Thursday, January 20, 2011

US embassy cables: Ousted Cambodian drugs tsar was trusted US source

Cable dated:2006-05-23T11:49:00

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/23/2016

1. (U) SUMMARY: May 19 and 20 arrests of two Taiwanese nationals attempting to smuggle a total of nearly 7 kg of heroin to Taiwan highlight increased drug arrests and seizures in Cambodia. The quantity of heroin seized during the weekend airport busts is large by Cambodian standards--authorities seized just 11 kg of heroin in 2005. Seizures of amphetamine-type stimulants are more than double last year's levels. Police and international observers credit USG and other foreign training with providing skills, motivation, and international pressure for the increase, but say that narcotics trafficking may also be on the rise. END SUMMARY.

Heroin Seizures at Phnom Penh International Airport

--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (U) Police and customs officials seized nearly 7 kg of heroin and arrested three Taiwanese nationals in two separate incidents at Phnom Penh International Airport on May 19 and 20. These two cases represent an impressive intake for one weekend given that in 2005 Cambodian authorities seized just over 11 kg of heroin.

3. (SBU) Chen Hsin Hung, 57, was arrested on May 19 carrying 4.75 kg of heroin with a local street value of USD 95,000 to 133,000. Customs officials became suspicious when they noticed that Hung was carrying several bags of imported Taiwanese foil-wrapped candies back to Taiwan in his hand luggage. The candies turned out to be foil-wrapped packages of heroin. Hung, who was due to travel to Taiwan via Kuala Lumpur on Malaysian Airlines flight 755, had arrived in Phnom Penh the previous day. During his police interrogation, Hung said that he had been picked up at the airport and returned to the airport by a couple, whom the police identified as a Cambodian woman and a mainland Chinese or Taiwanese man. Police are attempting to locate the couple.

4. (SBU) A second Taiwanese man, who was standing near Chen Hsin Hung during the security process, appeared to be quite interested in the proceedings and upset by Hung's arrest, and had tickets for the same flight as Hung, was also arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking. Moek Dara noted that the investigation had revealed no evidence to indicate that the second individual was also involved in drug smuggling, but that it was the prosecutor's decision how to proceed in the case.

5. (SBU) On May 20, a 90-year-old Taiwanese national named Huang Sang Hou was arrested at Phnom Penh International Airport with 1.9 kg of heroin, worth USD 38,000 to USD 53,000. Hou reportedly came to Cambodia as a tourist intending to gamble. Over the course of a week, he lost the USD 4,000 he brought with him, borrowed an additional USD 2,000 from a Taiwanese national in Phnom Penh, and then lost that money as well. The Taiwanese lender then persuaded Hou to carry the heroin back to Taiwan. Airport customs officials were tipped off by the sloppy manner in which the heroin was packed on Hou's body, making him appear bloated. Hou cooperated with the police in identifying the Taiwanese lender, and Cambodian government officials have already passed his name, address, and passport information to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Hou had been planning to fly Dragon Airlines flight 207 to Hong Kong, and then to continue on to Taiwan.

Amphetamine Seizures, Prices on the Rise


6. (SBU) According to statistics from the Ministry of Interior's Anti-Drug Police and the National Authority for Combating Drugs (NACD), seizures of amphetamine-type stimulant (ATS) tablets more than doubled when comparing the first four months of 2006 with the first four months of 2005. From January to April 2006, more than 220,000 ATS tablets were seized, whereas from January to April 2005, approximately 87,000 ATS tablets were seized. The number of offenders arrested also rose from 154 from January to April 2005 to 204 during January to April 2006.

7. (U) Both Brigadier General Moek Dara, Director of the Anti-Drugs Department, and World Health Organization XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that prices for ATS tablets have risen in the past few years, with particularly dramatic increases in the past 12 months. One year ago, a single ATS tablet sold for approximately one dollar in Phnom Penh, but now costs two to three dollars. Moek Dara noted that prices rise as the ATS tablets make their way along the drug route, from fifty cents per tablet in Laos, where the

PHNOM PENH 00000983 002 OF 003

majority are produced, to USD 3 in Cambodia, and then even higher prices in two destination countries: USD 4 in Vietnam and USD 7.50 in Thailand. XXXXXXXXXXXX cited anecdotal evidence from NGOs that some ATS users are switching to injecting heroin, currently available for USD 1.50 to 2 in Phnom Penh, as a cheaper alternative to rising ATS prices.

Lower Ecstasy Seizures Likely Point to Disrupted Network --------------------------------------------- -----------

8. (U) In contrast to the dramatic rise in ATS seizures, seizures of ecstasy tablets are down sharply, from 1,900 in January to April 2005 to less than 800 in January to April 2006. Moek Dara and XXXXXXXXXXXX believe that lower levels of ecstasy seizures are a sign that supply has been disrupted following a cooperative DEA/Anti-Drug Police controlled delivery operation against the Peter Brown drug ring in 2004 and continued Anti-Drug Police action against the ring in 2005.

USG Training Provides Needed Skills, International Pressure

--------------------------------------------- --------------

9. (SBU) Moek Dara gave much of the credit for the dramatic increase in heroin and ATS seizures and drug arrests to counternarcotics training funded by the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and conducted by the DEA. Before the training sessions, which were conducted in January and April 2006, police officers along Cambodia's porous northern border were not very active and would not even conduct foot patrols in the forest, according to Moek Dara. Now, however, the officers have more skills and are more motivated to patrol actively, he said, and have seized drugs and a lot of drug production equipment as well. Customs, immigration, and police officials at the airports are also better trained and more active, and Moek Dara noted that all of the officials involved in the weekend's airport arrests had completed DEA training.

10. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX gave partial credit for increased anti-drug activity to counternarcotics training by the US and other foreign donors. Some high-ranking Cambodian police and military officials are rumored to be complicit in narcotics trafficking, he noted. He speculated that the training and pressure on the Cambodian government to clamp down on drug activity has finally made an impression on higher ranking officials, and lower-level officers are "being allowed" to make more seizures. At the same time, such a dramatic increase is probably also an indication of efforts to traffic increased amounts of ATS through Cambodia, he opined.

Trainees Enthusiastic about INL/DEA Courses


11. (U) Provincial Anti-Drug Police officers who attended the January Basic Counternarcotics course reported uniformly enthusiastic assessments to an embassy follow-up survey. Participating police captains reported an increased awareness of drug smuggling tactics, best practices in seizing and preparing evidence, and how to identify drugs using field test kits. Captain Preap Sovann of the Svay Rieng Anti-Drug Police noted that the training also promoted inter-agency and inter-province cooperation as well. All captains reported training their staffs in the key topics covered by the DEA training, and captains in Koh Kong and Pursat provinces reported conducting anti-drug outreach to primary and secondary school students as well. Trainees suggested that future courses provide written materials in Khmer as well as English, include information on money laundering, have more laboratory equipment available for in-class practice in drug identification, and include more time in simulations.

Police Officer Arrested on Drug Charges


11. (C) Nov Sophal, a municipal police officer in the southern city of Kep, was arrested on April 15 and charged with trafficking 1 kg of heroin. Moek Dara was not expansive when asked about the case, noting simply that it is not uncommon for low-ranking police and military officials to be arrested for drug trafficking. In contrast, XXXXXXXXXXXX noted that drug investigations of police or military officials are very rare, and speculated that the individual involved may even have run afoul of rumored higher-level police involvement in narcotics.

12. (SBU) COMMENT: While increased smuggling activity may

PHNOM PENH 00000983 003 OF 003

account for some of the increased seizures and arrests, it is clear that the Cambodian government is turning up the heat on the country's drug smugglers. Training from the USG and other countries is playing a critical role in supporting this effort--both through the skills and enthusiasm imparted to the participants, and also through the implicit expectations of improved performance on the part of the police and other officials.


Thursday, December 16, 2010


DE RUEHGP #1932/01 2920841
P 190841Z OCT 07




E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/17/2017

Classified By: Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold. Reasons 1.4(b)(d)

¶1. (C) Summary: ASEAN should not have admitted Burma,
Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam into the organization in the
1990's, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew told visiting EAP DAS
Christensen and the Ambassador October 16. Expressing his
scorn for Burma's leaders, MM Lee called them "dense" and
"stupid." After discussing China's influence over Burma, he
suggested that Indonesian President Yudhoyono, as a former
general, could potentially be an interlocutor with the
regime. Turning to cross-Strait relations, MM Lee
characterized President Chen Shui-bian as a "gambler" who was
ready to "go for broke" on independence. He thought that
Japan might be willing to speak out publicly to constrain
Taiwan now that Yasuo Fukuda was prime minister. China's
strategy for Southeast Asia was simple -- "come grow with me"
because China's rise is inevitable. MM Lee urged the United
States to pursue more Free Trade Agreements to give the
region options besides China. End Summary.

