Distanced prince signs letter declaring allegiance to King Abdullah of Jordan

The former crown prince of Jordan said on Monday that he would entrust himself to King Abdullah II and join him as the country’s leader, a setback to his recent withering tirades.

Jordan has been a slave to palace intrigues since the government announced that it had foiled “sinful plans” to destabilize the country that involved outside groups and Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, Abdullah’s former crown prince and half brother.

Authorities placed the prince under house arrest and arrested at least 16 of his associates, including another relative of the royal family and several officials.

In a statement released by the royal court late Monday and signed by the prince, Hamzah said he will adhere to the kingdom’s constitution and affirmed his support for his half brother.

“The interests of the nation must be above all consideration, and we must all support His Majesty the King, in his efforts to protect Jordan and its national interests,” the statement said. “In light of the events of the past two days, I place myself in the hands of His Majesty the King.”

The statement, which had the words handwritten “at the home of my uncle, His Royal Highness Prince Hassan,” ended with a verse from the Qur’an relating to obedience to “those in authority among you.”

Hours earlier, Abdullah commissioned Hassan, paternal uncle of both royals, to “deal with the problem of” Hamzah, who in turn “confirmed his commitment to the rapprochement” of Jordan’s ruling Hashemite family, according to a statement. issued by the palace. Four other princes joined Hassan in the mediation effort, including Hamzah’s brother, Hashem.

The conciliatory words came in counterpoint to the fiery rhetoric of the prince on Saturday, when he criticized his half-brother in two videos leaked to make the country “paralyzed in corruption, nepotism and misgovernment.”

“I am not the person responsible for the government collapse, corruption and incompetence that has prevailed in our governance structure for the past 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse year after year,” he said. .

“I am not responsible for the lack of faith that people have in their institutions. They are responsible, ”he said, in an indirect reference to the king and his government.

He added that, contrary to what his accusers would surely allege, he was not involved in any foreign plot and was instead speaking out against corruption and an inability to dissent.

Hamzah leaked the videos through his lawyer, who later turned them over to the BBC. Speaking in English and Arabic, the prince says most of his communications were cut off and his armed guard withdrew after a visit to his home by the army chief of staff, Major General Yousef Huneiti, who asked him to to stop all “movements”. and activities that were being used to attack Jordan’s security and stability. “

In an audio message posted on social media on Monday and recorded after the army chief’s visit two days earlier, the prince says that Huneiti had threatened him but would defy his court orders. The voice on the recording matches that of the prince.

“Now I am waiting to see what they will do. I don’t want to mobilize because I don’t want to climb right now, but I’m sure I won’t join when they say ‘you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people and you can only see the family,’ ”Hamzah says in the recording.

“For a chief of staff to come and say these words, I think this is not acceptable in any way.”

On Sunday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the prince was at the center of a plot to destabilize the kingdom. Also charged were Bassem Awadallah, a former confidant of Abdullah who had held various high-ranking positions in the government; and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a relative of the royal family who succeeded Awadallah as a special envoy to Saudi Arabia.

Safadi did not provide details about the plot, but said foreign entities were involved, as well as members of the Jordanian opposition abroad. The investigation was ongoing, he said. The word “coup” was not mentioned.

The royal family feud has upset the stability that Jordan has long touted as an achievement in a difficult part of the world. The kingdom, which is mostly desert and has few resources to support its 10 million people, has depended for decades on its strategic location and the generosity of its allies; That includes the US, which counts Jordan as one of its main counterterrorism partners in the region. Jordan borders Israel, the West Bank, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.

Washington was quick to come out in support of Abdullah, adding its voice among regional countries that back whatever moves the monarch may have taken to maintain Jordan’s stability and security.

Before his death in 1999, King Hussein, father of Abdullah and Hamzah, appointed the former as monarch and the latter as crown prince.

At the time, Hussein’s move was seen as wise, with Abdullah able to push the country beyond its recent divisions, while Hamzah, who bears a strong resemblance to his father, maintained relationships with the tribal leaders who were the base. of power of the monarchy.

But Abdullah removed Hamzah from office in 2004 and handed him over to his own son, also named Hussein.

The public broadcast of the complaints has surprised Jordanians who are not used to the real drama seen in neighboring countries. Although the situation had come to an end, said Bessma Momani, a professor of international relations at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, the fight had done some damage to the image of the monarchy.

“They created an internal division in the country,” he said, referring to the two royal figures. “If they could have managed this quietly, they would have served everyone better.”

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