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Viewing cable 10AMMAN87, JORDAN: NEW CABINET PUTS A FRESH FACE ON THE WALL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10AMMAN87 2010-01-07 13:01 2010-12-28 21:09 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Amman
VZCZCXRO2535
RR RUEHBC RUEHDH RUEHKUK RUEHROV
DE RUEHAM #0087/01 0071311
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 071311Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6638
INFO RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 2001
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 000087

SIPDIS
NOFORN

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ELA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/07/2020
TAGS: PGOV PINS JO
SUBJECT: JORDAN: NEW CABINET PUTS A FRESH FACE ON THE WALL

REF: A. 09 AMMAN 2678
B. 09 AMMAN 1896
C. 09 AMMAN 1507

Classified By: Ambassador R. Stephen Beecroft
for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (S//NF) SUMMARY: The government of newly appointed
Prime Minister Samir Rifai has issued a series of circulars
-- policy notices for government offices -- aimed at
illustrating a break from the policies of the previous
government (ref a). One issued on January 4 mandates that
government offices display photographs of Crown Prince
Hussein (ref c) next to King Abdullah II, leaving some
wondering if they should remove traditionally displayed
photos of the beloved late King Hussein. Two anti-corruption
policies were also issued, a first step in implementing
reforms called for by the King in his designation letter of
December 9 (ref b).

2. (S//NF) New photos of the Crown Prince, though symbolic,
could potentially spark criticism among East Bank Jordanians
that power is subtly shifting towards Jordanians of
Palestinian origin. The anti-corruption moves are welcomed,
but many doubt they will be effective in reigning in an
entrenched problem viewed with increasing domestic
impatience. END SUMMARY.

A New Face on the Wall
----------------------

3. (S//NF) A government circular issued on January 4 by
Prime Minister Rifai's government directs all public offices
to prominently display photos of Crown Prince Hussein bin
Abdullah II alongside King Abdullah II. Traditionally,
photos of the King and his father, the late King Hussein bin
Talal have been displayed. The circular does not say if the
Crown Prince's photo should be added to the mix, or if as
some wonder, the late King Hussein's photo should be taken
down to make way for the Crown Prince.

4. (S//NF) Either way, the decision could prove to be a
controversial one. The late King was extremely popular and
remains much loved throughout Jordan nearly eleven years
after his death. He was particularly well respected among
tribal leaders outside Amman for his careful outreach,
attention to rural development, and ability to resolve tribal
disputes through personal intervention -- all areas where the
current King is perceived as weak or uninterested.

5. (S//NF) By contrast, East Bank Jordanians, who are
overrepresented in Jordan's bureaucracy, have been skeptical
over the appointment of Crown Prince Hussein for his youth
(he is fifteen) and his Palestinian lineage. The Crown
Prince's mother, Queen Rania, is Palestinian. His father,
King Abdullah II, is himself one-half British. This leaves
the Crown Prince viewed as only one-quarter Hashemite in some
circles.

First Step towards Anti-Corruption Reform
-----------------------------------------

6. (U) The new government also issued two anti-corruption
policies. A circular announced on January 4 instructs
government officials not to accept gifts valued over 50
Jordanian Dinar (approximately 70 USD). During the week of
December 27, the government circulated (but did not formally
announce) a new media policy that precludes public officials
from employing journalists or paying for positive coverage.
In addition, following a visit by Prime Minister Rifai on
January 2, Jordan's Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and
Audit Ombudsman Bureau announced a committee to streamline
corruption detection and investigation and to encourage
whistle-blowing.

7. (C) The policies are a clear effort by the new
government to distance itself from the previous one which was
undermined by corruption. However, many in Jordan say that
corruption has been rampant throughout successive
governments, doubt the new one will be any different, and
believe these policies are a paltry response.

8. (C) In fact, Jordanians have become so cynical on the
subject that they find acts of whistle-blowing laughable.
For example, Jordanian media reported on December 24 that a
civil servant in the Justice Ministry was offered a 200 Dinar
reward by the Minister for turning over a 50,000 Dinar bribe
offered by a private company seeking favors. The civil
servant -- and the Minister's overture -- were lampooned in

AMMAN 00000087 002 OF 002


on-line commentaries, including by the employee's co-workers,
saying he would have done better to keep the 50,000.

Beecroft