ASEAN's Problematic Newer Members

¶2. (C) Regional stability will be enhanced the more ASEAN is
able to "get its act together," Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew
told visiting EAP DAS Christensen and the Ambassador during
an October 16 meeting. However, ASEAN should not have
admitted Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam as members in the
1990's, Lee argued. The older members of ASEAN shared common
values and an antipathy to Communism. Those values had been
"muddied" by the new members, and their economic and social
problems made it doubtful they would ever behave like the
older ASEAN members.

¶3. (C) MM Lee was most optimistic about Vietnam. He
characterized the Vietnamese as "bright, fast learners" who
will contribute to ASEAN's development. Vietnam also does
not want to see China's influence in Southeast Asia become
too great. Cambodia has not recovered yet from its difficult
history and the political system is too personalized around
Prime Minister Hun Sen. MM Lee dismissed Laos as an outpost
for China, saying Laos reports back to China on theQproceedings from all ASEAN

Burma's Generals: "Dense" and "Stupid"

¶4. (C) Turning to Burma, MM Lee expressed his scorn for the
regime's leadership. He said he had given up on them a
decade ago, called them "dense" and "stupid" and said they
had "mismanaged" the country's great natural resources. He
asserted that China had the greatest influence over the
regime and had heavily penetrated the Burmese economy. China
was worried that the country could "blow up" which would
endanger its significant investments, pipelines, and the
approximately two million Chinese estimated to be working in
the country. India was worried about China's influence in
Burma and was engaged with the regime in an attempt to
minimize China's influence. India lacked China's finer grasp
of how Burma worked, however.

Resolving the Crisis in Burma

¶5. (C) MM Lee thought one possible solution to the crisis in
Burma would be for a group of younger military officers who
were less "obtuse" to step forward and recognize that the
current situation was untenable. They could share power with
the democracy activists, although probably not with Aung San
Suu Kyi, who was anathema to the military. It would be a
long process. He said that Burma's ambassador in Singapore
had told MFA that Burma could "survive any sanctions" due to
its natural resources. Lee said dealing with the regime was
like "talking to dead people."

SBY as Envoy?

¶6. (C) Asked about the possibility of ASEAN naming a Burma
envoy, MM Lee said an envoy could not be from Singapore,
because Singapore is seen as too close to the United States.
He suggested that Indonesian President Yudhoyono could
potentially be an interlocutor. As a former general, SBY

SINGAPORE 00001932 002 OF 003

might be able to meet with Senior General Than Shwe and get
him to listen. Furthermore, SBY is "keen to play the role of
peacemaker," but the challenge would be getting someone who
is not too close to the United States to ask him to do it.
MM Lee said that Vietnam was a possibility.

Chen Shui-bian: The Gambler

¶7. (C) MM Lee told DAS Christensen his September 11 speech to
the U.S.-Taiwan Business Council set the right "balance" and
made it clear to both sides where the United States stands.
He criticized President Chen Shui-bian for being a "gambler."
Chen had discredited himself with his corruption scandals
and the only card he had left was promoting Taiwan
independence; with nothing left to lose, Chen was ready to
"go for broke." MM Lee asserted that Chen feared a
post-election criminal investigation regardless of whether
the KMT or DPP won and had to "consolidate his position."
Chen wanted to secure his legacy and avoid becoming a mere
"footnote" in Taiwan history.

¶8. (C) Lee said he had told Frank Hsieh and Su Tseng-chang in
separate meetings earlier this year that Taiwan would gain
nothing from pursuing independence and would pay a great cost
if it did. They responded that if Taiwan did nothing, it
would be reunified with the mainland; they did not want to be
a part of the PRC under any circumstances. Lee said he
understood their negative history with the KMT but found
their "antipathy, hatred, and revulsion" toward China to be

A Role for Japan

¶9. (C) Japan should speak out to restrain Taiwan from making
provocative moves towards independence, MM Lee said. He
asked what Japan had agreed to do in response to the proposed
referendum on joining the UN under the name Taiwan. DAS
Christensen noted that Japan has expressed its opposition
privately with President Chen, but did not agree to make any
public statements opposing the referendum. MM Lee suggested
that Japan might be willing to make a public statement now
with Yasuo Fukuda serving as prime minister. Fukuda has
close ties to the KMT and his father even risked China's ire
to attend former President Chiang Ching-kuo's funeral in
1988, according to Lee.

Dealing with a Rising China

¶10. (C) The more fundamental issue was how to deal with a
rising China, MM Lee observed. The intellectual resources of
the United States were being "sucked away" by the problems in
the Middle East, making it difficult for the United States to
focus on China. Over the next several decades, China wants
to concentrate on its internal economic development and to
avoid a conflict over Taiwan, Lee averred. However, if
Taiwan declared independence, China would have no choice but
to respond with force because its leaders have left
themselves no "loopholes." China hopes that the Taiwan issue
will be resolved on its own over the next fifty years when
Taiwan's economy becomes "totally embedded" into China. He
pointed to the case of Hong Kong, where the economy has been
booming in recent years due to its greater access to China's
market and the influx of tourists from the PRC.

ASEAN and China

¶11. (C) China's strategy for Southeast Asia was fairly
simple, MM Lee claimed. China tells the region, "come grow
with me." At the same time, China's leaders want to convey
the impression that China's rise is inevitable and that
countries will need to decide if they want to be China's
friend or foe when it "arrives." China is also willing to
calibrate its engagement to get what it wants or express its
displeasure. In the case of Singapore, China took "great
umbrage" over then-Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's
July 2004 visit to Taiwan. China froze bilateral talks, and
the proposed bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has not
progressed. However, China did not "squeeze" any of
Singapore's investors and China remains the largest

SINGAPORE 00001932 003 OF 003

destination for Singapore's FDI. MM Lee urged the United
States to pursue more FTAs with ASEAN, or at least key
members of ASEAN, which would give the region more options.
He said Malaysia's unwillingness to bend on its "bumiputera"
policy had been an impediment to a U.S.-Malaysia FTA.

¶12. (U) DAS Christensen has cleared this message.

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website: ex.cfm

Thursday, December 9, 2010



DE RUEHRB #0727/01 2171613
P 041613Z AUG 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L RABAT 000727



E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/24/2028

Classified By: Classified by Ambassador Thomas T. Riley for reasons 1.4
(a) and (b).

¶1. (C) Summary: The Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) are
modernizing but remain weighed down by long-standing
problems. King Mohammed VI, who in 1999 inherited a military
in need of professionalization, has implemented some needed
reforms, but much remains to be done. Civilian control, if
ascribed to the person of the King, is complete, but there is
no real Defense Ministry. Outside the FAR, there is only a
small administration. The military remains plagued by
corruption, an inefficient bureaucracy, low levels of
education in the ranks, periodic threats of radicalization of
some of its soldiers, political marginalization, and the
deployment of most of its forces in the Western Sahara.
There have been some indications of pending changes in the
leadership. In general, the U.S. and Morocco share a robust
military relationship with prospects for even closer ties in
the future. The health of the relationship is evident by
increased U.S.-Moroccan military training exercises and
Morocco's purchase of sophisticated weapons from the U.S. to
include 24 F-16s this year. We anticipate that the
U.S.-Moroccan military relationship will continue to flourish
but Morocco's ability to absorb its new high-end military
purchases and restrictions on high quality Moroccan
information sharing with our attaches represent two
challenges ahead. This mission-coordinated report draws
heavily on valuable reporting and analysis from the embassy's
military components, the Defense Attache Office and the
Office of Security Cooperation. End Summary.

All the King's Men

¶2. (C) As Commander-in-Chief of the Moroccan Royal Armed
Forces and Minister of Defense, King Mohammed VI maintains a
highly centralized role over the military. No troop
movements, exercises, or even travel of officers domestically
or abroad happens without the King,s approval. As a result
of the 1971 and 1972 coup attempts by the Moroccan Army and
Air Force respectively, the Palace increased control over the
military, marginalized it from policy making, and restricted
its interaction with foreign military interlocutors and the
press. The Alaouite dynasty depends upon, among other
things, a strong military, the leadership of which, however,
must remain sufficiently docile so as not to arouse
suspicions of disloyalty. The only civilian structure
responsible for the FAR is not a Defense Ministry but rather
an entity under the Prime Minister responsible for the
Administration of the National Defense. It is headed by
Minister-delegate Abderrahmane Sbai, whose role is
essentially restricted to that of comptroller. As far as we
can tell, political-military policy on issues such as
peacekeeping appears centered in the Foreign Ministry. All
other major defense matters are decided in the Palace.

