The former Crown Prince of Jordan is under house arrest for an alleged attempted coup in the Hashemite Kingdom. Authorities also arrested two aides following a raid on the palace of Jordanian King Abdullah’s half-brother in the country’s capital, Amman.
Jordanian authorities ransacked the kingdom’s former crown prince’s palace and arrested two of his senior aides after discovering what intelligence officials believe was an attempted coup d’état against the reigning monarch, King Abdullah.
As reported by The Guardian, the arrests focused on a network allegedly linked to Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, King Abdullah’s half-brother, who was stripped of his heir to the throne 16 years ago. As noted by the BBC, Hamza bin Hussein is the son of the previous king of Jordan, Hussein bin Talal, from his fourth wife, Queen Noor. It was expected that he would become the new king – but at the time of his father’s death, the prince was too young, and therefore his half-brother Abdullah (the king’s son from his second wife, Queen Muna) took the throne, who in 2004 stripped Hamza of the crown prince’s status … The king’s letter to his brother, which was read on Jordanian state television, said: “Your occupation of this symbolic position limits your freedom and prevents us from assigning certain responsibilities to you that you can fully fulfil.”
Prince Hamza recorded a video stating that he was under house arrest and was told to stay at home and not get involved with anyone.
Speaking in English in a video broadcast by his lawyer to the BBC, the prince said he was not involved in any overseas conspiracy and called the ruling system corrupt.
“The well-being (of the Jordanians) was put on the back burner because the ruling system decided that its personal interests, financial interests and corruption were more important than the life, dignity and future of the 10 million people who live here,” said Prince Hamza Ben Hussein.
According to the BBC, according to the prince, he is forbidden to go out, he is denied access to the Internet and telephone communications. These actions are associated with the fact that he made critical statements about the authorities and personally the King of Jordan.
“I am not to blame for the corruption, incompetence and diplomatic crisis that have been flourishing in our country for the past 15-20 years,” the BBC quoted Prince Hamza as saying. “And I am not to blame for the lack of trust of citizens in the institutions of power.”
The Jordanian military leadership has denied reports of the arrest of Prince Hamza. However, intelligence officials in the region and in Europe said they believed the prominent royal court had in fact been placed under house arrest.
Roads near Prince Hamza’s palace in Jordan’s capital Amman were blocked by military units late Saturday night, while police patrolled all city entrances and highways to other parts of the country.
Military Commander Yousef Ahmed al-Hunait said in a statement that he was “asked to stop movements and activities that were used for the security and stability of Jordan.”
State media have named the arrested assistants. One of them, Sharif Hassan bin Zayed, was formerly Jordan’s envoy to Saudi Arabia and is the brother of a high-ranking Jordanian intelligence officer who was killed in 2010 by an al-Qaeda double agent in Afghanistan (reported by the New York Times). The suicide attack also killed five CIA officers.
Another detainee, Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, was the head of the royal court and, according to Western officials, was especially close to King Abdullah. A government statement describes the alleged conspiracy as “advanced” and claims to have regional ties.
According to The Guardian, Turki al-Sheikh, an adviser to the Saudi royal court, later tweeted a series of photos of King Abdullah and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman with the accompanying note “No comment, the photos speak (for themselves).” Riyadh also issued a short statement, which says: “We support Jordan and we support the decisions of King Abdullah II aimed at preserving the security of his country.”
Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine also supported King Abdullah, as did the Arab League. The US State Department said King Abdullah is a “key partner” and enjoys his full support.
Arrests of senior officials and members of the royal family in Jordan, considered one of the most stable countries in the Arab world, are rare, notes The Guardian.
It was believed that King Abdullah, who ruled the country after the death of his father, King Hussein, in 1999, did not face serious organized opposition during his reign. Balancing the country’s powerful tribes alongside shrinking incomes, an explosive parliament and a series of fragile governments has been particularly challenging in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Hashemite Kingdom as a whole was seen as a bulwark of stability in a troubled region.
USA supported the King of Jordan
The US government fully supports King Abdullah II of Jordan, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.
“King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support,” the statement said as reported by REUTERS news agency.
The US Government maintains contacts with Jordanian officials.
Earlier it was reported that the ex-head of the office of the King of Jordan, Bassem Avadallah, the former special envoy of the king in Saudi Arabia, al-Sharif ibn Zeid, and several high-ranking officials were detained in Amman.