After alleged coup attempt, Jordan’s King Abdullah signals end to royal feud
By Shira Rubin and Sarah Dadouch,
Vincent Kessler Reuters
TEL AVIV — Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Wednesday that the “discord” that has roiled the kingdom for days has “been stopped,” signaling a resolution to a rare royal rift that resulted in the house arrest of Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the former crown prince, and the detention of several Jordanian officials who were accused of plotting a foreign-backed coup against the monarchy.
“The challenge over the past few days was not the most difficult or dangerous to the stability of our nation, but to me, it was the most painful. Sedition came from within and without our one house, and nothing compares to my shock, pain, and anger as a brother and as the head of the Hashemite family, and as a leader of this proud people,” King Abdullah said in a statement.
“Prince Hamzah pledged before the family to follow in the steps of the ancestors, remain loyal to their mission, and to put Jordan’s interest, Constitution, and laws above all considerations. Hamzah today is with his family, at his palace, in my care,” the king said.
President Biden spoke with Abdullah on Wednesday to affirm “strong U.S. support for Jordan and underscore the importance of King Abdullah II’s leadership to the United States and the region,” according to the White House. In a statement, it said the two leaders discussed Jordan’s “important role” in the Middle East and the strengthening of ties between the countries.
Asked about the call while speaking at the White House, Biden said he had told the king that “he has a friend in America and to stay strong.”
Jordan’s Royal Court said in a statement that Biden had “expressed the complete solidarity of the United States of America with Jordan, and its support to the kingdom’s procedures and decisions to preserve its security and stability.”
On Saturday, the Jordanian military placed Hamzah, the king’s half brother, under house arrest and arrested at least 16 other high-ranking Jordanian officials on charges of “promoting sedition,” with the collaboration of unnamed foreign entities.
From house arrest on Saturday night, Hamzah sent a video to the BBC in which he expressed a scathing critique of the monarchy, but on Monday he signed a loyalty pledge to the king.
The United States, in addition to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and a slew of other regional allies, quickly voiced support for the monarch on Saturday.
But speculation about the alleged foreign involvement intensified after a high-ranking Saudi delegation, headed by a Saudi minister for foreign affairs, arrived in Amman for an unscheduled visit on Monday. During meetings with Jordanian counterparts, the Saudi officials requested the release of Bassem Awadallah, one of the prominent Jordanians arrested on Saturday, according to a senior Middle Eastern intelligence official whose government monitored the events.
Awadallah is a former senior official in the royal court and former special Jordanian representative to the Saudi government.
Prince Hamzah, 41, has held multiple positions within the monarchy and is a brigadier general in the army. With his trim mustache and checkered kaffiyeh headdress, he is often likened to his father, the late, widely revered King Hussein. Hamzah and Abdullah are both his sons, but have different mothers.
Hamzah served as Jordan’s crown prince for four years until 2004, when the title was transferred to Abdullah’s eldest son, Hussein.
Dadouch reported from Istanbul.