¶3. (C) Over the past decade, Morocco has transitioned from a
conscript to an all-volunteer military force of approximately
218,000 soldiers. Of the three services, the Army is
dominant with approximately 175,000 personnel. There are
approximately 13,000 personnel in the Air Force and 7,800 in
the Navy. Though nominally subordinate within the military
structure but answering directly to the King, the
Gendarmerie, which consists of approximately 22,000
personnel, conducts paramilitary, royal guard, and internal
and border policing missions. Though a few legacy conscripts
remain in the military, professional reforms have made
voluntary military service an attractive career option for
Moroccans with opportunities for a steady income and some
upward mobility. The average military salary for enlisted
soldiers is approximately 2,000 dirhams (USD 270) per month.
An officer's starting salary is approximately 6,000 dirhams
(USD 850) per month. With benefits, such as free housing,
these are reasonably competitive in the Moroccan context.

¶4. (C) The top military commanders include Military
Inspector General and Army Commander, Lieutenant General (Lt
Gen) Abdelaziz Benanni; Operations Chief Lt Gen Boughaid
Arroub; and Gendarmerie Commander Lt Gen Housni Benslimane.
Benanni, who has become mired in suspicion of corruption,
will reportedly be retired soon. Arroub, who came out of
recent retirement, is tipped by some to succeed Benanni.
Arroub, historically pro-French, appears to have become
increasingly pro-U.S. in the last 5 years. Another rising
star in the FAR is General Mohamed Larbi Tamdi, who is
responsible for army logistics and force sustainment. There
is some military staff in the Palace, likely influent, about
which little is known.

¶5. (C) King Hassan II and his son, King Mohammed VI, have
maintained the Gendarmerie as a force relatively independent
from the FAR since 1972, in part as a check against a
military coup. While it most visibly serves as a State
Police/Highway Patrol, it has a wide range of units. Its
commander, Lt Gen Benslimane, likely reports in some way
directly to the King. He also leads the Moroccan National
Soccer League, making him a popular figure inside and out of
military circles. While there is no direct proof of
Benslimane being involved in corrupt activity, low ranking
Gendarmerie assigned to highway patrols are expected to pay
approximately 4,000 dirhams (USD 540) to their immediate
supervisors with extralegal earnings from motorists above
which they can keep for themselves, according to one credible

--------------------------------------------- --
Military Operations Dominated by Western Sahara
--------------------------------------------- --

¶6. (C) The FAR is composed of over 200,000 soldiers and
outclasses most militaries in Africa but has significant room
for improvement. Along with concerns regarding aging
equipment and an overtaxed force, the FAR is plagued by
institutional corruption, leadership that will not step
aside, and low morale among mid-level officers. The FAR is
preoccupied with operations in the Western Sahara region with
between 50 and 70 percent of its total strength deployed
there at any one time. The force in Western Sahara -- a
landmass roughly two thirds the size of California -- is
considered to be stretched thin with a reported estimated
operational readiness rate of just 40 percent. Morocco does
not consider the POLISARIO -- the ethnically Sahrawi
resistance based in Tindouf, Algeria, seeking to make the
Western Sahara an independent state -- to be a conventional
military threat. However, the FAR remains vigilant in
guarding against a renewed POLISARIO insurgency effort.
Morocco built a berm or sand wall along the eastern and
southern borders of the Sahara in the 1980s, which
effectively eliminated the POLISARIO's ability to launch hit
and run raids, leading to the 1981 cease-fire, which has been
fully respected. The POLISARIO continues to maintain a
small, lightly armed presence at a few desert crossroads in
the small remaining part of Western Sahara outside the berm.
Despite occasional expressions of concern, the GOM almost
certainly is fully conscious that the POLISARIO poses no
current threat that could not be effectively countered. The
POLISARIO has generally refrained from classic terrorist
bombings, etc. Although the specter is sometimes raised,
there is no indication of any Salafist/Al Qaeda activity
among the indigenous Sahrawi population.

¶7. (C) While the border between Morocco and Algeria is
closed, and relations remain cool, we do not believe that
Algeria poses an imminent conventional military threat to
Morocco. Nonetheless, the FAR has contingency plans and
"wargames" in training exercises for a possible Algerian
attack, but the FAR does not have troops deployed along the
border. Instead, the FAR remains stationed in garrisons,
hundreds of kilometers away from the border, from which they
could deploy in the unlikely event of an Algerian incursion
into Morocco. Any confrontation between the two countries
would likely take place through the proxy of the POLISARIO,
which Algeria has supported materially in the past and could
do so again if hostilities between Morocco and the POLISARIO


¶8. (C) Motivated to win over other countries to its claims
to Western Sahara, Morocco is active in United Nations (UN),
engages in peacekeeping activities, and occasionally sends
troops to assist friendly countries. Morocco is an
experienced contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts, deploying
to countries like Angola, Bosnia, Cambodia, Haiti and
Somalia. It currently has over 1,500 peacekeepers deployed
to Cote d,Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC). Morocco also supports a military hospital in Kosovo
under NATO command. Morocco has sent medical personnel to
Niger to assist with famine relief and recently re-deployed
military forces to Senegal for an annual five-month &cloud
seeding8 operation for drought relief. Peacekeeping
contributions in recent years have been tarnished by
allegations of sexual wrongdoing in the DRC and Cote

--------------------------------------------- ---
Corruption Remains the Single Greatest Challenge
--------------------------------------------- ---

¶9. (C) Corruption is prevalent at all levels of Moroccan
society and the military is also plagued by it, particularly
at the highest levels. This may partly reflect a grand
bargain struck by King Hassan II following at least two
nearly successful coups in the 1970's: remain loyal, and you
can profit. (Those whose loyalty was in question were
subject to sometimes decades of harsh imprisonment.)
Credible reports indicate that Lt Gen Benanni is using his
position as the Commander of the Southern Sector to skim
money from military contracts and influence business
decisions. A widely believed rumor has it that he owns large
parts of the fisheries in Western Sahara. Benanni, like many
senior military officers, has a lavish family home that was
likely built with money gleaned from bribes. Leadership
positions in regional sectors are a significant source of
extralegal income for military leaders. There are even
reports of students at Morocco's military academy paying
money to increase their class standings in order to obtain
positions in lucrative military postings. Command in the
southern sector, i.e., Western Sahara, given the predominance
of military activity there, is considered to be the most
lucrative of the sectors in this regard. Because command in
the southern sector is also considered critical to high level
advancement in the FAR, positions there are highly sought
after. Consequently, positions in this sector are often
jealously "guarded" by a number of influential families in
the military. The GOM seems to be looking for ways to stop
corruption, especially among the formative military ranks of
Colonel and below, but not much is being done to stop the
corruption in the general officer ranks.

Retiring High Level Officers Also a Problem

¶10. (C) Senior officers refusing to retire to allow younger
officers to move up the ranks has become a significant
problem for the FAR. Officers nearing the mandatory
retirement age do not want to retire since this would mean
relinquishing bribes, money-skimming, and some related
sources of income. Even for those officers not &on the
take,8 giving up government positions and paychecks is
economically difficult for a sustained retirement. This
"gerontocracy" problem, coupled with the King's notorious
micro-management of the military has had a negative impact on
the morale of mid-level military leaders.

--------------------------------------------- ------
Radicalization: Under Control But Lingering Menace
--------------------------------------------- ------

¶11. (C) Though now viewed as a minor problem, reporting
suggests that small numbers of FAR soldiers remains
susceptible to Islamic radicalization. The GOM first
encountered this problem following the 2003 Casablanca
bombings when investigators identified military members as
co-conspirators. Following the bombings, the FAR undertook
steps to identify extremists and implement preventative
measures, such as closing prayer halls on military bases, to
address the problem. Subsequently, Morocco,s internal
security services have identified and apprehended several
military and gendarmerie personnel in other terrorist cells,
some of whom had stolen weapons from their bases for
terrorism. Acknowledging this threat in a speech to the
armed forces in May 2008, the King stated his desire to
"immunize" the armed forces from the threat of radicalization
and to promote the values of tolerance and moderation in the
ranks. During this same time frame the military forced 30
officers to retire early, allegedly because they were deemed
potentially radical and hostile to the Government.
Subsequently, the FAR removed all mosques from army bases and
deployed military counterintelligence, i.e., 5th Bureau,
undercover officers to monitor local "off-post" mosques for
potentially radical activities. These officers refer cases
to the Gendarmerie if criminal charges can be pursued.

Winds of Change

¶12. (C) Since the 1970's the military itself has been
perceived as the greatest threat to the throne and internal
security in Morocco, not surprising given Morocco's own
history and the broader context of the coup-ridden Middle
East and Africa. Of late, however, there is a general

perception that the relationship between the Palace and the
FAR is beginning to change to one of greater trust. The
King's growing confidence is partly signaled by a recent
significant increase in military spending, particularly for
modern hardware, although this is primarily a function of the
GOM's perceived threat from Algeria and the fact that it is
cost prohibitive at a certain point to maintain older
military equipment. The GOM increased the military's
operating budget to more than USD 2 billion in 2007,
significantly more than in previous years. Likewise, the FAR
is undergoing a significant modernization process, paying
over USD 2 billion for 24 F-16 aircraft and over USD 300
million for T-6 training aircraft from the U.S. The GOM has
commercially financed these transactions, thus far, but the
upfront payments have come from the treasury, which has also
committed to cover monthly payments. The King recently
allowed armed military flights north of Ben Guerir (located
approximately 200 kilometers south of Rabat), an act not
permitted in the past due to the King,s desire to keep the
military far away from the Palace in Rabat. The GOM is also
looking to make significant purchases of M-1 Abrams battle
tanks in the future.

