Sunday, 09 May, 2021


Jordan arrests ex-palace aide, others for ‘security’ reasons

Abdullah II addressing policemen at the Public Security Directorate in Amman Abdullah II addressing policemen at the Public Security Directorate in Amman
Noah Ferguson | 05 April, 2021, 06:37

He added that security forces sent a recommendation to King Abdullah to refer the case to the State Security Court. Prince Hamza later said he was under house arrest.

"Prince Hamzah worked to incite and mobilize against the country", the minister said.

In a video published by the BBC, former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein said several of his friends had been arrested, his security detail removed and his communications cut, adding that the kingdom had become "stymied in corruption, in nepotism, and in misrule".

Those activities, Safadi said, included the incitement of prominent figures at home as well as conferring with foreign entities overseas "regarding the most suitable time to commence steps to shake the security of our defiant Jordan".

What was the reaction in Jordan?

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Hamzah's mother, Noor, weighed in on Twitter, writing Sunday: "Praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander".

In a statement by the Jordanian Chief of Staff, Gen. Yousef Huneiti, denied that Prince Hamzah was detained or under house arrest but confirmed he was asked to stop activities that are used to target Jordan's security and stability.

Since the news broke Saturday, #Prince_Hamzeh has trended on Twitter, along with messages of solidarity with the prince from followers in Jordan and overseas.

He said that Jordan's crackdown on any sort of criticism has stoked fear in the country.

His comment came during a meeting of top officials as they mark the 100th anniversary of the Jordanian state.

According to the Petra State Office, US-trained Bassem Awadallah, confidant of the King for years and, among others, Secretary of the Treasury for some time, and Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid were also arrested.

Awadallah, a proponent of economic reforms, resigned as chief of the royal court in 2008 amid allegations of interference in sensitive political and economic issues.

These included a foreign intelligence agency contacting Hamzah's wife to organise a plane for the couple to leave Jordan, he said. Kamhawi and other observers say they believe that Abdullah's tolerance of overtures by Hamzah and his associates to dissident tribesmen and opposition figures had worn thin, so the king chose to act, signaling, "Be careful; there should be a limit to what you do".

A growing list of Arab countries have voiced their support for King Abdullah.

Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian analyst, told the Associated Press that Hamzah likely crossed a line for the royal family by indicating he might be an alternative to the long-ruling king.

A file picture shows Jordanian King Abdullah II, addressing policemen at the Public Security Directorate in Amman. Jordan, a resource-poor desert kingdom slightly smaller than ME, retains outsize importance because of its reputation for stability. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait all expressed solidarity with the king.

What is the situation in Jordan?

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He has cultivated close relations with USA and other Western leaders over the years, and Jordan was a key ally in the war against the Islamic State group.

"The country has really suffered under the COVID-19 pandemic economically".

"There were efforts that threatened Jordan's security and stability and these efforts were foiled", the minister said.

The pair were detained for "security reasons" after a "close" operation, Petra said, quoting a security source.

On the subject of talks this coming week about the Iranian nuclear deal, Prince Faisal said Saudi Arabia had been given assurances that any new deal would be more demanding of Iran when it comes to its ballistic missile capabilities and its support for armed groups in the region.

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