Friday, 16 April, 2021

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

Jordan arrests ex-palace aide, others for ‘security’ reasons Jordan's army: Prince Hamza not arrested, but asked to stop activities
Ginger Lawrence | 04 April, 2021, 20:20

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

The United States, which considers Jordan a critical ally and has partnered with the country for years on US -led counterterrorism operations, said that Abdullah had its "full support".

Jordan's powerful intelligence agency, with a pervasive influence in public life, has played a bigger public role since the introduction of emergency laws at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic a year ago, which civic groups say violate civil and political rights.

General Yousef Huneiti, the army chief of staff, denied reports on Saturday that Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, a former crown prince, was arrested.

Abdullah succeeded his father King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for almost five decades. The rare video blamed the government for corruption, incompetence and intolerance for public dissent and was viewed as a scathing critique of the ruling monarch - though King Abdullah II was not mentioned by name.

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.

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.

Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and other regional governments also quickly expressed support for Abdullah in what was seen in part as a testament to Jordan's strategic significance in the region.

"The investigations found foreign interference and contacts including contacts with foreign parties around the best timing to begin taking steps to undermine the security of our Jordan", Safadi added.

Safadi said that the Prince recorded two videos in English and Arabic, in another attempt to distort facts and gain foreign sympathy, "in a way that reflects his intentions and the reality of the activities he has been carrying out for some time".

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"In light of these investigations, the security services raised a recommendation to His Majesty King Abdullah II, may God protect him, to refer these activities and those in charge of them to State Security Court to conduct the legal requirements after the initial investigations showed that these activities and movements have reached a stage that directly affects the security and stability of homeland", Safadi added.

Safadi said Awadallah was in contact with the so-called "foreign opposition", which aimed to incite the people against the Jordanian state.

However, Jordan's powerful Gulf allies voiced support for King Abdullah II.

"We support the decisions taken by King Abdullah II to preserve Jordan's security and ensure its stability and unity".

"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".

King Abdullah had appointed Hamzah crown prince in 1999 in line with their father Hussein's dying wishes, but in 2004 stripped him of the title and gave it to his own eldest son, Hussein.

Before becoming royal court chief in 2007, he was head of the king's cabinet in 2006.

The news agency reported earlier on Saturday that Jordanian security forces had arrested a former adviser to King Abdullah and others on "security related" grounds.

It declared independence in 1946, and despite having little oil wealth, severely lacking water and repeatedly being rocked by wars on its borders, the kingdom has managed to survive the regional upheavals.