U.S.-Moroccan Military Relations
Strong but Could Be Better

¶13. (C) In general, the U.S. and Morocco share a robust
military relationship with prospects for even closer ties in
the future. The health of the relationship is evidenced by
increased U.S.-Moroccan military training exercises and the
aforementioned military sales. Morocco has also increased
its activities under a partnership arrangement with the Utah
National Guard, which regularly deploys to Morocco to conduct
joint training and humanitarian relief operations. We have
submitted draft proposed language for the Moroccans to
consider for an Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement
(ACSA) and a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), and have
received comments on the ACSA draft from the GOM. In the
future, the Embassy hopes to see improvements in the FAR's
information sharing and accessibility to military units and
facilities with our Defense Attache Office. Although the FAR
regularly dialogues with our attaches, quality information is
lacking. The FAR also does not recognize the Embassy Attache
circle, an organization of Military Attaches from various
countries residing in Morocco who elect a president to
discuss issues of collective concern with the FAR. It is
apparent that the Palace continues to tightly control the
FAR's interactions U.S. and other foreign governments.

AFRICOM Viewed with Caution

¶14. (C) Previous interactions with GOM officials indicate
that military leaders are opposed to AFRICOM basing a
headquarters element in Morocco. However, Morocco has
offered to send a military liaison officer to the AFRICOM
headquarters in Germany and has offered to assist U.S.-led
efforts engaging with African countries. Morocco has also
approached AFRICOM representatives to solicit AFRICOM support
in providing chemicals needed for their cloud-seeding
operations in Senegal and providing logistics to assist with
a proposed locust control program.


¶15. (C) The Mission is optimistic that the U.S.-Moroccan
military relationship will continue to improve, but there are
potential speed bumps in future. We anticipate that
cooperative joint training exercises will continue to occur
at a robust pace, although the vast majority of this activity
will likely take place in Morocco because of continued
restrictions on the travel of FAR personnel. While we
anticipate that the Palace will continue to modernize the
military, with the notable possible acquisition of M-1 Abrams
tanks, we are increasingly concerned that Morocco, not used
to the high operating costs of these high end items (and
other budgetary pressures) may make it increasingly difficult
for the Moroccans to make payments on purchases. If payments
become a problem for the GOM, this could sour relations
temporarily. While we believe that there are some signs of
the King's increased confidence in the FAR, we believe that
the monarchy still calculates that the military represents
the biggest potential threat to the crown. FAR officers
will, therefore, continue to be distanced from policy making

input and restricted from engaging in detailed discussions
about Moroccan military strength and intentions with foreign
military officers, including our attaches.

Visit Embassy Rabat's Classified Website;


wikileaks samba

Wikileaks keeps on publishing despite arrest

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


DE RUEHKU #0808/01 1420942
O 220942Z MAY 07

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 07 KUWAIT 000808




E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2017


REF: A. STATE 53274
¶B. 06 STATE 146295
¶D. Kuwait 730
¶E. 06 kuwait 4664
f. 06 kuwait 3503
g. State 1612

Classified By: Ambassador Richard LeBaron for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (S/NF) Summary: On April 23-24, Treasury Assistant
Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes

Patrick O'Brien met with senior GOK officials on anti-money
laundering and counter-terrorism finance (AML/CTF) issues.
He conveyed USG concerns about the activities of the
Kuwait-based charity the Revival of Islamic Heritage Society
(RIHS), specifically the activities of branches in Albania,
Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cambodia, Russia, Somalia,
and Thailand. O'Brien urged the GOK to demonstrate support
for international counterterrorism efforts by withdrawing its
appeal to Qatar and allowing the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee
to designate three Kuwaiti terrorist facilitators: Jaber
Al-Jalahmah, Hamid Al-Ali, and Mubarak Al-Bathali, designated
by the U.S. in December 2006, pursuant to E.O. 13224.
O'Brien also pressed for the swift adoption of a revised
draft money laundering law that will criminalize terrorist
financing, create inbound and outbound cash reporting
requirements encompassing all ports of entry and exit, and
allow the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to receive
Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) directly from banks rather
than going through the Office of the Public Prosecutor (OPP).
In addition, he discussed the potential for further USG
technical assistance on cash couriers.

¶2. (S/NF) O'Brien met with xxxxxxxxxxxx In all of his meetings, O'Brien stressed
that while U.S.-Kuwait cooperation on counterterrorism was
strong, there were significant areas of USG concern on
AML/CTF. GOK officials conveyed Kuwait's strong commitment
to fighting terror in all of its forms, including through
curbs on terrorist financing, and described GOK efforts to
raise public awareness of these issues in Kuwait. MOSAL and
MFA both disagreed that RIHS activities abroad constituted
support for terrorism. xxxxxxxxxxxx, in particular, suggested
the U.S. cases against RIHS and the three terrorist
facilitators were full of holes, but failed to provide hard
evidence to support his claims. Absent "concrete evidence,"
GOK officials said that it would be impossible for the GOK to
support USG efforts to designate RIHS branches abroad or ask
Qatar to remove its hold on the designation of the three
Kuwaitis at the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee. GOK
interlocutors also indicated that a technical review of a
draft amendment to the current GOK money laundering law is
nearing completion and the revision will be presented to the
National AML/CTF Committee Chairman, the CBK Governor, soon
(see para 18). End summary.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
"We Need Evidence, Not Speculation"

¶3. (S/NF) On April 23-24, Treasury Assistant Secretary for
Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes Patrick O'Brien
visited Kuwait for meetings with senior GOK officials to
discuss AML/CTF issues, charities -- specifically RIHS -- and
UNSCR 1267. In a two-hour long meeting with xxxxxxxxxxxx,

Kuwait 00000808 002 of 007

O'Brien expressed concern about RIHS and passed xxxxxxxxxxxx a
non-paper on its activities (ref A). O'Brien noted that the
USG has shared information on RIHS activities with the GOK
since 2002 and that non-papers were passed to the GOK on
numerous occasions detailing ongoing RIHS terrorist support
activities. O'Brien conveyed USG intentions to pursue
domestic and UN designations of eight RIHS branch offices:
Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia, Cambodia, Russia,
Somalia and Thailand. O'Brien described enforcement actions
taken by the governments of Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan,
Bangladesh, Bosnia, Pakistan, and Russia against RIHS branch
offices. He added that the USG is working with foreign
governments that have RIHS branches of concern to gather
additional evidence and pass to the GOK.

¶4. (S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx reiterated GOK concerns about the
absence of solid evidence in the USG case against RIHS and
noted that "absent hard evidence" the GOK would not support
the USG designation of RIHS and would ask Qatar to block any
names associated with RIHS brought to the UNSC.xxxxxxxxxxxx
explained that charities must receive approval both
internally -- from the Ministries of Social Affairs and
Labor, Foreign Affairs, and the Central Bank of Kuwait -- and
externally from the host governments where projects are to be
carried out. xxxxxxxxxxxx insisted that "the GOK has yet to
receive reports of wrongdoing from any of the countries where
RIHS operates" and that the GOK will not take action on USG
accusations without investigating them first. xxxxxxxxxxxx
noted that when he received the expanded USG non-paper in
September 2006, he eagerly followed up with host governments,
but the responses he has received from them to date paint a
"completely different" picture from that conveyed by the USG.
Waving a sheath of documents, xxxxxxxxxxxx said the written
report of the GOK's own findings would be shared with the USG
soon. xxxxxxxxxxxx did not present any papers containing hard
evidence, asserting that he did not want to pass information
along until he had a "full and complete report."

¶5. (S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx made the following specific points:

- Bangladesh: xxxxxxxxxxxx asserted that USG charges are
different from those of the GOB. "The USG non-paper said
RIHS' accounts were frozen while in reality the Bangladesh
NGO Office renewed RIHS' registration for another 5 years in
November 2006," he stated. He added that the GOK has been
told RIHS projects in Bangladesh are going well. (Note: the
two issues are separate, and restrictions on RIHS
Bangladesh's bank accounts should merit more concern by the
GOK. The government of Bangladesh canceled RIHS's license on
May 18. End Note).

- Russia: xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that there are no RIHS branches
in Russia, a point which the GOK has already discussed with
the GOR. All charities in Russia are approved by the
Ministry of Assistance, and the GOK was very surprised to
learn that the GOR designated RIHS -- a charity that had
Ministry approval, he continued. O'Brien replied that in
July 2006 the GOR publicly identified RIHS as a terrorist
organization, listing it among a group of 17 organizations
banned in Russia.

