La reina Rania de Jordania

Cable sobre la influencia de Rania de Jordania

La embajada analiza la amistad y proximidad a Rania de algunas ministras como uno de los elementos determinantes para la elección

Date:2007-11-26 17:00:00
Source:Embassy Amman
Dunno:07AMMAN4559 07AMMAN4676
DE RUEHAM #4693/01 3301700
P 261700Z NOV 07

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 07 AMMAN 004693



E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/26/2017

REF: A. AMMAN 4559
B. AMMAN 4676

Classified By: Ambassador David Hale for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (U) In the wake of November 20 parliamentary elections,
Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit submitted his resignation to the
King November 22, paving the way for a new government. On
November 23, the King designated Nader Dahabi as the new
Prime Minister, and the new cabinet was sworn in on November
25. Bios of Dahabi and his cabinet follow.

Nader Dahabi
Prime Minister

2. (SBU/NF) An East Banker, Dahabi was born October 7 1946 in
Amman. Dahabi holds a BSc from the Greek Air Force Academy,
along with a Masters degrees in Public Administration from
Auburn University and a degree in Aeronautical Engineering
from Cranfield Institute of Technology in the United Kingdom.
A career air force officer, Dahabi became President and CEO
of government-owned Royal Jordanian Airlines upon his
retirement from the military, a post which he held from 1994
to 2001. He then served a short stint as Minister of
Transport from 2001 to 2002. After his ministerial tenure,
Dahabi took up the chairmanship of the Aqaba Special Economic
Zone (ASEZA) in 2004.

3. (C) The choice of Dahabi as Prime Minister represents the
palace's desire to fill the position with an East Banker
whose tribal and military background comforts the monarchy's
loyal base, but whose career demonstrates the ability to
effectively implement a reform agenda. It also represents
the hope for smooth intra-governmental relations. Dahabi's
brother Mohamad is the head of the powerful General
Intelligence Directorate (GID), and it is expected that the
relationship between the royal court, the GID, and the
government will be smoother under this government than
previous ones. Critics will likely claim that the familial
connection in these two critical posts is a fundamental
conflict of interest, but this argument neglects the new PM's
standing as a strong and successful public figure in his own

4. (C) During his tenure as ASEZA Commissioner, Dahabi worked
extensively with USAID on local development projects. He is
seen in the development community as an extremely effective
technocrat who knows how to get things done. He is
well-connected in the private sector, and in Aqaba succeeded
in attracting investment from many international firms. Some
have described Dahabi as essentially a "small Prime Minister"
in Aqaba, where he had extensive exposure to the
bread-and-butter economic issues that drove the parliamentary
campaigns and drive the king's reform agenda (Ref A). He
understands the relationship between poverty, unemployment,
and youth issues in particular. He has also worked on the
hot button issue of foreign laborers.

5. (C) Dahabi is known as an operator who concentrates on
top-down change rather than consultative reform from the
grass roots. He was criticized as disconnected from local
community organizations during his tenure in Aqaba, and
retained cool working relationships with NGOs until
appointing a competent liaison to handle that portion of his
portfolio. He is known as a blunt person who, rather than
hiding behind a public persona, sets clear goals and expects
partners and subordinates to follow through. He sets clear
guidelines for action when they are necessary.

6. (C) The new PM is expected to focus on domestic
development issues and fiscal reform, and not meddle in
foreign relations, as indicated in the King's designation
letter. He will likely face a challenge in dealing with the
new parliament. The new lower house comes out of a
competitive campaign season and is eager to show activity,
but the direction of that energy is far from certain; the
previous parliament proved effective at blocking or slowing
key pieces of economic reform legislation. Dahabi will have
to corral a multitude of independent (and often conflicting)
interests in order to effectively implement the extensive
reform agenda envisioned by the King. Given long-term
relationships with USAID, contractors, and the development
community, Dahabi sees the U.S.-Jordan partnership as
positive and productive. Since he understands the
international workings of aid and investment, he is likely to
seek detailed and feasible solutions to Jordan's needs

7. (U) Dahabi is married, with two sons and one daughter. He
speaks English and Greek.

