Friday, 16 April, 2021

Arab states voice support for major security sweep in Jordan

The half-brother of King Abdullah and former heir to the throne said in the recording released by the country’s opposition that he would not comply after being barred from any activities and told to keep quiet. — AFP  File Jordan arrests ex-palace aide, others for ‘security’ reasons
Cecil Davis | 05 April, 2021, 12:24

The move is within the framework of comprehensive joint investigations conducted by the security apparatuses, which resulted in the arrest of royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zeid and former minister Bassem Awadallah, among others, according to the state-run Petra news agency.

The Jordanian Ammon news agency, citing an "informed source", claimed that Israeli Roy Shaposhnik had contacted the wife of former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein and offered to fly her out of the country with their children.

Hamzah was asked to "stop some movements and activities that are being used to target Jordan's security and stability", Gen. Yousef Huneiti was quoted as saying by the official Petra news agency.

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.

At the time of the king's premature death from illness in February 1999, Hamzah was very young and Abdullah, the eldest son of Princess Muna, Hussein's second wife, acceded the throne.

These close ties are reportedly the reason why the Israeli made a decision to help Hamzah's family following the investigation into the alleged coup.

Safadi, who is also foreign minister, said another 14 to 16 suspects had been arrested.

Who else has been arrested?

Australia's Brisbane lifts snap virus lockdown ahead of Easter
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she would raise the high numbers of overseas-acquired cases in national cabinet next week. Queensland Health have meanwhile said Anzac Day events will go ahead in the state on April 25 as long as they are Covid-safe.

Officials announced on Sunday that Prince Hamzah had liaised with people who had contacts with foreign parties in a plot to destabilise the country and he had been under investigation for some time.

The Washington Post has, meanwhile, alleged the former crown prince was "placed under restriction" as part of a probe into an alleged plot to unseat the king.

In his videos, Prince Hamzah, the king's half-brother, said he had been told he could not go out or communicate with people. Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, all Sunni-majority countries, have for years aligned together against Shia Iran. Jordan is home to more than 2 million Palestinian refugees, most of whom have Jordanian citizenship.

"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. "King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support", US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in an email. Abdullah has cultivated close relations with U.S. and other Western leaders over the years, and Jordan was a key ally in the war against the Islamic State group.

"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".

Hamzah is a popular person in Jordan, having strong ties to tribal leaders. Before becoming royal court chief in 2007, he was head of the king's cabinet.

He had played a key role pushing for economic reforms in the country before he resigned in 2008 amid criticism over alleged interference in sensitive political and economic issues.