Jordan Says King's Sibling Plotted To Destabilise Country

Laverne Higgins
April 6, 2021

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made a phone call on Sunday to Jordanian King Abdullah II bin Al Hussein to express his support and solidarity. Jordanian authorities had accused Hamzah of being involved in a "malicious plot".

In the video, seen by ABC News, Prince Hamzah denied being part of a foreign plot and encouraged Jordanians to not believe any "forged" narratives. AP's earlier story follows below.

The letter comes after Hamzah's uncle, Prince Hassan, was sent by King Abdullah "to handle the question of Prince Hamzah within the framework of the Hashemite family".

The fast-moving developments have shocked Jordanians unused to the sort of palace intrigue that has often plagued neighboring countries.

Hamzah said he was not allowed to leave his home or meet with other people, according to a video provided by his lawyer to the BBC.

The apparent resolution of the unprecedented public feud capped a weekend of palace drama during which the king had placed Hamzah under house arrest for allegedly plotting with foreign supporters to destabilize Jordan, a key Western ally. Hamzah has denied any role and says he is being targeted for speaking out against corruption and poor governance.

Under the "Abraham Accords" brokered by former U.S. president Donald Trump a year ago, four Arab countries - the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan - agreed to normalise ties with the Jewish state.

"The army chief of staff came to me and issued threats in the name of heads of security agencies", Hamzah says in the recording. "I recorded his comments and distributed them to my acquaintances overseas as well as my family in case something happens".

"I am going to escalate and won't obey when they tell you you can not go out or tweet or reach out to people and are only allowed to see the family", he said in the recording he circulated to friends and contacts. "I think it's a bit unacceptable".

The authenticity of the recording was confirmed by an individual close to the prince, speaking on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

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"I don't want to make moves and escalate now", he said in the audio recording posted on Twitter.

On his end, the Jordanian monarch expressed his honest appreciation towards President Sisi's support, which he said embodies the depth and strength of the historical ties between the two close countries and peoples.

He made his comments while taking part in "Shield of the Nation", a drill that included several brigades, special forces, border guards and the Royal Air Force in the eastern region of the kingdom, the state news agency Petra said.

"Initial investigations showed these activities and movements had reached a stage that directly affected the security and stability of the country, but his majesty decided it was best to talk directly to Prince Hamza, to deal with it within the family", he said. He claimed the prince recorded the conversations, passed them to foreign sources and issued his video message "in an attempt to distort facts and to gain sympathy domestically and internationally".

Safadi declined to identify the alleged foreign parties or say what the charges were, but said that authorities acted because the alleged conspirators were "talking about timing".

Officials said efforts were underway to resolve the crisis within the royal family, in the first such open rift in many years, but Prince Hamzah was not cooperative.

Washington, Gulf allies and the Arab League were quick to stress their support for Abdullah's pro-Western government in Amman, seen as an anchor of stability in the Middle East.

Hamzah is the son of the late King Hussein and his fourth wife, the US-born Queen Noor.

Hamzah, a former crown prince stripped off that title by Abdullah in 2004 - has emerged as a vocal critic of the monarchy, accusing it of corruption, nepotism, and authoritarian rule.

He was named crown prince of Jordan in 1999 and was a favourite of King Hussein, who often described him in public as the "delight of my eye".

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