© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi
AMMAN (Reuters) – Unprecedented public criticism of Jordan’s monarchy by a senior royal who has been positioned beneath home arrest has shaken the nation’s image as an island of stability within the Middle East.
On Saturday, Jordan’s army informed King Abdullah’s half brother Prince Hamza bin Hussein to halt actions concentrating on “security 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 beneath home arrest and criticised Jordan’s leaders as a corrupt few who’ve positioned their pursuits above these of the general public.
“Damage has happened. For the first time we have someone rocking the image of that peaceful, stable 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 prior to now yr has seemed to be making ready him intensively for his future position as king.
Meanwhile 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 towards corruption.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a extreme blow to Jordan’s financial system, pushing unemployment to document ranges and deepening poverty.
“The king is a red line.. we will confront firmly any trembling hand that seeks to tamper with the country’s security,” former prime minister Faisal al Fayez informed parliament in an oblique reference to Hamza.
It is 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 just isn’t seen to have any actual clout and people detained as a part of what the army mentioned was an ongoing safety investigation principally quantity his shut aides.
“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,” mentioned a senior politician.
“When he talked about deteriorating governance and silencing of critics, this was very confrontational,” he added, referring to the video.
Any unlikely to pose a critical risk to the monarchy, particularly with out the assist of Jordan’s highly effective army the place the king enjoys widespread loyalty, analysts and political sources mentioned.
“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 analysis fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), informed 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.”
A former U.S. official with information of occasions in Jordan mentioned these didn’t contain a coup. Rather, he mentioned, these collaborating have been planning to push for protests that might seem like a “popular uprising with masses on the street” with tribal assist.
Any try to seize energy would most likely have failed with out the assist of the United States and regional powers, who expressed assist for King Abdullah and any measures wanted to make sure Jordan’s safety.
Nevertheless, Jordanians are attempting to make sense of the palace intrigue.
“There is nothing local I can see that triggered this so there could be the foreign element,” mentioned the previous minister.
The senior politician mentioned Prince Hamza was out of his league. “A foolish, troublesome prince who has not weighed matters well, seeking comfort in this little flirtation with angry tribal elements,” he mentioned.