may go around wearing 
T-shirts bearing the slogan 'Donate to poor Kuwaitis,' to paint a 
bleak future for citizens.  Almost all candidates have blamed the 
government for the deterioration of medical and educational services 
offered to the people of Kuwait. 
 
¶9. A citizen has criticized the government for the demise of his 
friend, who died while he was being taken to a medical center as the 
first polyclinic to which he was taken was closed. Even the current 
water shortage in the country is being exploited by some candidates 
to blame the government. A candidate described the water shortage as 
'an artificial crisis created to help the thieves at the Energy 
Ministry.' A former MP, an Islamist who is competing in the 
elections, said 'the government has created a shortage as a part of 
its preparations to sign a deal to get water from Iran.' 
 
¶10. We wonder what kind of government would allow its citizens to go 
thirsty and suffer from unhealthy conditions to import water from 
another country for a few million dinars.... If these dangerous 
accusations are true and supported with incontrovertible proof, then 
the concerned officials should be tried immediately to ensure they 
receive suitable punishment. 
 
¶11. Amidst all these accusations what is intriguing is the strange 
silence being maintained by the government. The official spokesman 
of the Information Ministry has not responded to any of these 
accusations except the one over the closure of satellite TV 
channels. Maybe he has chosen to counter this accusation as it 
specifically concerns the Information Ministry.  As a result 
citizens are confused and do not know whom to trust for their 
future. 
 
¶12. Citizens are in a dilemma, because we will be in a crisis if the 
candidates are liars.  On the other hand, the situation will be even 
worse if the candidates are not lying and what they say is true. 
This means citizens can't trust the government, not only the current 
one but also all the earlier governments and the future ones.  If 
 
KUWAIT 00002478  003 OF 003 
 
 
what the candidates are saying is true, all the past, present and 
future governments really should be held responsible for destroying 
the lives of citizens.  If the accusations of the candidates are 
true, the government will remain accused of stealing the nation's 
wealth day in and day out. 
 
¶13. Why does the government remain silent when its reputation is 
being tarnished?  Why is its official spokesman not explaining, 
defending, or clarifying the situation?  In a democratic country 
such as the United States, the official spokesman of the White House 
or the State Department could not ignore such an issue, even if it 
were published by a newspaper with a miniscule circulation or 
contained in a videotape sent by bin Laden or his deputy 
Al-Zawahari. The U.S. administration wouldn't dare allow any such 
criticism to pass without offering a proper explanation, because it 
is committed not only to its citizens, but also to the entire 
world. 
 
¶14. While the U.S. government believes in revealing facts to 
identify the truth, in Kuwait it appears there is a 'gentleman's 
agreement' between the government and candidates. This agreement 
allows election candidates to level all kinds of accusations against 
officials, while the government acts deaf or pretends the charges 
are directed at someone else. All citizens have realized the 
government and candidates have a hidden deal. As a result they don't 
care for these meaningless accusations. 
 
¶15. However, they don't mind listening to them as a pastime. We must 
reconsider and re-evaluate such dangerous political practices. We 
have to reexamine many simple and common practices that are 
dominating our political life and then ask ourselves: is this a true 
democracy?" 
 
********************************************* * 
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/?cable s 
 
Visit Kuwait's Classified Website: 
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/nea/kuwait/ 
********************************************* ** 
 
TUELLER