Friday, 16 April, 2021

Jordan's Prince Hamzah strikes defiant tone over palace turmoil

RHC issues statement regarding Prince Hamzah RHC issues statement regarding Prince Hamzah
Deanna Wagner | 05 April, 2021, 21:51

Despite the lack of details on how this incident is connected to the former Crown Prince of Jordan Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein, who has appeared in videos saying he is being put under house arrest, Jordanians have been busy digging up information about the two men who have been confirmed arrested. However, regional powers and Western allies, including the United States and UK, have all voiced support for the king. "God bless and keep them safe", she said on Twitter.

Earlier, Hamza's mother Queen Noor, the widow of Jordan's late king, defended her son.

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

While the two 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. "When an army chief of staff says that, this is something that I think is unacceptable".

Hamzah is a popular figure in Jordan, widely seen as pious and modest.

He added that he expected the government to accuse him of being part of an outside plot.

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

Safadi did not provide specifics on the alleged plot or say what other countries were purported to have been involved.

Both the former Chief of the Royal Court Bassem Awadallah and Sharif Hassan Bin Zaid, a member of the royal family have been arrested on Saturday, with officials linking them to "unusual security threats" to Jordan.

In 2005, Awadallah became the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation before taking the Finance department.

He accused the prince of seeking to mobilise "clan leaders" against the government, adding that the plot had been "nipped in the bud" at the "zero hour".

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On Sunday, Jordan's opposition released a recording in which a defiant Prince Hamzah said he would not obey orders from the authorities.

Safadi accused Awadallah, now a prominent businessman in the Gulf, of handling the contacts with foreigners.

He also claimed an individual with links to foreign intelligence services had offered services to Hamzah's wife on Saturday afternoon to try to get her out of the country.

Prince Faisal, however, said there was "no such meeting". The offer, he said, was based on the "strong personal friendship" between their families.

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.

Saudi Arabia was among the first to voice support for the king.

While very little information has been revealed about Sharif Hassan Bin Zaid, including his ties with Saudi Arabia, alleging financial investments he has in the neighboring kingdom, the internet was filled with accounts on the former royal aid now under arrest; Bassem Awadallah.

Echoing statements of support by other allies and neighbours of Jordan, Morocco's King Mohammed VI held a phone call with King Abdullah II in which he expressed solidarity and support for the country's security measures, Morocco's royal palace said on Sunday.

"We support the decisions taken by King Abdullah II to preserve Jordan's security and ensure its stability and unity". The kingdom hosts some 3,000 American troops.

That placed Jordan, which serves as the custodian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem _ and is home to a large Palestinian population _ in a delicate position. That included Israel, which signed a peace treaty with its neighbor in 1994. It borders Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Iraq. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, speaking after the detentions, described Jordan as a "strategic ally". Jordan, which remained largely untouched by the Arab Spring that swept through Middle Eastern monarchies ten years ago, has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 7,000 deaths.

Hamzah, 41, had Saturday released a video message via the BBC in which he accused Jordan's rulers of nepotism and corruption and charged that he had been placed under house arrest.