SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Jordan’s military has told King Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Hamza bin Hussein to halt actions targeting “security and stability” in what people familiar with the matter said could be related to a plot to destabilize the country.
In a statement published by the state news agency, the military said the warning to Prince Hamza 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.
Prince Hamza said in a video recording he was under house arrest and had been told to stay at home and not contact anyone.
Speaking in English in the video, passed by his lawyer to the BBC, he said he was not part of any foreign conspiracy and denounced the ruling system as corrupt.
“[Jordanians’] well being 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 ten million people who live here,” he said.
Earlier, army chief Yusef Huneity denied reports the prince had been arrested but said he was told to “stop activities that are being exploited to target Jordan’s security and stability”.
Two people familiar with the situation told Reuters that security forces had arrived at his small palace and begun an investigation. King Abdullah dismissed Prince Hamza as heir to the throne in 2004 in a move that consolidated his power.
The Washington Post said Jordanian authorities detained the former crown prince and arrested nearly 20 other people after what officials called a “threat to the country’s stability”.
A former U.S. official with knowledge of events in Jordan said the plot, which he described as credible and broad-based but not imminent, did not involve a “physical coup.” Rather, he said, those involved were planning to push for protests that would appear to be a “popular uprising with masses on the street” with tribal support.
Jordan would investigate whether there was a foreign hand in the plot, said the former U.S. official.
Prince Hamza is not seen as a major threat to Jordan’s monarchy and has been marginalized for years, but the move against him represents the first such incident involving a close member of the royal family since King Abdullah came to the throne.
The authorities have become increasingly concerned with his efforts to build ties with disgruntled figures within powerful tribes.
Arrests of top officials and royal family members are rare in Jordan, seen as one of the Arab world’s most stable countries.
Prince Hamza, who had been groomed by his mother Queen Noor to succeed his late father King Hussein, has been pushed into the political wilderness since he was sacked as crown prince.
Some opposition figures have rallied around him, a move that has displeased the king, officials familiar with the situation said.
Abdullah succeeded his father King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for nearly five decades.
The Jordanian Hashemite dynasty’s tradition under the 1952 constitution gives the succession to the eldest son but the monarch retains the option of naming a brother.
King Abdullah has succeeded in bringing political stability to the country and gaining stature as a prominent Arab leader whose message of moderation has found an echo, especially in Western forums.
Awadallah, who was a driving force behind economic reforms before he resigned as chief of the royal court in 2008, has long faced stiff resistance from an old guard and an entrenched bureaucracy that flourished for years on government perks.
Global reaction to Jordan security developments
The Saudi royal court voiced its “full support” for King Abdullah and all decisions taken by him to maintain security and stability. Egypt, Lebanon, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Qatar also stood by him. The U.S. State Department said the king was a “key partner” and had its full backing.
Here are responses from different countries and groups:
“We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials. King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in an email.
“The kingdom affirms its full support, with all its capabilities, to all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah and His Highness Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, the Crown Prince, to maintain security and stability,” the Saudi royal court said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said Jordan’s stability and prosperity was the “basis for the stability and prosperity of the whole region” and vowed “firm and lasting” support for it.
“The Iraqi government affirms that it stands with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II, in any steps taken to preserve the security and stability of the country and take care of the interests of the brotherly people of Jordan, in a way that boosts their presence, by relying on measures that aim to extend the respect of the state,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
United Arab Emirates
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs stressed the UAE’s full support for all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah and his crown prince to maintain Jordan’s security and stability and “to defuse any attempt to impact them”.
Senior Emirati official Anwar Gargash said on Twitter Jordan’s “wise policy to build bridges in a turbulent region was not an easy choice but was, and remains, the necessary direction”.
Egypt voiced support for King Abdullah and his efforts “to maintain the security and stability of the kingdom against any attempts to undermine it,” its presidency spokesman wrote on Facebook.
“His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa affirmed full support to the decisions and measures taken by HM King Abdulla II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan to maintain his country’s security and stability and defuse all disruptive attempts,” state news agency BNA said.
Gulf Cooperation Council
In a statement, GCC Secretary General Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf said the bloc affirmed its full support for all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah to preserve the security and stability of Jordan.
“Jordan’s security and safety is a fundamental basis for the security and safety of the Arab world,” Lebanese Prime Minister designate Saad al-Hariri said on Twitter. “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.”
Kuwait’s foreign ministry expressed its support to all measures taken by King Abdullah and his crown prince to maintain the security and stability of Jordan, adding “the security and stability of the kingdom are that of Kuwait”.
Qatar expressed its full solidarity with Jordan and its full support to the decisions and measures issued by King Abdullah to preserve security and stability, and boost the process of progress and prosperity, state news agency QNA said.
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.”
Yemen’s internationally recognized government “affirms its absolute support and totally stands with all decisions and measures taken by His Majesty King Abdullah aimed at maintaining security and ending any attempts to destabilize the sisterly Kingdom of Jordan,” state news agency Saba said.
“Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that we stand by the sisterly Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the king, the government, and the people,” official Palestinian news agency WAFA said in a statement.
“We support the decisions taken by King Abdullah II to preserve Jordan’s security and ensure its stability and unity.
“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 secretary-general of the Arab League expressed full solidarity with the measures taken by the Jordanian leadership to maintain the security of the kingdom and maintain the stability,” the Arab League said in a statement on its Facebook page, citing Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
“He also stressed his confidence in the leadership’s wisdom and its keenness to secure the country’s stability in parallel with the respect for the constitution and the law.
“Ahmed Aboul Gheit added that King Abdullah II has a high and appreciated position, whether among the Jordanian people or on the Arab level in general, and that everyone knows his sincerity and his great role in serving Arab causes.”
(Esta Media Network/Reuters)