The Jordanian government has accused King Abdullah’s half-brother, Prince Hamza bin Hussein, of links to foreign parties for plotting to destabilize the country.
Ayman Safadi, deputy prime minister and foreign minister, told a news conference that authorities had intercepted communications between Prince Hamza, a former heir to the throne, and foreign parties.
“These were efforts that threatened Jordan̵
Safadi spoke a day after Prince Hamza was placed under house arrest, in a rare public clash between senior members of the long-ruling family.
The unprecedented incident raised concerns about stability in a country seen as a key Western ally in an unstable region, and sparked outpouring of support for the king.
In a video statement from house arrest, the prince accused the country’s leadership of corruption and incompetence.
Safadi said intelligence agents had been watching the conspirators for some time and had expressed concern to the king. He said the prince had been asked to “stop all those activities and movements that threaten Jordan and its stability”, but he refused.
Safadi did not identify the foreign countries allegedly involved in the plot. But he said a longtime senior official with business connections in several Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, Basem Awadala, was involved and was planning to leave the country. He added that Avadala was trying to secure a place for Prince Hamza’s wife to escape.
The United States, Saudi Arabia and Arab countries in the Middle East have made strong statements in favor of King Abdullah.
The rapid show of support underlined Jordan’s strategic importance as an island of relative stability in the turbulent region. While sharp criticism from a popular member of the ruling family may support growing complaints about the kingdom’s mismanagement, the king’s strong reaction also illustrates the extent to which he will accept public dissent.
Early Sunday, Prince Hamza’s mother, Queen Nur, expressed sympathy for the “innocent victims”.
“I pray that truth and justice prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander. God bless and protect them, “she wrote on Twitter.
Prince Hamza was stripped of the title of heir to the throne in 2004 by King Abdullah, five years after the death of their father, the late King Hussein. The prince is a popular figure in Jordan, widely regarded as pious and humble.