- Bosnia: xxxxxxxxxxxx said the GOK has received two official
letters praising RIHS' work from the Ministry of Immigration.
(Note: European forces and Sarajevan Cantonal police raided
the Sarajevo office of RIHS in December 2006. End Note).

- Albania: xxxxxxxxxxxx acknowledged that the RIHS office in
Albania has been closed since 2005, but noted that all
charity branches in Albania were closed at that time as the
result of a political decision. All charity work, he
continued, now goes through the "Religious Committee" in
Tirana. (Note: In addition to the closure of the office,

Kuwait 00000808 003 of 007

the GOA also froze RIHS's funds. End Note).

- Kosovo: xxxxxxxxxxxx stated that all charity work in Kosovo
must have the approval of European Forces Command. He
acknowledged that the GOK has received some comments, but
maintained they still differ from USG accounts. O'Brien
pointed to derogatory information on RIHS Kosovo's activities
in the RIHS non-paper (ref A).

¶6. (S/NF) O'Brien briefed xxxxxxxxxxxx ref A reiterating
previous assurances (ref D) that the USG will work with the
countries concerned to provide additional information to the
GOK. O'Brien noted that the USG welcomes additional
information on GOK findings, but added that the USG believes
it is time to take action. (Comment: xxxxxxxxxxxx
indicated his willingness to share GOK findings in writing in
previous meetings with Emboffs, but Post has yet to receive
anything in writing. It is unclear if he actually has any
hard evidence, including the infamous two letters of
commendation from the Bosnian Ministry of Immigration. In
mentioning RIHS Kosovo, xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that it is not among
the eight branches currently being considered for
designation. Post would appreciate additional information on
why Kosovo and Indonesia are no longer being considered, for
internal use and/or to share with the GOK if asked. End

Ministry of Foreign Affairs on
Bathali, Al-Ali, Al-Jalahmah

¶7. (S/NF) O'Brien presented xxxxxxxxxxxx with ref B non-paper
outlining continued activity by Al-Jalahmah, Al-Ali, and
Bathali in spite of their December 7, 2006 designation in the
United States. Despite GOK assurances that their activities
would be monitored and restricted, the three have continued
to engage in fundraising and the provision of logistical
support for terrorism as well as travel outside of the
country. When asked, xxxxxxxxxxxx said the GOK would not be
willing to ask Qatar to remove its hold on the UN designation
of the three, placed there at the GOK's behest. xxxxxxxxxxxx
argued that the charges against the three have not been
proven and "the GOK would be sued" if it supported such
accusations at the UN. Speaking generally about the three
individuals, xxxxxxxxxxxx stated they were taken to the
"highest courts" and proven innocent. "I can't put them in
jail because of suspicions," he continued. When queried by
O'Brien on the nature of their crimes, it turned out that the
three were acquitted for crimes unrelated to their current
activities. For example, Jalahmah was tried for beating a
woman who was not fully covered. O'Brien pressed xxxxxxxxxxxx
on the issue, stating that current USG concerns and
derogatory information are unrelated to any prior GOK legal
action against these individuals.

¶8. (S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx continued that Bathali was not mentally
stable and that he is getting more attention than he
deserves. O'Brien responded that regardless of xxxxxxxxxxxx
impression of Bathali's mental state, he remains a threat as
demonstrated by his actions. Responding to a point in ref B
non-paper on Al-Jalahmah and Bathali's travel to Qatar to
appear on Al-Jazeera. xxxxxxxxxxxx asked O'Brien if appearing
on Al-Jazeera was a crime. O'Brien explained that the USG
concern was their travel outside of Kuwait despite GOK
assurances (ref D) to monitor their actions. xxxxxxxxxxxx
insisted that the GOK is monitoring them and is coordinating
its efforts with other Gulf countries. O'Brien reiterated
his call for GOK action noting that public action against a
bad actor engenders greater confidence in a country's AML/CTF

Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor:

Kuwait 00000808 004 of 007

Culture of Giving, Change Takes Time

¶9. (S/NF) Reflecting upon the history of charitable work in
Kuwait, xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that the GOK is
trying to work with a culture of giving that is ingrained in
both society and religion, "and it is not an easy mix in
Kuwait." A 1969 law legalized charities in Kuwait and for
many years they operated on their own with little to no GOK
supervision. Today, the GOK is doing its best to determine
"how much they collect and where it goes" while not
alienating charities or their benefactors, some of whom have
considerable influence. The problem, he said, is cash
transactions. O'Brien agreed that charity is an integral and
important part of society and therefore needs to be
safeguarded. O'Brien noted that the diversion of funds
remains an important vulnerability for charities and
reiterated the importance of these external oversight
efforts. He added that of additional concern are charities
that provide funding or support on behalf of terrorist
organizations. O'Brien went on to stress the importance of
monitoring both the front and back-end of charitable giving.
He urged the need to vet organizations and recipients on the
ground and work with charities to implement sound reporting
and oversight mechanisms on the back-end.

¶10. (S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx outlined ongoing efforts (ref F) to
ensure the integrity of charitable work by increasing GOK
oversight. He highlighted four alternative donation
collection initiatives -- SMS, using K-net for electronic
transfers, opening small offices in malls staffed by a
representative from an NGO and MOSAL, and setting up an
ATM-like machine in which prospective donors can choose from
a menu of projects -- designed to create an electronic record
of all transactions that will enhance MOSAL and other GOK
entities, ability to track funds. MOSAL has an ongoing
dialogue with charities to increase the use of electronic
collection methods creating a record MOSAL and other GOK
entities can review, but he acknowledged that "it is not easy
to get them to accept." "We are not happy with the progress,
but at least they are starting to consider the options," he

¶11. (S/NF) Briefing MOSAL on ref A and passing ref B
non-papers, O'Brien reiterated concern about RIHS activities
and said that the USG is looking into taking domestic and UN
action against these eight branches in the near future. In
addressing O'Brien's concerns about RIHS activities abroad,
xxxxxxxxxxxx explained that while MOSAL oversees charitable
operations inside Kuwait, it continues to rely on the MFA to
oversee charities' external activities. External RIHS
projects must be endorsed by both the host government and the
local Kuwaiti Embassy before they receive GOK approval, as
was the case in Bangladesh. He conceded, however, that this
puts pressure on Kuwaiti embassy officials, especially those
in Africa and Asia. xxxxxxxxxxxx thanked the USG for encouraging
the exchange of information on RIHS noting that the GOK has
been waiting for a response from the Russians for eight
months. In response to the ref B non-paper on the three
Kuwaiti terrorist facilitators, he noted that the GOK is
aware of these individuals and is following this matter
through an interagency committee. (Comment: This is the
first we have heard of this committee. We will pursue with
the GOK. End comment).

Central Bank of Kuwait

¶12. (SBU) xxxxxxxxxxxx lauded
the increased awareness and vigilance of local banks as
evidence of Kuwait,s commitment to combating financial

Kuwait 00000808 005 of 007

crime. Banks know that the GOK is serious and will enforce
penalties, he explained. He added that CBK has also begun to
receive inquiries from private citizens outside of the
financial sector who are concerned about money laundering.

¶13. (S/NF) Econoff asked xxxxxxxxxxxx about an April 22 report
in Kuwaiti Arabic-language daily "Al-Watan" in which Bathali
complained about his account being frozen per "instructions
from the U.S. Department of Treasury." xxxxxxxxxxxx
confirmed that a local bank froze and will soon close
Bathali,s account based on his inclusion in the Treasury
OFAC List. However, he stressed that while his account will
be closed, Bathali's funds will be returned to him.
xxxxxxxxxxxx emphasized that financial institutions in Kuwait
take this matter very seriously because of both concern for
their reputation and the impact on their relationship with
the correspondent bank. (Comment: Post believes the local
bank involved was the Kuwait Finance House. This has also
been suggested in the Kuwaiti press. End comment.)

Ministry of Finance:
Kuwait is "Making Strides in AML/CTF"

¶14. (C/NF) Briefing the Assistant Secretary on the GOK,s
ongoing AML/CTF efforts,xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that the GOK is doing its best to counter
money laundering and terrorist financing and has made
tremendous strides in the last 10 years, outpacing some of
its regional neighbors. He acknowledged that "there are
cancers," but reiterated that the GOK can not take action
based on rumors, and that documentation is required. In
response, O'Brien passed the Ministers non-papers on RIHS and
Jaber Al-Jalahmah, Hamid Al-Ali, and Mubarak Al-Bathali.

