Facts about Jordan’s former crown prince in isolation
|King Abdullah stripped Prince Hamzah of his title of crown prince in 2004.|
The former crown prince of Jordan is accused of trying to mobilize tribal leaders against the government, the country's deputy prime minister says.
Prince Hamzah bin Hussein worked with "foreign entities" to destabilise the state, Ayman Safadi said.
The prince had earlier released two videos to the BBC, claiming he was being held under house arrest.
Who is Hamaz bin Hussein- Former crown prince of Jordan?
Jordan’s ruling family traces its lineage back to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Prince Hamzah was born on March 29, 1980, in the capital Amman. He is the half-brother of King Abdullah II.
When their father King Al Hussein bin Talal passed away from cancer in 1999, Abdullah, 59, was crowned and Hamza was titled the crown prince of Jordan.
The designation was out of respect for King Hussein, who ruled for nearly 50 years and was known to have favoured Hamza the most among his 11 children from four marriages.
However, King Abdullah stripped him of this title five years later and gave it to his own eldest son Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, 26.
King Abdullah, 59, removed Hamza from his position as crown prince in 2004, thwarting the ambitions of his stepmother Queen Noor who had groomed her eldest son for the throne since childhood. King Abdullah said he had decided to “free” Prince Hamzah “from the constraints of the position of crown prince in order to give you the freedom to work and undertake any mission or responsibility I entrust you with”.
|King of Jordan Abdullah II.|
Stripped of any power, Hamza was subsequently sidelined. King Abdullah consolidated his power by making his son Hussein the heir apparent and in the past year has appeared to be preparing him intensively for his future role as king.
Meanwhile Hamza has been building ties with disgruntled tribal leaders at the head of loose anti-government protest movement called the Herak, which in recent weeks resumed its calls for protests against corruption.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to Jordan's economy, pushing unemployment to record levels and deepening poverty.
What is Hamaz bin Hussein accused of?
Responding to the fallout on Sunday, Mr Safadi said Prince Hamzah had used the videos to distort facts and incite empathy, according to the state news agency, Petra, according to BBC.
He told a news conference that the prince had been liaising with foreign parties about destabilising the country and had been being monitored for some time.
The prince is accused of seeking to mobilise "clan leaders" against the government.
But the plot had been "nipped in the bud", Petra quoted the deputy PM as saying.
Mr Safadi went on to allege that a man with links to foreign security services had offered Prince Hamzah's wife, Princess Basmah, a flight out of Jordan. He did not specify which foreign security service was apparently involved.
Mr Safadi said officials had tried to discourage the prince rather than take legal action against him, but that Prince Hamzah had "dealt with this request negatively". He noted that dialogue was ongoing.
Regional powers including Egypt, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have voiced support for King Abdullah in the wake of the operation.
The United States, which is allied with Jordan in its campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group, described the monarch as a key partner who has its full support.
The UK also backed the king. "The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a greatly valued partner for the UK," said James Cleverly, minister for Middle East and North Africa.
How did Hamaz bin Hussein reveal his situation?
Prince Hamzah said he had been told by the Jordanian military that he shouldn't leave his home, suggesting he has been put under house arrest.
"I had a visit from the Chief of the General staff of the Jordanian Armed Forces this morning, in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out to communicate with people or to meet with them, because that in the meetings that I had been present in or on social media relating the visits that I've made, there's been criticism of the government or the King," he said in the video, which the BBC says was sent to it by the prince's lawyer.
The clip emerged as Jordan's state news agency Petra reported that another member of the royal family, Hassan bin Zaid and the former head of the royal court, Basem Awadallah, were arrested on Saturday due to "security reasons."
Speaking in English in a video passed by his lawyer to the BBC, Prince Hamzah said he was not part of any conspiracy and denounced the ruling system as corrupt.
“[Jordanians’] wellbeing has been put second by a ruling system that has decided that its personal interests, financial interests, that its corruption is more important than the lives and dignity and future of the 10 million people who live here,” he said.
Abdullah and Hamzah have not displayed any open rivalry over the years. In the videotaped statement, a portrait of King Hussein could be seen on the wall behind the prince, who currently holds no official position.
How did political sources say about the case?
It is unclear why the kingdom decided to crack down on Prince Hamza at this moment, but political sources say he put himself at risk with frequent visits to tribal gatherings where people openly criticise the king.
"He is allowing himself to be part of a critical machine against the ruling system, when he was going to tribal gatherings who were criticising the ruling establishment even when he was not saying anything," said a senior politician.
"When he talked about deteriorating governance and silencing of critics, this was very confrontational," he added, referring to the video.
Although unprecedented, Hamza's open dissent is unlikely to pose a serious threat to the monarchy, especially without the support of Jordan's powerful military where the king enjoys widespread loyalty, analysts and political sources said.
"You can't carry out a coup in a country like Jordan without the involvement of the military. As of now, there is no such indication," Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and now senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), told Israel's Army Radio.
"This is the only force with any kind of significance, with the ability to take over government ministries, over power centres. With all due respect to the prince - he does not have this ability."
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