AMMAN 00004693 002 OF 007

Salah Bashir
Foreign Minister

8. (SBU/NF) Born in 1966, Bashir is considered to be an East
Banker, though his mother is of Palestinian origin. Bashir's
father was Minister of Health when he died in the 1977
helicopter crash that also killed Queen Alia, King Hussein's
third wife. His mother is Haifa Bashir, a long time civil
society activist who is currently president of the White Beds
Society, a charity that assists Jordanians who are elderly
and poor. Bashir obtained his BA in Law from the University
of Jordan in 1987, an MA in Law from Harvard Law School, and
a PhD in Civil Law from McGill University in 1996. Bashir
began his career as a research assistant at McGill, and went
on to become an adjunct professor of Law at the University of
Jordan in 1996. In 1997, he also became a managing partner
at Abu Ghazaleh Legal Services, serving as a legal advisor on
international affairs. Bashir was appointed as a member of
the King's Economic Consultative Council in 1999. Bashir was
appointed as Minister of Trade and Industry in 2001. He held
that post (surviving a cabinet re-shuffle) until 2003, when
he became Minister of Justice, while at the same time holding
the title of Minister of State for Prime Ministry Affairs.
After another cabinet shuffle in 2005, he briefly held the
position of Minister of Government Performance. Since the
appointment of the Bakhit government in November 2005, Bashir
has been in private legal practice.

9. (SBU) His expertise in international law mostly extends to
trade and economic issues. He is considered an expert on WTO
law and international trade, having prepared a study of
investment-related licensing procedures in Jordan and
assisted in drafting recommendations for procedural reforms.

10. (C) As Justice Minister, Bashir was an active partner in
implementing a USAID judicial reform program, but suffered
from a strong backlash because of his refusal to make
judicial appointments and other personnel choices based on
tribal and political favoritism. In one famous episode, he
was assaulted by the father of a jilted office seeker and had
to restrain his own tribe from seeking revenge. He was also
accused during his time as Justice Minister of a conflict of
interest between his role on Jordan's WTO accession
negotiation team and his private sector job as a lawyer. At
the time, politically-motivated rumors circulated that Bashir
was ordering up policies that would benefit his firm. In
response to this, Bashir turned over his stake in the firm to
his wife, and recused himself from any negotiations that
would have furthered the conflict of interest claims.

11. (C) Bashir is trusted by the King and is a close
confidant of the new Chief of the Royal Court Bassem Adwallah
(former office director for the King). He has no foreign
policy experience per se, but is intelligent and observant.
He is also in step with the King's strategy and Jordan's
relationship with the United States. The appointment of a
new Foreign Minister ends what had become a dysfunctional
relationship between the royal court and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, in which the latter was frequently excluded
from policy discussions.

12. (U) See Ref B for a detailed treatment of the new Foreign

Thouqan Qudah
Minister of State for Prime Ministry Affairs

13. (SBU/NF) Born in 1945 in Ein Janna, Qudah is a former air
force officer. He rose to the rank of brigadier general, and
was later appointed director of the Air Force Command Bureau,
and administrative director of the Air Force. Upon his
retirement from the military, Qudah served as a financial and
administrative assistant in the Civil Aviation Authority.

Omar Shdeifat
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research
--------------------------------------------- -------

14. (SBU/NF) An East Banker, Shdeifat has a PhD in
linguistics from the University of Illinois, and was a
professor of English at Aal Al-Bayt University and Mu'ta
University. A former secretary general in the Ministry of
Education, Shdeifat has served on the board of the Fulbright
Commission since 2005. Before becoming a minister, he was
the president of Hashemiya University. He went on a
Voluntary Visitor program on higher education in the United
States in 1993, when he was an assistant to the president of
Aal Al-Bayt University.

