Economy

Jordan arrests ex-palace aide, others for ‘security’ reasons

Jordan arrests ex-palace aide, others for ‘security’ reasons”

Prince Hamza is not seen as a major threat to Jordan's monarchy and has been marginalised for years, but the move against him represents the first such incident involving a close member of the royal family since King Abdullah came to the throne.

In a videotaped statement leaked to the British Broadcasting Corp., Prince Hamzah bin Hussein said he was visited early Saturday by the country's military chief and told "I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them".

He said that a number of his friends had been arrested, his security had removed and his internet and phone lines had been cut.

In a video statement sent to the BBC later on Saturday, Hamzah had strong words for the security officials who he said had detained him at his home as "a warning".

"May God protect the kingdom from any harm", the statement added.

Hamzah said he told the head of the Jordanian Joint Chiefs of Staff, who arrived at his home, that, "I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse..." And I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions.

The half brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II said Saturday he has been placed under house arrest and accused the country's "ruling system" of incompetence and corruption, exposing a rare rift within the ruling monarchy of a close Western ally. He was, however, asked to stop "movements and activities that are used to target" Jordan's security and stability.

He said an investigation was ongoing and its results would be made public "in a transparent and clear form".

He also emphasised that "no one is above the law and that Jordan's security and stability take precedence over any consideration".

"Jordanian citizens, Hassan bin Zaid, Basem Ibrahim Awadallah, and others were arrested", the state news agency Petra reported, citing a security source. Awadallah, also previously served as planning minister and finance minister and has private business interests throughout the Gulf region.

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Petra did not offer additional details on the arrests, saying that an investigation is underway.

"His Majesty King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa affirmed full support to the decisions and measures taken by HM King Abdulla II Ibn Al Hussein of Jordan to maintain his country's security and stability and defuse all disruptive attempts", state news agency BNA reported.

In addition to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and Lebanon reiterated their support for King Abdullah.

The agency later denied media reports claiming that Hamzah bin Al Hussein, the king's half-brother and former crown prince, had been detained or put under house arrest.

Abdullah succeeded his father King Hussein, who ruled Jordan for almost five decades.

Amman has strong ties with the United Kingdom and the USA, regularly sharing intelligence, and is a key partner in the global campaign against the Islamic State. It borders Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria and Iraq.

Discontent has risen, with Jordanians increasingly angry over the government's handling of the pandemic and its inability to contain the economic devastation wreaked by strong lockdowns and weekend quarantines.

Jordan is one of the most stable and developed nations in the Middle East, despite the scarcity of natural resources and the weight of millions of Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994.



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