The former Crown Prince of Jordan, removed from the line of succession since 2004, has now returned to the political spotlight. Prince Hamzah revealed that he was under house arrest in the palace where he lives in Amman at the behest of the Jordanian regime and the country’s authorities accuse the member of the royal family of trying to “destabilize the security” of the country. Although there was never a public confrontation, tensions within the royal family had been visible for some time.
Jordan is one of the most stable nations in the Middle East, so when on Saturday King Abdullah II’s half brother and ex-heir to the crown claimed to be under house arrest, the news was received with strangeness by the international community.
Accused by the Jordanian authorities of having had “contact with external parties about the most appropriate time to start acting to destabilize security”, Prince Hamzah revealed, in a video sent to the BBC, that he was unsafe and prevented from communicating with the outside . Still in the same message, the son of the late King Hussein accused the Jordanian regime of being corrupt and placing the population at the mercy of a system of personal and financial favoring the monarch.
The family tension felt within the monarchy of Jordan
The alleged conspiracy comes at a time when discontent among the Jordanian people is growing. Before the covid-19 pandemic, the country already faced slow economic growth, but it worsened with the stop of tourism, one of the most important sectors for the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Just last month, the Middle East kingdom had small but intense demonstrations, on the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the country’s Arab Spring protests.
For years, Prince Hamzah was marginalized and because of that he was never considered a threat to Jordan’s monarchy. However, an analyst of the country’s political situation, who declined to be identified for security reasons, assured the agency France-Presse (AFP) that recently Prince Hamzah “has increased criticism of what he considers to be corruption in the government in his circle. of friends”. According to him, “there is a certain resentment on his part because he never fully digested the loss of the title of heir”.
Hamzah is the youngest son of the former King Hussein, the result of his marriage to Queen Noor, of American origin. Before he died in 1999, Hussein appointed Hamzah as crown prince and his elder brother Abdullah, eldest son, as king, but in 2004 the title of crown prince was withdrawn and conferred on Abdullah II’s eldest son, as required by the constitution in the country.
Although there were no signs of rivalry between the two brothers, in 2018 Hamzah criticized the established government policy, accusing policymakers of “failed management” after the passage of an income tax law.
Despite denying any conspiracy against the current king in power, the ex-heir to the crown continues to criticize the government in power: “I am not responsible for the collapse in governance, the corruption and incompetence that have prevailed in the structure of the Government in the past 15 to 20 years. 20 years “, stressed the Jordanian prince in the video sent to the BBC.
“The well-being [dos jordanos] was placed in second place by a system that decided that personal and financial interests and that corruption were more important than the life, dignity and future of the 10 million people who live here “, he continued.
“I am not responsible for the lack of faith that people have in their institutions,” concluded Prince Hamzah.
The lawsuit against Prince Hamzah represents the first such incident involving a close member of the royal family since King Abdullah came to the throne. Jordanian journalist Rana Sweis told the BBC that tensions within the royal family had been visible for some time.
This is because “the former Crown Prince is very popular. He is very similar to his father, King Hussein, and is also very popular with local tribes,” said Rana Sweis. Hamzah’s criticisms have given voice to a people increasingly dissatisfied with the country’s economic and social course.
At the end of 2020, a report by the Jordanian Women Solidarity Institute reported that about 1.4 million Jordanians live on a monthly income equivalent to 80 euros, while more than 70,000 people live on less than 50 euros a month.
Jordan faces great challenges to achieve sustainable development, which requires the elimination of hunger, the achievement of health and well-being, gender equality, work, economic growth and the reduction of inequalities.
Prince Hamzah: the late King Hussein’s favorite son
Hamzah bin Hussein is the youngest son of King Hussein and his last wife, Queen Noor. He was often described, in public, as the “boy of the eyes” of his father and for this reason he was regarded as the king’s favorite.
At the time of the king’s premature death from illness in February 1999, Hamzah was very young and inexperienced and Abdullah, the eldest son of Princess Muna, Hussein’s second wife, took the throne. Respecting the wishes of his dying father, Abdullah appointed Hamzah the crown prince.
But Hamzah did not hold that position for long. Just five years later, in 2004, Abdullah removed Hamzah from the succession. “The opportunity to become king has eluded him twice: when his father died prematurely – he was too young – and when his brother withdrew his title” of heir, the Jordanian analyst told AFP.
Due to the physical resemblance to his parent, the Jordanian prince has never ceased to be a beloved figure in the country, seen as modest and religious. He is a former soldier and pilot, just like his father, who was educated at the best colleges in England and attended Harvard University in the USA.
Hamzah’s house arrest, accused of participating in meetings at which the king was criticized, is seen as an effort by Abdullah II to avoid threats to his position in Jordan. According to the analyst who spoke to France-Presse, “the royal blood may have saved him from prison”, this is because in the “royal family, a prince is not imprisoned, he is left out”.
In recent times, Prince Hamzah has taken an active role in the country’s politics, through visits to tribal elders, to discuss the state of the nation, and even through criticism on social media of the government.
This Tuesday, the Attorney General of Amman banned the publication of information about Prince Hamzah. “The ban on publication concerns all audio, visual and social media as well as images or videos on the subject, under penalty of criminal prosecution,” said the statement by Attorney Hassan al-Abdallat.
As part of the alleged sedition against the monarch, dozens of senior officials have already been detained, including Cherif Hassan ben Zaid, a former director of the King of Jordan’s office.
On Monday, local media reported the resolution of the crisis, with the daily Al Rai as headline “Aborted plan to undermine Jordan’s stability and security” and “Buried burgeoning germination”, while Al Dustur also referred to ” burial of sedition “and the newspaper Al Gad went further in announcing the defeat of the” conspiracy of delusions “.
* with agencies
Get the latest news delivered to your inbox
Follow us on social media networks