Jordan's Prince Hamzah Strikes Defiant Tone over Palace Turmoil

Elias Hubbard
Апреля 5, 2021

The Jordanian government initially denied reports that Prince Hamzah had been arrested, but a video first obtained by the BBC said that he was under house arrest and had his phone and internet access restricted. Domestically, Hamzah's unprecedented criticism of the ruling class - without naming the king - could lend support to growing complaints about poor governance and human rights abuses in Jordan.

The state news agency said on Saturday that Bassem Awadallah, a USA -educated long-time confidant of the king who later became minister of finance and also advisor to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid had been detained, along with others.

Maintaining the security and stability of Jordan is an essential pillar of Arab security, Wam quoted him as saying.

He denied being part of "any conspiracy or nefarious organization", but said that the country of 10 million people had "become stymied in corruption, in nepotism and in misrule" and that nobody was allowed to criticize the authorities.

The official emphasized that an investigation is ongoing to determine the involvement of the prince and foreign parties that threatened Jordan's security and stability.

"When they (security services) intercepted certain communications speaking about a zero hour, then it was clear that they (the alleged plotters) moved from designs and planning to action", Safadi said.

What was the reaction in Jordan?

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"Praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander", she wrote on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and other Arab states joined the U.S.in expressing support for King Abdullah.

Revealing details, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Al Safadi said on Sunday that former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein had been in contact with former chief of the royal court, Bassem Awadallah, and other figures inside and outside the country to destabilise Jordan.

The developments are likely to rock Jordan's image as an island of stability in the turbulent Middle East. King Abdullah removed Prince Hamza from his position as heir to the throne in 2004, in a move that consolidated his power. "King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support".

Neighboring countries and allies of Jordan expressed their support for King Abdullah on Sunday. "All the solidarity with the Jordanian leadership and King Abdullah in defending the gains of the Jordanian people, protecting their stability, and refusing interference in their affairs". He was also an adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Stability in Jordan and the status of the king have always been a concern throughout the region, particularly during the Trump administration, which gave unprecedented support to Israel and sought to isolate the Palestinians, including by slashing funding for Palestinian refugees.

It said strategic bilateral relations "will remain an honest and strong guard against any attempts to undermine the security and stability in the two countries and the region".

On Saturday the military said it had issued a warning to the prince over actions targeting "security and stability" in the key US ally.

"We reject all that is destabilising Jordan and endangering the safety of its people", Sheikh Mohamed said. He also attended Harvard University in the USA and has served in the Jordanian armed forces.

Earlier, Hamza's mother Queen Noor, the widow of Jordan's late king, defended her son.

After the late king's death, Hamzah was designated Crown Prince, with Abdullah II ascending to the throne.

His Majesty King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein today holds the trust, going on the path of fathers and grandfathers, reinforcing the building of a dear homeland governed by its constitution and laws, fortified with the awareness and cohesion of its people, and impervious to its well-established national institutions, which enabled Jordan to face all dangers and challenges and defeat them with God's help and care.

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

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