Jordan's ex-crown prince says under 'house arrest'

Ruben Fields
April 5, 2021

Several suspects have been arrested in a security sweep in Jordan, as the army cautioned a half-brother of King Abdullah II against damaging the country's security.

In a statement published by the state news agency, the military said the warning to Prince Hamzah was part of a broader, ongoing security investigation in which a former minister, a junior member of the royal family and unnamed others were detained.

Hamza bin Al-Hussein was a former crown prince of Jordan, but was removed as heir to the throne by King Abdullah in 2004 in what was seen as a consolidation of power.

It was reported that the prince was kept in his palace in the capital, Amman, on charges of a "coup attempt" and among those detained were people from the nation's security service.

But Hamzah was stripped of his title just five years later and pushed into the political abyss when Adbullah gave the role to his eldest son, 26-year-old Al Hussein bin Abdullah II.

Tensions within the royal household had been visible for some time, Jordanian journalist Rana Sweis told the BBC.

Deputy PM Ayman Safadi says King Abdullah's half brother Hamzah and others had worked with foreign parties to "undermine the security" of Jordan.

Who else has been arrested?

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of the Middle East Tahir Ashrafi has expressed Islamabad's solidarity with Jordanian authorities, following an alleged plot to destabilise the country.

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Mr Safadi said that a "foreign intelligence agency" had been in contact with Prince Hamza's wife to supply them with a plane out of the country.

In line with his father's dying wishes, Abdullah named Hamzah crown prince.

"I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, for the corruption, and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years, and has been getting worse by the year", Prince Hamzah said in the video.

Saudi Arabia was among the first to voice support for the king. He also attended Harvard University in the USA and has served in the Jordanian armed forces.

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

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

The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Morocco, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Qatar, Iran, Yemen, Israel, Palestinian territories, Romania and Ukraine also issued statements in solidarity with Jordan's security.

"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".

Despite having little oil wealth and severely lacking water, the kingdom has managed to survive repeated wars in the region which have sent waves of refugees across its borders.

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