AMMAN 00004693 003.3 OF 007

Abdul Rahim Okour
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs

15. (SBU/NF) Born in 1939, Okour is of Palestinian origin.
He graduated with a BA in Shari'a from the University of
Damascus in 1966, and worked as a secondary school teacher
and university professor at Yarmouk University. He served in
the Parliament for eight years as a representative from
Irbid, and was also a member of the Irbid consultative
council. Okour is a former member of parliament from the
Islamic Action Front, the political wing of Jordan's Muslim

Nasser Judeh
Minister of State for Media and Communication

16. (C/NF) Judeh is elevated to ministerial status in this
cabinet - his previous job was as official government
spokesman for the Bakhit cabinet. Judeh was born in Amman in
1960, and holds a BA in International Relations from American
University and an MA from Georgetown. He has previously
served at the Royal Court, first in King Hussein's Press
Office and later as private secretary to Prince Hassan. In
1992 he was posted to London to establish and head the Jordan
Information Bureau. Judeh was appointed director of Jordan
Television in 1994, and director of the Jordan Radio and
Television Corporation in 1998. He is a former Minister of
Information, and is married to Princess Sumaya, President of
the Royal Scientific Society and a daughter of Prince Hassan.
He is the son of Sami Judeh, a former Minister of State.
One of his uncles is former Prime Minister and current
Speaker of the Senate Zaid Al-Rifa'i. He had hoped to be
selected as Foreign Minister, for which he was shortlisted.

Eid Fayez
Minister of Interior

17. (SBU/NF) An East Banker, Fayez was born in 1945. Fayez
returns as Minister of Interior after presiding over a
successful parliamentary election season. Fayez obtained a
BA in economics and political science from Beirut Arab
University in 1970. He then worked as a businessman in the
U.S. until 1983. He was appointed director general of the
Jordanian-Iraqi Transport Company in 1983, director general
of the Ports Corporation in 1986, and secretary general of
the Ministry of Youth in 1990. He was made an advisor at the
Royal Court in 1993, and subsequently served as Minister of
Labor in 1999, and as Minister of Youth and State in 2001.
He was appointed Minister of Interior in 2005 in the cabinet
which was formed following the November 2005 Amman hotel

Sahl Majali
Minister of Public Works and Housing

18. (SBU/NF) Son of Parliament Speaker Abdulhadi Majali (who
was re-elected to Parliament on November 20), Sahl is the
longtime head of the family construction firm MID
Contracting, which has had extensive dealings with
construction projects in Iraq. Born in 1962, he is an East
Banker who received his BA in civil engineering from the
University of London and a Masters in construction from
George Washington University. Majali was the head of the
Jordan Contractors Association from 2000 to 2002 and from
2006 until his appointment as minister.

Tayseer Nueimi
Minister of Education

19. (C) Nueimi, an East Banker, is the former Secretary
General in the Ministry. During the previous government,
Nueimi ran the day to day operations of K-12 affairs, as the
minister himself preferred to focus on higher education. He
flourished in this role, earning a reputation as a
well-versed and well-respected bureaucrat. Nueimi is highly
supportive of USAID projects, and is described as a key
interlocutor for the development community. He is seen as a
tribal representative for the most part, but is also highly
intelligent and known for his good memory in particular.
Nueimi has never held such a public role as this and his new
visibility may be a test. He participated in an
International Visitor Leadership Program on the U.S.
education system in 2004. Nueimi has a PhD in educational
psychology from Petersburg University, and was previously a
professor of psychology in Mu'ta University in Karak. He was

AMMAN 00004693 004 OF 007

also vice president of the National Center for the
Development of Human Resources.

Alaa Batayneh
Minister of Transportation

20. (SBU/NF) Batayneh, an East Banker, is a former director
of Jordan's customs service. This is his first ministerial
appointment. He is married to a daughter of Prince Hassan.
Note: Nasser Judeh, Minister of State for Media and
Communication, is married to Prince Hassan's other daughter.
End Note. Born in 1969 in Amman, Batayneh has a BS in
electrical engineering and an MS in management information
systems from George Washington University. In addition to
his job as the head of the customs service, Batayneh was the
Secretary General of the Ministry of Transport, and has also

served as the Chairman of the Arab Bridge Maritime Company.

21. (C) Contacts were surprised when Batayneh stepped down
suddenly several months ago. He was well-liked by his staff,
and seen as a competent bureaucrat. Top officials and royal
family members have been tight-lipped about what happened,
but Batayneh in any event clearly hasn't suffered.