¶15. (C/NF) Customs operations also fall under the purview of
the Minister of Finance who noted that cash smuggling from
Iraq and Iran continues to be a concern, particularly on the
Iraq-Kuwait border because of volume and a lack of personnel.
He looks forward to the May 2007 opening of the Khabari
Crossing (ref C), aka K-Crossing -- which will be used
exclusively by U.S. military, Coalition Forces, and military
contractors going into and out of Iraq -- as it will take
some of the pressure off the civilian crossing at Abdali.
xxxxxxxxxxxx disclosed that Turkey has requested permission
for Turkish trucks to transit Kuwait. The GOK is unable to
accommodate the request at this time due to the already heavy
volume of traffic but he noted that the opening of K-Crossing
may allow the GOK to reconsider.

Cash Couriers Continue to Be Problematic
--------------------------------------------- -----

¶16. (C/NF) O'Brien also met with xxxxxxxxxxxx, who outlined
the various challenges facing Customs operations in Kuwait,
particularly in light of continued instability in Iraq. A
priority AML/CTF concern is cash smuggling which he said is
caused, at least in part, by a ban on the export of currency
from Iraq and Iran. xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that the bulk of these
incidents seem to involve merchants who are trying to move
their money in and out of closed markets and are not related
to criminal/terror activity. To combat this trend, Kuwait
has a disclosure system for inbound travelers requiring them
to report currency in excess of KD 3000 (USD 10,000). In the
proposed draft law, xxxxxxxxxxxx said that Kuwait will move to a
declaration system. A reporting form is now in use at some
land and sea borders, specifically those with Iraq and Iran,
and will soon be in place at airports. xxxxxxxxxxxx said that
signs would be placed in airports once approved by civil

Kuwait 00000808 006 of 007

aviation authorities.

¶17. (C/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that communication with his Iraqi
counterparts, whom he described as a fragmented group of
individuals "representing their own party," is sporadic and
dysfunctional at best. In contrast, the DG described
communication with his Iranian counterparts as good, noting
that bilateral meetings are held at least twice a year.
xxxxxxxxxxxx welcomed continued cooperation with the U.S. and
suggested that USG sponsorship of a GCC conference on AML/CTF
with representatives from various government agencies --
Customs, MOI, Justice, Finance, etc. -- would be an
appropriate next step. Customs officials already have a
formal network to exchange ideas, he explained, but as the
nature of these issues requires a multifaceted approach an
expanded forum would be beneficial. "In the Gulf these cases
are seen as the responsibility of MOI, but Customs should be
more engaged because Customs is the first line of defense,"
he concluded. O'Brien noted that evidence shows that as
governments limit the AML/CTF vulnerabilities in the formal
financial sector, terrorist and other criminals turn to other
less regulated avenues, including cash. He commended Customs
for its efforts to date and reiterated that cash declaration
programs play a key role in combating illicit activity.
O'Brien offered technical assistance and discussed the
successful DHS/ICE cash courier training in the Philippines
and proposed a similar training in Kuwait. He suggested that
xxxxxxxxxxxx contact the DHS/ICE Attach on how to move forward.
(Note: O'Brien did not pass ref A or B non-papers during
this meeting. End note.)

Draft Terror Finance Law:
Still Undergoing Technical Review

¶18. (C/NF) In response to A/S O'Brien's concerns about the
failure to criminalize terrorist financing in the current GOK
money laundering law, multiple interlocutors indicated that
the draft amendment to the law would include such language
and was reviewed by the National Committee's (NC) Technical
Committee on April 23. The revised draft should be presented
to the National Committee Chairman, the CBK Governor, soon.
The Governor will then forward the draft to the Cabinet who
will in turn pass it to Parliament's Legal Committee. Once
it passes the Committee, it will be presented to the full
Parliament. xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that the
Technical Committee plans to actively lobby MPs to facilitate
the draft's timely passage. xxxxxxxxxxxx
said Committee members are united on the merits of the new
draft which included two key enhancements to the FIU: 1) The
FIU will receive SARs directly, and 2) Kuwait's FIU will be
able to exchange information with other FIUs. (Note: The
GOK has chosen not to share a copy with the USG, but says the
current draft criminalizes terror financing, includes a
provision to require both inbound and outbound declarations
of cash, and allows the FIU, not the OPP, to directly receive
SARs. A similar provision on cash declarations was taken out
of the 2002 AML draft law. End note.)

¶19. (C/NF) O'Brien lauded the proposed amendments and
explained that changes to the structure and function of the
FIU are required for Egmont group membership. He also
offered USG assistance and comments on the draft law. When
asked for his assessment of AML/CTF regimes in the region,
O'Brien noted that, although some countries are still working
to criminalize terrorist financing, the legal framework has
developed rapidly in a relatively short period of time. The
focus now should shift toward implementation and capacity
building as the GOK and others focus on acquiring the
resources and abilities to enforce the new regimes.
xxxxxxxxxxxx also asked about the availability of a list for

Kuwait 00000808 007 of 007

money laundering and narcotics offenders. O'Brien noted that
while no such list exists for money laundering, the GOK can
subscribe to Worldcheck and other services that track UN,
OFAC, and public data like criminal charges. He further
noted that the USG has a narcotics Kingpin List, aka the
Clinton list, for narcotics indictments.

¶20. (SBU) A/S O'Brien cleared this cable.

********************************************* *
For more reporting from Embassy Kuwait, visit: s

Visit Kuwait's Classified Website:
********************************************* *


Tuesday, December 7, 2010



DE RUEHC #1801 3641337
O 301328Z DEC 09

S E C R E T STATE 131801


EO 12958 DECL: 12/28/2019

REF: A. (A) STATE 112368 B. (B) RIYADH 1499 C. (C) KUWAIT 1061 D. (D) KUWAIT 1021 E. (E) ABU DHABI 1057 F. (F) DOHA 650 G. (G) ISLAMABAD 2799
Classified By: EEB/ESC Deputy Assistant Secretary Douglas C. Hengel for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (U) This is an action request cable. Please see para 3.

¶2. (S/NF) Summary: In August 2009, Special Representative to the President for Afghanistan and Pakistan (S/SRAP) Ambassador Richard Holbrooke in coordination with the Department of Treasury established the interagency Illicit Finance Task Force (IFTF). The IFTF is chaired by Treasury A/S David Cohen. It focuses on disrupting illicit finance activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the external financial/logistical support networks of terrorist groups that operate there, such as al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and Lashkar e-Tayyiba (LeT). The IFTF’s activities are a vital component of the USG’s Afghanistan and Pakistan (Af/Pak) strategy dedicated to disrupting illicit finance flows between the Gulf countries and Afghanistan and Pakistan. The IFTF has created a diplomatic engagement strategy to assist in the accomplishment of this objective. The strategy focuses on senior-level USG engagement with Gulf countries and Pakistan to communicate USG counterterrorism priorities and to generate the political will necessary to address the problem. The IFTF has drafted talking points for use by all USG officials in their interactions with Gulf and Pakistani interlocutors. These points focus on funding for terrorist groups threatening stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan and targeting coalition soldiers. These points have been cleared through the relevant Washington agencies.

¶3. (SBU) Action request: Drawing on the background materials for respective countries, and in preparation for the upcoming visits by Ambassador Holbrooke and Treasury U/S Levey in January, the Department requests all action posts deliver the general talking points in paras 5-6 and country specific talking points contained in the following paras: (1) Saudi Arabia ) para 8, (2) Kuwait ) para 10, (3) UAE ) para 12, and (4) Pakistan ) para 13. The talking points should be delivered by Ambassadors/Charge D’Affaires.

¶4. (C) In response to State 112368, the Department has received responses from Embassies Riyadh, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Islamabad regarding the resource capabilities devoted towards these efforts. The Department also received each Mission’s evaluation of the effectiveness of host country institutions working on combating terrorism financing along with post’s recommendations on ways forward.
General talking points for all Embassies
¶5. (SBU) Threat financing:
Cutting off the flow of funds to terrorist organizations and achieving stability in Af/Pak are top U.S. priorities.
These objectives require effective actions against terrorist fundraising in the Gulf by al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT, and other Af/Pak-based violent extremist groups, all of which undermine the security of the entire international community. We will not succeed without your cooperation.
Long term success in combating terrorist financing requires a comprehensive, strategic approach that includes the following elements:
(1) aggressive action to identify, disrupt and deter terrorist donors, fundraisers and facilitators;
(2) appropriate legal measures, including effective prosecution, to hold terrorist financiers and facilitators publicly accountable and to send a strong message of deterrence to current and would-be donors that their actions face significant legal and social repercussions.
(3) strong oversight of charities, including their overseas branches, to ensure that these organizations are not supporting terrorist and extremist elements;
(4) strict enforcement of UN 1267 sanctions; and
(5) full compliance with international anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) standards, including vigorous enforcement.

