Palace intrigue harms Jordan’s steady picture By Reuters



© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg


(This story has been refiled so as to add dropped phrase in paragraph 14)

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) – Unprecedented public criticism of Jordan’s monarchy by a senior royal who has been positioned below home arrest has shaken the nation’s picture as an island of stability within the Center East.

On Saturday, Jordan’s army informed King Abdullah’s half brother Prince Hamza bin Hussein to halt actions focusing on “safety and stability” in the important thing U.S. ally.

In unusually powerful language recorded on a video handed by his lawyer to the BBC, Prince Hamza, 41, mentioned he had been positioned below home arrest and criticised Jordan’s leaders as a corrupt few who’ve positioned their pursuits above these of the general public.

“Harm has occurred. For the primary time we now have somebody rocking the picture of that peaceable, steady kingdom,” mentioned a former minister.

King Abdullah, 59, eliminated Hamza from his place as crown prince in 2004, thwarting the ambitions of his stepmother Queen Noor who had groomed her eldest son for the throne since childhood.

Stripped of any energy, Hamza was subsequently sidelined. King Abdullah consolidated his energy by making his son Hussein the inheritor obvious and previously yr has seemed to be making ready him intensively for his future position as king.

In the meantime Hamza has been constructing ties with disgruntled tribal leaders on the head of unfastened anti-government protest motion referred to as the Herak, which in current weeks resumed its requires protests in opposition to corruption.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a extreme blow to Jordan’s economic system, pushing unemployment to document ranges and deepening poverty.

“The king is a crimson line.. we’ll confront firmly any trembling hand that seeks to tamper with the nation’s safety,” former prime minister Faisal al Fayez informed parliament in an oblique reference to Hamza.

It’s unclear why the dominion determined to crack down on Prince Hamza at this second, however political sources say he put himself in danger with frequent visits to tribal gatherings the place individuals overtly criticise the king.

Hamza will not be seen to have any actual clout and people detained as a part of what the army mentioned was an ongoing safety investigation largely quantity his shut aides.

“He’s permitting himself to be a part of a important machine in opposition to the ruling system, when he was going to tribal gatherings who have been criticising the ruling institution even when he was not saying something,” mentioned a senior politician.

“When he talked about deteriorating governance and silencing of critics, this was very confrontational,” he added, referring to the video.

Though unprecedented, Hamza’s open dissent is unlikely to pose a critical menace to the monarchy, particularly with out the help of Jordan’s highly effective army the place the king enjoys widespread loyalty, analysts and political sources mentioned.

“You possibly can’t perform a coup in a rustic like Jordan with out the involvement of the army. As of now, there isn’t a such indication,” Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and now senior analysis fellow at Tel Aviv College’s Institute for Nationwide Safety Research (INSS), informed Israel’s Military Radio.

“That is the one pressure with any form of significance, with the power to take over authorities ministries, over energy centres. With all due respect to the prince – he doesn’t have this means.”

A former U.S. official with data of occasions in Jordan mentioned these didn’t contain a coup. Somewhat, he mentioned, these participating have been planning to push for protests that may look like a “well-liked rebellion with lots on the road” with tribal help.

Any try to seize energy would most likely have failed with out the help of the US and regional powers, who expressed help for King Abdullah and any measures wanted to make sure Jordan’s safety.

However, Jordanians try to make sense of the palace intrigue.

“There may be nothing native I can see that triggered this so there may very well be the overseas ingredient,” mentioned the previous minister.

The senior politician mentioned Prince Hamza was out of his league. “A silly, troublesome prince who has not weighed issues properly, looking for consolation on this little flirtation with indignant tribal components,” he mentioned.

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