Ayman Odeh
Minister of Justice

22. (C) Odeh was born in 1961, and has a BA in law from the
University of Jordan (1982), along with a Masters from the
University of Miami (1984). He was a member of Jordan's
first Anti-Corruption Commission, and served on the "We Are
All Jordan" committee. Odeh, of Palestinian origin, is known
as a close confidant of the previous minister, Sharif
Al-Zubi. They are connected through Zubi's law firm, and
Odeh was known to have regular input into Zubi's
decision-making. It was known for some time that Zubi was
uninterested in continuing as Minister of Justice, and Odeh
has likely been groomed for this position for some time.

Maher Madadha
Minister of Public Sector Development

23. (C) An East Banker and former Secretary General at the
Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, Madadha
is taking on his first ministerial role. Seen by contacts as
a less-than impressive figure, Madadha is likely to be
eclipsed in the policy arena by the Prime Minister, and
members of the royal court. Madadha holds a BA in economics
and administration and an MA in finance. He worked in the
Ministry of Planning as the chief of its external debts
division, as well as Assistant Secretary General for
administrative and financial affairs.

Khalid Irani
Minister of Environment

24. (SBU/NF) Irani returns to his job from the Bakhit
cabinet. Born in 1964, Irani earned a BSc and MSc from the
University of Jordan. Formerly a research assistant at the
University of Jordan and manager of the Protected Areas
Department at the Royal Society for the Conservation of
Nature (RSCN), Irani served as director general of the RSCN
until his appointment as Minister during Badran's cabinet. He
has worked closely with USAID on numerous projects, and has
occasionally gone on hikes with embassy officers and their
families. He is married and has two children. Irani traveled
to the U.S. on an IV program in 1993. He is fluent in English.

25. (C) Irani is seen by USAID officers who have worked with
him as an "idea guy" more than an administrator. That said,
the ministry, which was established following the signing of
the U.S. - Jordan FTA, has become a viable institution under
his leadership. He is very bright and close to the Palace,
due to his extensive work with the RSCN. He went on an
International Visitor Leadership Program on national parks
management in 1991.

Bassem Salem
Minister of Labor

26. (SBU/NF) A Christian East Banker, Salem returns as
Minister of Labor. Born in 1956 in al-Husn in Irbid
Governorate, and son of the late former Senator and Central
Bank Governor Khalid Salem, Bassem Salem earned a bachelor's
degree in chemical engineering from the University of London
in 1979. Upon his return to Jordan in the early 1980s, he

AMMAN 00004693 005 OF 007

started a manufacturing plant to produce plastics and
packaging materials. He expanded his business into several
manufacturing facilities, including confectioneries, as well
as founding a trading company. He recently acquired one of
the smaller mining operations that was privatized by the
government. In the mid 1990s he co-founded the Jordan Export
and Finance Bank, and still serves on its board. He also
served as board member of the Central Bank of Jordan. Salem
was Labor Minister briefly in 2005. Married with one son,
Salem is fluent in English.

27. (C) Salem has recently concentrated his legal work on GOJ
government contracts, especially tenders on big
infrastructure projects, including USAID-funded projects. He
has a cosmopolitan outlook, displays an obvious love for the
law, and can converse easily on diverse subjects such as
regional Arab artists. He travels to England regularly.
When he was first appointed Minister, he was very optimistic
that his "fresh" approach to government would help root out
inefficiencies. After several months, that enthusiasm waned,
but he sought to retain this portfolio to carry through labor
sector reforms.

Amer Hadidi
Minister of Industry and Trade

28. (C) An East Banker and strong technocrat, this is
Hadidi's first term as a minister. Born in 1968, Hadidi has
a BSc in mechanical engineering from the University of
Bridgeport in Connecticut. He then worked as a project
engineer at the Industrial Development Bank, and served as
Secretary General of the Ministry of Transport. He is a

long-time participant in USAID projects through the
Jordanian-U.S. Business Partnership. In the past, he was
heavily involved with negotiating Jordan's Free Trade
Agreements. USAID sees him as a marked improvement in terms
of competency and overall knowledge when compared with his
predecessor, although the task of running the ministry will
be a challenge.