¶6. (SBU) Charities:
The United States strongly supports legitimate charitable activities and is a strong proponent of private charitable giving.
We recognize and admire the emphasis placed on charity within Islam and we seek to work cooperatively with governments and organizations in the Islamic world to ensure that legitimate charitable activities thrive.
At the same time, we want to increase our cooperative efforts to ensure that extremists and terrorists do not exploit charitable giving.
--------------------------------------------- ----------
Country-specific background material and talking points
--------------------------------------------- ----------
¶7. (U) Saudi Arabia background
(S/NF) While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority. Due in part to intense focus by the USG over the last several years, Saudi Arabia has begun to make important progress on this front and has responded to terrorist financing concerns raised by the United States through proactively investigating and detaining financial facilitators of concern. Still, donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide. Continued senior-level USG engagement is needed to build on initial efforts and encourage the Saudi government to take more steps to stem the flow of funds from Saudi Arabia-based sources to terrorists and extremists worldwide.
(S/NF) The USG engages regularly with the Saudi Government on terrorist financing. The establishment in 2008 of a Treasury attache office presence in Riyadh contributes to robust interaction and information sharing on the issue. Despite this presence, however, more needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups, including Hamas, which probably raise millions of dollars annually from Saudi sources, often during Hajj and Ramadan. In contrast to its increasingly aggressive efforts to disrupt al-Qa’ida’s access to funding from Saudi sources, Riyadh has taken only limited action to disrupt fundraising for the UN 1267-listed Taliban and LeT-groups that are also aligned with al-Qa’ida and focused on undermining stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(S/NF) Saudi Arabia has enacted important reforms to criminalize terrorist financing and restrict the overseas flow of funds from Saudi-based charities. However, these restrictions fail to include &multilateral organizations8 such as XXXXXXXXXXXX Intelligence suggests that these groups continue to send money overseas and, at times, fund extremism overseas. In 2002, the Saudi government promised to set up a &Charities Committee8 that would address this issue, but has yet to do so. The establishment of such a mechanism, however, is secondary to the primary U.S. goal of obtaining Saudi acknowledgement of the scope of this problem and a commitment to take decisive action.
(S/NF) Department note: The Department received post’s comments regarding embassy staffing at Riyadh and recommendations for enhancing bilateral cooperation (ref B). The Department agrees with post’s recommendation that the U.S. must reinforce, on a political level, the Saudi Arabia Government’s recent acknowledgement that terrorist groups other than al-Qa’ida are a threat both to it and to regional stability. The Department also supports post’s assessment that consistent engagement, including the exchange of actionable intelligence, by senior USG officials is paramount. We plan to discuss these issues with the SAG during upcoming senior-level USG visits.

¶8. (U) Saudi Arabia talking points
(S/REL USA, SAU) We recognize your government’s efforts to disrupt al-Qa’ida networks in the Kingdom and we reaffirm our commitment to support the Saudi government in its actions on terror finance. We encourage your government to continue efforts against al-Qa’ida and stress the importance of sharing and acting on information related to terrorist financing.
(S/REL USA, SAU) We note your concerns with fundraising in the Kingdom by al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups and urge decisive action to enforce the UN 1267-mandated asset freeze against Taliban and LeT fundraising similar to Saudi efforts to enforce UN 1267 sanctions and take other appropriate action to target al-Qa’ida.
(S/REL USA, SAU) We underscore that the Taliban and LeT are aligned with al-Qa’ida and that your government’s support for disrupting the financing of these groups is critical to the stability of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the broader Central and South Asian region. We emphasize the need to prevent the Taliban from using the cover of reconciliation talks to raise funds.
(S/REL USA, SAU) We urge your government to assume responsibility for the overseas operations of charities and NGOs headquartered in the Kingdom. We encourage you to prevent terrorists and their supporters from exploiting religious events (Hajj, Umrah, Ramadan) to raise funds. We acknowledge the recent adoption of stricter financial controls on charities, but urge greater regulation and oversight of the Saudi charitable sector.
(S/REL USA, SAU) We would like to stress our interest in broadening and deepening this dialogue and information exchange as we still lack detailed information on the ultimate sources of terrorist financing emanating from the Kingdom. We commend your government for recent efforts to put terrorists and terrorist financiers on trial, and we encourage you to publicize details of prosecutions to maximize the deterrent effects.
(S/REL USA, SAU) You have had success in detaining and deterring financial facilitators. However, we encourage your government also to focus on the long-term and more fundamental goal of dissuading donors from funding violent extremism.
(S/REL USA, SAU) We commend your government’s effort over the past several years to use the media, internet, and other forms of public outreach to discourage extremism. We emphasize that a critical component in this campaign is cutting off the flow of funds from Saudi Arabia to foreign religious, charitable, and educational organizations that propagate violent extremist ideologies to vulnerable populations.

¶9. (U) Kuwait background
(S/NF) The USG has consistently engaged the Government of Kuwait (GOK) about the specific activities of terrorist financiers in country, Kuwaiti charities financing terrorism abroad, and Kuwait’s lack of a comprehensive anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regime. While the GOK has demonstrated a willingness to take action when attacks target Kuwait, it has been less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks outside of Kuwait. Al-Qa’ida and other groups continue to exploit Kuwait both as a source of funds and as a key transit point.
(S/NF) The GOK has undertaken a number of initiatives to curb terrorist financing in the charitable sector (ending direct cash donations, increasing monitoring and supervising mosques and charitable organizations, and enhancing enforcement of regulations by a Ministry of Social Affairs task force). It also recently arrested some Kuwait-based al-Qa’ida facilitators, but it is too early to assess whether this marks a change in Kuwaiti policy of co-opting terrorists as a means of deflecting potential attacks against Kuwaiti interests.
(S/NF) Kuwait’s law prohibits efforts to undermine or attack Arab neighbors, a basis for the prosecution of al-Qa’ida facilitators, Kuwait remains the sole Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country that has not criminalized terrorist financing. The GOK faces an uphill battle to implement comprehensive terror finance legislation due to a lack of parliamentary support. However the government is also not currently prepared to push hard on this issue. The GOK at times has obstructed or been slow to enforce UN-mandated asset freezes of Kuwait-based entities.
(S/NF) A particular point of difference between the U.S. and Kuwait concerns Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS). In June 2008 the USG domestically designated all RIHS offices RIHS under Executive Order 13224 for providing financial and material support to al-Qa’ida and UN 1267-listed al-Qa’ida affiliates, including Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya. The United States nominated RIHS for listing under UNSCR 1267 but Indonesia placed a technical hold on the RIHS listing due concerns regarding RIHS’s presence in Indonesia. Libya also placed a hold - probably at Kuwait’s behest - citing insufficient information on RIHS’s activities. Indonesia has rotated off the United Nation’s Security Council so only Libya’s hold on RIHS remains. (Department note: Libya’s hold will drop in 2010 unless one of the newly elected UNSC Members places a hold on our request to list RIHS.) In Kuwait, RIHS enjoys broad public support as a charitable entity. The GOK to date has not taken significant action to address or shut down RIHS’s headquarters or its branches, which is consistent with GOK tolerance of similar behavior by Kuwaiti citizens and organizations as long as the behavior occurs or is directed outside of Kuwait.
(S/NF) Department note: The Department appreciates postVs thorough description of the staffing situation at Mission Kuwait (ref B). The Department commends U.S. Embassy Kuwait for taking an active approach in proposing a strategy to build GOK capacity in combating financial crimes through training and seminars focused on legislation and law enforcement (ref C). The opportunity to engage the GOK on improving its capabilities to deal with financial crimes is enthusiastically welcomed by agencies in Washington. Washington agencies appreciate post’s assessment and identification of several focal areas that deal with financial crimes. These goals closely track the work of the IFTF Capacity Building Working Group. The Department commends Embassy Kuwait’s recent support of Kuwait’s National Anti Money Laundering Committee’s AML conference in early December 2009. In response to post’s request, the Department will work with relevant members of the Washington inter-agency to provide comments and feedback to the draft of Kuwait’s amended AML law.

