Jordan arrests 16 suspects over plot to destabilise country

Joanna Estrada
April 5, 2021

The move is within the framework of comprehensive joint investigations conducted by the security apparatuses, which resulted in the arrest of royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zeid and former minister Bassem Awadallah, among others, according to the state-run Petra news agency.

The widow of Jordan's late king today defended her son, former Crown Prince Hamza Bin Hussein, against allegations by the authorities that he carried out actions targeting "security and stability" in the kingdom.

The Post reported that tribal leaders and members of the Jordanian security establishment were said to have been involved in the plot.

Jordan's Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday that Hamzah and others were planning to "undermine the security" of Jordan, adding that a total of 14-16 people had been arrested on security charges.

Hamzah - a former crown prince stripped off that title by Abdullah in 2004 - has emerged as a vocal critic of the monarchy, accusing it of corruption, nepotism and authoritarian rule.

Hamzah, however, remained a popular figure of Jordan's royal family, bearing an uncanny resemblance to his father, and was seen as modest and religious.

"Some members of the royal family have been trying to instrumentalise Jordan's economic and governance problems to present themselves as reformists who possess the solution to Jordan's challenges", said Ms Khatib.

Safadi said Awadallah was in contact with the so-called "foreign opposition", which aimed to incite the people against the Jordanian state.

Who else has been arrested?

The country's top general had earlier denied that Hamzah was detained or under house arrest.

At the time, however, Hamzah was seen as too young to be named Hussein's successor, and Abdullah took the throne.

"[Jordanians'] wellbeing has been put second by a ruling system that has decided that its personal interests, financial interests, that its corruption is more important than the lives and dignity and future of the 10 million people who live here", he said.

"We are closely following the reports and are in touch with Jordanian officials".

The US also expressed support for King Abdullah II, describing him as a key partner.

Security services monitored "contacts with foreign parties aiming to destabilise Jordan's security", including an alleged offer to spirit Hamzah's wife out of the country, he said.

Regional powers including Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have voiced support for King Abdullah in the wake of the operation.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia reacted swiftly to developments in Amman.

"We support the steps taken by King Abdullah to maintain Jordanian national security, stressing that Jordan's security and stability is a supreme Palestinian interest".

The United States, the United Kingdom and Gulf allies rallied behind the king, highlighting Jordan's strategic importance in the region.

Before becoming royal court chief in 2007, he was head of the king's cabinet in 2006.

It declared independence in 1946.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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