Abdul Fattah Salah
Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs

29. (SBU/NF) Salah returns as Minister of Awqaf and Islamic
Affairs. An East Banker born in Maan in 1946, Salah holds a
BA in Islamic Sharia from Damascus University, and has held
several official posts prior to becoming Minister of Awqaf,
including as secretary general of the Ministry. He also
served as vice president of the Awqaf and Islamic Affairs
Council, and deputy chairman of the board of trustees of the
Da'wa and Usul College (a state-run Islamic community
college). Salah served on the committee concerned with the
renovation of the Aqsa Mosque and other Islamic sites in

Nancy Bakir
Minister of Culture

30. (SBU/NF) A Circassian East Banker, Bakir was the former
Assistant Arab League Secretary General for Social Affairs.
She was born in Amman in 1952. A Humphrey Fellow
(1983-1984), Bakir holds an MS in Managerial and Educational
Development from Boston University and also studied in the
former Soviet Union. She served as the head of the human
rights department at the Prime Ministry before joining the
Arab League, and has also served as secretary general of the
Ministry of Administrative Development and in several jobs in
the higher council for science and technology. She was
appointed an advisor to the Prime Ministry in 1999.

Hala Latouf
Minister of Social Development

31. (C) Of Palestinian origin, Latouf has an extensive resume
that includes stints as head of Queen Rania's office,
Secretary General of the Ministry of Planning, staffer at

UNDP, and the head of several NGOs. She holds a BSc in
economics and applied statistics from the University of
Jordan, and an MSc in accounting and finance from the London
School of Economics. Latouf is known as a highly competent,
well-connected operator, and may signal greater space for
civil society to operate in Jordan, as this ministry
typically oversees NGO operations. She is a marked contrast
to the conservative ministers who have previously occupied
this position.

Khaldoun Qteishat

AMMAN 00004693 006 OF 007

Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources

32. (SBU/NF) Born in 1959, Qteishat is an East Banker serving
in his first ministerial post. He has a BA in electrical
engineering from Ein Shams University in Cairo. Before
becoming a minister, Qteishat served as Secretary General for
the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and as director
of its electricity department. He has also served as an
instructor at Prince Feisal College.

Kamal Nasser
Minister of Political Development and Legal Affairs
--------------------------------------------- ------

33. (C) Of Palestinian origin, Nasser was born in the village
of Ramin (near Nablus) in 1944. His BA is in law from
Damascus University (1966), and his MA and PhD in maritime
law are from Cairo University (1980). Nasser served as
president of the Jordanian Bar Association for two
consecutive terms in the 1990s, and was appointed Minister of
Administrative Development in 1996. He has ties to the
Palestinian Fatah movement, and was reported to be its
candidate for the Bar Association head. He is active on
human rights issues.

Muzahim Muhaisin
Minister of Agriculture

34. (SBU/NF) An East Banker, Muhaisin was born in Amman in
1948. He has a BSc in civil engineering from Ein Shams
University in Cairo (1973). He was an assistant to the head
of the Aqaba Regulatory Commission and later became the head
of the commission's Land Department. He was Secretary
General of the Aqaba Regional Authority from 1992 to 1997,
and then became the Secretary General of the Ministry of Post
and Telecommunications, which he left in 1999. After serving
two years as the Director General of the Vocational Training
Corporation, he was appointed as Minister of Labor in 2001.
After surviving several cabinet shuffles during this period,
Muhaisin was appointed as Minister of Agriculture in 2005.

Bassem Roussan
Minister of Information and Communication Technology
--------------------------------------------- -------

35. (SBU/NF) An East Banker, Roussan was born in Amman in
1947. His BA is from Ein Shams University and MA is from
Southern Methodist University, both in electrical
engineering. Roussan served in the Jordanian air force
communications department before joining FastLink (now Zain),
a communications company and Jordan's first and leading
provider of mobile phone services, in 1997. He served there
as head of the engineering department and later as a vice
president. Roussan was appointed as Minister of
Telecommunications and Information Technology in 2006.