¶10. (U) Kuwait talking points
(S/REL USA, KWT) We appreciate the breadth and depth of our strong bilateral relationship. We would like to see our cooperation on counter-terrorist financing improve to a level that matches our excellent cooperation in many other areas. In this respect, the recent Kuwait anti-money laundering conference held in Kuwait is a positive step forward.
(S/REL USA, KWT) Our information indicates that Kuwaiti donors serve as an important source of funds and other support for al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups. The arrest in August of six Kuwaiti men who were plotting terrorist attacks on U.S. and Kuwait interests marks an important step in enhanced counterterrorism cooperation. We encourage you to keep up the positive momentum.
(S//REL USA, KWT) We underscore that the Taliban and LeT are aligned with al-Qaida and that your government’s support for disrupting the financing of these groups is critical to the stability of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the broader Central and South Asian region. We emphasize the need to prevent the Taliban from using the cover of reconciliation talks to raise funds.
(S/REL USA, KWT) We appreciate your government’s generosity for a wide range of important causes and for the positive contributions made by Kuwaiti charities. We commend Kuwait for some of the initiatives taken to enhance oversight of charitable donations, but we need you to do more to prevent the financing of terrorism abroad from Kuwaiti soil.
(S/REL USA, KWT) Our goal is to work more closely with your government to separate and protect legitimate charitable activity from those that fund terror. We have particular concerns about their foreign activities.
(S/REL USA, KWT) We remain concerned that the continued absence of counterterrorism legislation criminalizing terrorist financing will continue to prevent effective counterterrorist efforts.
(S/REL USA, KWT) We urge your government to prioritize the passage of counterterror finance legislation. Robust and comprehensive anti-money laundering and counterterror financing laws will enhance your government’s ability to prosecute those seeking to undermine Kuwait’s security, but will also enhance the reputation of Kuwait’s financial sector as a whole.
(S/REL USA, KWT) If raised, Kuwait RIHS: We have shared our concerns with your government regarding RIHS on numerous occasions. We designated the organization in the United States as a specially designated terrorist entity based on information that RIHS funds have supported terrorist groups in various regions of the world. The USG is not alone in its concern; six other governments (Albania, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cambodia, and Russia) have taken enforcement action against RIHS branches in their countries.
(S//REL USA, KWT) We would welcome the opportunity to work more closely with you to ensure that RIHS and other charities cannot be used to support terrorists.

¶11. (U) United Arab Emirates background
(S/NF) UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups, including al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups, including Hamas. Washington agencies note, however, that they have limited information on the identity of Taliban and LeT donors and facilitators in the UAE. Hence there is limited information to be shared with local interlocutors. Nonetheless, the point can be emphasized that the UAE’s role as a growing global financial center, coupled with weak regulatory oversight, makes it vulnerable to abuse by terrorist financiers and facilitation networks.
(S/NF) Department Note: The Department has received post’s comments regarding personnel staffing at Mission UAE and the challenges post faces. The Department is supportive of the action plan laid out on engaging with the UAE on Taliban finance issues (ref E). The Department assesses that a bilateral commitment by the United States and the UAE to focus on weaknesses within its financial regulatory measures is an important step in making progress on strengthening UAE efforts to disrupt potential terrorist financing.

¶12. (U) United Arab Emirates talking points
(S/REL USA, ARE) We appreciate the depth and breadth of our bilateral relationship. Since 2001, we have developed a strong partnership with your government in countering financial support for al-Qa’ida, and more recently, in constricting Iran’s ability to use UAE financial institutions to support its nuclear program.
(S/REL USA, ARE) We would like to extend our cooperation and partnership to efforts to deal with the threat represented by Taliban and LeT fundraising in the UAE. We believe that the United States and UAE, which both have troops in the field in Afghanistan, share a common interest in curtailing any Taliban or LeT fundraising activities and fully implementing UN 1267 sanctions on such activities on behalf of these groups in the UAE.
(S/REL USA, ARE) However, we are pleased that concerns have been raised in the UAE regarding the Taliban and LeT fundraising. We also commend the calls for increased vigilance, information sharing, and enforcement actions to disrupt and deter this activity.
(S/REL USA, ARE) In our view, the alignment of the Taliban and LeT with al-Qa’ida means that our mutual efforts to disrupt the financing of these groups also is critical to the stability of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(S/REL USA, ARE) We emphasize the need to prevent the Taliban from using the cover of reconciliation talks to travel and raise funds.
(S/REL USA, ARE) We appreciate your government’s willingness to work with the USG on cash courier interdiction and note that such efforts are crucial to undermine al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and other groups’ ability to exploit the UAE as a fundraising and facilitation hub. We urge your government to strengthen its regulatory and enforcement regime to interdict cash couriers transiting major airports.

¶13. (U) Pakistan background
(S/NF) Pakistan’s intermittent support to terrorist groups and militant organizations threatens to undermine regional security and endanger U.S. national security objectives in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although Pakistani senior officials have publicly disavowed support for these groups, some officials from the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) continue to maintain ties with a wide array of extremist organizations, in particular the Taliban, LeT and other extremist organizations. These extremist organizations continue to find refuge in Pakistan and exploit Pakistan’s extensive network of charities, NGOs, and madrassas. This network of social service institutions readily provides extremist organizations with recruits, funding and infrastructure for planning new attacks. On the international stage, Pakistan has sought to block the UNSCR 1267 listings of Pakistan-based or affiliated terrorists by requesting that China place holds on the nominations. China recently placed a technical hold on the designation of three Pakistan-based or affiliated terrorists nominated by India, although China did not prevent the most recent Pakistan-related U.S. designation nomination in June.
(S/NF) The Department has received post’s comments regarding personnel staffing and the detailed description of the challenges faced by Embassy Islamabad in the area of terrorism finance (ref D). Department leaves it to post discretion to determine which departments within the host government should receive the points provided in para 16 so that Pakistan fully understands the priority the USG places on this issue.

¶14. (U) Pakistan talking points
(S/REL USA, PAK) Emphasize that Pakistan’s support for disrupting financing to the Taliban and LeT obligatory pursuant to their obligations under UNSCR 1267 and successor resolutions, and is critical to achieving stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(S/REL USA, PAK) We are deeply concerned that Pakistan has failed to enact an AML/CTF law that meets APG/FATF standards. As you may realize the FATF is currently engaged in a &International Co-Operation Review Group8 exercise, that is likely to have very negative multilateral repercussions if the Parliament does not pass an adequate AML/CTF law.
(S/REL USA, PAK) We stress your government’s obligation, under UNSCR 1267, and successor resolutions to strictly enforce existing sanctions against the 142 Taliban, LeT leader Hafiz Saeed, LeT/JUD, al Rashid Trust, al Akhtar Trust and other individuals and entities on the UN 1267 Consolidated List.
(S/REL USA, PAK) We urge your government to support the international community’s efforts to combat terrorist financing. Your government’s views of UNSCR 1267 listing requests for LeT and other Pakistan-based terrorist groups should be made on the merits of the requests and not linked to politics, including what country made the nomination or which countries are referenced in the public statements of the cases.
(S/REL USA, PAK) We urge your government to comply with UN and domestic legal obligations to enforce sanctions on the Pakistan-based, UN-proscribed NGOs al Rashid Trust and al Akhtar Trust, and all successor organizations that continue to funnel money and provide other forms of support to the Taliban and LeT.
(S/REL USA, PAK) We emphasize that social services provided by NGO extremist organizations, such as Jamaat-ud Dawa (JUD) challenge the legitimacy of your government to provide for its people. This includes relief efforts in the Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps of the Northwest Frontier Provinces by the new LeT/JUD charity Falah-e Insaniyat Foundation.
(S/REL USA, PAK) We stress that our governments must work together to ensure that there are moderate alternatives to terrorist-controlled social welfare networks upon which IDPs and other vulnerable populations currently rely. We must work together to develop and support NGOs not affiliated with terrorist groups, and establish a comprehensive oversight and enforcement mechanism for NGOs that is consistent with the Financial Action Task Force’s international standard.
(S//REL USA, PAK) We urge your Government in the strongest possible terms to take action against the Haqqani network, which is funneling weapons and fighters across the border to fight U.S. and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. This network, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani who was listed by the UN under UNSCR 1267, funds its activities through illicit activities, including kidnapping, extortion, bank robbery, narcotics, smuggling, and fraud.
(S//REL USA, PAK) We urge your Government to replace the anti-money laundering decree recently promulgated by your Executive Branch with legislation fully consistent with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations and to ensure that the current decree can stand in court. The FATF Forty Plus Nine Recommendations are international standards, which Pakistan, by virtue of its membership in the Asia-Pacific Group, committed to.

¶15. (U) Qatar background
(S//NF) Department Note: Qatar is one of the four Gulf countries included in the IFTF, and accordingly, the IFTF developed the background information included in para 16 for inclusion in the diplomatic engagement strategy. However, given the current focus of U.S. engagement with the GOQ on terror finance related to Hamas, it would be counter-productive for Embassy Doha to engage the GOQ at this time on disrupting financial support of terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
(S/NF) Qatar has adopted a largely passive approach to cooperating with the U.S. against terrorist financing. Qatar’s overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region. Al-Qaida, the Taliban, UN-1267 listed LeT, and other terrorist groups exploit Qatar as a fundraising locale. Although Qatar’s security services have the capability to deal with direct threats and occasionally have put that capability to use, they have been hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals.
(S//NF) Department Note: The Department has received post’s comments regarding personnel staffing and the thorough description of the coordination process on terrorist finance issues at Embassy Doha (ref F). Department appreciates post’s assessment that GOQ definitions of what constitutes terrorism differs occasionally from those of the USG. Department agrees with post’s suggested approach on this issue of engaging with direct discussions with host government officials.
Points of contact and reporting deadline
¶16. (U) Please direct any questions or comments on this request to EEB/ESC/TFS (Jay J. Jallorina or Linda Recht). Posts are requested to report back on responses from other governments by January 19, 2010. CLINTON