Thursday, 17 June, 2021


Aoun Voices Support for Jordan after Security Sweep

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a hearing in his corruption trial at the Jerusalem district court on 8 February 2021 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on 8 February 2021
Patty Aguilar | 06 April, 2021, 11:21

Jordan, whose royal family traces its lineage back to Prophet Muhammad, has been ruled since 1999 by 59-year-old Abdullah II, the oldest son of the revered late King Hussein and his second wife, the British-born Princess Muna.

The alleged plot "included at least one other Jordanian royal as well as tribal leaders and members of the country's security establishment", the USA daily added.

Hamzah denied the accusations against him in a footage published online.

"The interests of the nation must be above all consideration, and we must all stand behind his majesty the king, in his efforts to protect Jordan and its national interests", said the statement.

This was an apparent reference to Saturday's events when Jordan's army chief visited Hamzah and - according to the prince's description - imposed restrictions on his movement and ability to communicate with the outside world. Hamzah was joined by his brother Hashem and three of their cousins.

The government has accused Hamzah of involvement in a seditious conspiracy to "destabilize the kingdom's security", placed him under house arrest, and detained at least 16 more people.

"I'm not responsible for the lack of faith that people have in their institutions".

He said that "this regrettable incident was the result of the clumsy actions of a senior security official and misrepresentation by a government official", adding that "it should have remained a family matter".

Hamzah leaked the videos through his lawyer, who then gave them to the BBC. "I expect this talk is not acceptable in any way", he said in the recording circulated to friends and contacts.

Jordanian authorities said on Sunday they had foiled a "malicious plot" by Hamzah to destabilize the kingdom with foreign support.

Huneiti, the military chief, on Monday said the armed forces and security agencies had "the capacity, competence and professionalism" needed "to face. any attempt to undermine the security of the homeland".

"I'm now waiting to see what they will do".

"For a chief of staff to come tell you these words, I think that this is not acceptable in any way".

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 state news agency said on Saturday that Bassem Awadallah, a US -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.

Safadi said the security services have asked for those involved in the plot be referred to the state security court.

Such public clashes between the highest ranks of the long-ruling family are unheard of, and any signs of instability in Jordan could raise concerns throughout the region.

Washington, Gulf allies and the Arab League were quick to stress their support for Abdullah's pro-Western government in Amman, seen as an anchor of stability in the Middle East.

Neighbouring Saudi Arabia reacted swiftly to developments in Amman.

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.

Abdullah and Hamzah are both sons of the late King Hussein, who remains a beloved figure two decades after his death.

While Abdullah and Hamzah are said to have good relations generally, Hamzah has at times spoken out against government policies, and more recently had forged ties with powerful tribal leaders in a move seen as a threat to the king.

But Abdullah removed Hamzah from the role in 2004 and handed it to his own son, also named Hussein.

Jordan, a country of some 10 million people, has been shaken by a series of crises in recent years, from the rise of the Islamic State group in neighbouring countries to an influx of Syrian refugees and an economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Although the situation had reached a denouement, said Bessma Momani, a professor of worldwide relations at Waterloo University in Ontario, the fight had caused some damage to the monarchy's image.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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