Maha Khatib
Minister of Tourism and Antiquities

36. (C) An East Banker and former UNDP staffer and head of
the Jordan River Foundation (a royally sponsored NGO), Khatib
was considered for several previous cabinet positions. Note:
She was originally offered a new ministry to direct project
implementation, but was shifted to Tourism and Antiquities
after Suhair Al-Ali turned down the Tourism Portfolio and
retained Planning (which was to have been combined with
Finance). End note. She is well connected in government
circles, and is close to Queen Rania. Khatib has a BA in
English literature from the University of Jordan and an MA in
public administration from the American University of Beirut.
After a brief professorial stint, Khatib joined the Ministry
of Planning as the chief of its privatization unit.

Hamad Kasasbeh
Minister of Finance

37. (SBU/NF) Kasasbeh returns as Minister of Finance only, a
post he assumed in September following the resignation of the
previous minister over the GOJ's failure to lift fuel
subsidies. Kasasbeh is an East Banker born in Karak in 1956.
He earned a BA (1980) in Economics and a Masters in
Statistics (1983) from the University of Jordan. He has a PhD
in Economics from Colombia University (1990). Kasasbeh
worked as an economic researcher and advisor at the Central
Bank from 1980-1996, then was appointed General Manager of
the Municipal Development Bank and served there until 1999.
He authored fourteen publications in the field of finance and

AMMAN 00004693 007 OF 007

taught at the University of Jordan. He was Secretary General
of the Auditing Bureau from 1999 until 2003, when he became
Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance. Kasasbeh, an

experienced technocrat, favors elimination of Jordan's
subsidy programs, and will be tasked with implementing tough
economic reform measures amidst growing inflation a nd rising
prices for basic commodities.

Suhair Al-Ali
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation
--------------------------------------------- -----

38. (C) Of Palestinian origin and the only woman in the
previous Bakhit cabinet, Al-Ali holds a master's degree in
development economics from Georgetown University. She served
as general manager of the Saudi American Bank Representative
Office from 1993 until 1996, when she became general manager
and country officer of Citigroup in Jordan. She served as
Minister of Planning and International Cooperation in the
last cabinet; she was to move to the Ministry of Tourism and
Antiquities but resisted and secured her previous job.
Al-Ali is married to Royal Jordanian Airlines senior
executive Hussein Dabbas; the couple has two children. She
is fluent in English.

Salah Mawajdeh
Minister of Health

39. (SBU/NF) Mawajdeh returns as Minister of Health from the
previous cabinet, which he joined in September. Mawajdeh is
an East Banker born in Amman in 1957. He studied medicine at
the University of Jordan and later received his masters and
doctorate degrees in Health Policy and Management from Johns
Hopkins University. Mawajdeh has worked in several roles in
the health sector since 1983. He published more than 20
scientific and books and papers and participated in numerous
seminars worldwide. In 1994, he was awarded the WHO Gender
and Tropical Diseases Award for his paper "The Assessment of
the Quality of Parental Care in Irbid, North Jordan: Women's
Perspective." Mawajdeh served as Director of the Jordan Food
and Drug Administration and as Regional Coordinator of the
Reproductive Health Working Group in the Population Council
in Cairo.

Raed Abu Saud
Minister of Water and Irrigation

40. (C/NF) A Palestinian-origin Jordanian born in Amman in
1957, Abu Saud has a BA in civil engineering from the
University of Miami. He was the head of the administration
and water unit at the Ministry of Water from 2000 to 2003,
and directly supervised the rehabilitation of Amman's water
networks. He previously served as Minister of Public Works
and Minister of Housing. He was a crony of ex-GID Director
Saad Khayr, now in disgrace.

Shehadeh Abu Hdeib
Minister of Municipal Affairs

41. (SBU/NF) Abu Hdeib has a BS in civil engineering from the
University of Texas. He has worked in various positions in
the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Amman Municipality.
From 2000 to 2004, he was the director general of the Petra
Region Authority. Since 2004, Abu Hdeib has served as the
director general of the Housing and Urban Development
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