The Jordanian government put the former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein under house arrest in the al-Salaam Palace outside Amman on Saturday and accused him of conspiring to destabilize the country. Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the media that the prince had conspired with the former chief of the royal court, Bassem Awadallah, and former envoy to Saudi Arabia Hassan bin Zaid. Safadi further said that Price Hamzah’s associates had been in contact with elements outside the country who define themselves as external opposition to King Abdullah II, while the prince had himself focused on inciting different tribes and elements of civil society within Jordan. Safadi claimed that Jordan’s security forces had been monitoring the three, and intercepted calls and text messages they exchanged with people outside of the country about the best timing to take action to destabilize Jordan. The Security Forces had arrested some 14-16 individuals over this alleged coup plot.
On other hand, Prince Hamzah claimed that he became a victim of a campaign by the royal palace to crack down on dissent and silence his criticism of the government’s corruption and incompetence. Prince Hamza sent a recorded message to BBC denying his involvement in any conspiracy.
Jordan a Middle Eastern monarch remained a centre of peace and stability in the politically destabilized neighborhood for years. However, there was a looming unrest and dissatisfaction among the masses due to economic policies of the incumbent King Abdullah II over the years and emergence of COVID-19 had worsened the situation. The conflict in the neighborhood also led to the increase in social and economic problems. There were strict laws on freedom of expression, criticism on the King and the government. The monarch has kept a tight hand on the country’s dissents and civil society activists through Jordanian secret Police.
Prince Hamzah Bin Al Hussein is the son of the late King Al Hussein bin Talal and his fourth American born wife Queen Noor. Earlier, Prince Hamza was named the Crown Prince of the Jordan in 1999, however, his half-brother, King Abdullah II, rescinded it in 2004. Prince Hamzah is a graduate of the UK’s Harrow School and attended Harvard University. He has served in the Jordanian armed forces. According to reports, Prince Hamza is very devoted to the public and popular in the Jordanian masses and local tribes. It is said that his arrest came in the backdrop of his recent visit and meeting with the tribal leaders of the country.
According to reports, Prince Hamza had been a critic of the government policies and having popular support, he was emerging has a threat to the Jordanian government. Being the former crown prince, he has such influence in the public and government institutions which can easily turn the tide to overthrow the incumbent government. After the house arrest, Prince Hamza accused the government for corruption, nepotism and incompetence in his video message sent to BBC. As per analysts, Prince Hamza media campaign can easily mobilize the public against the incumbent government of the country.
As per reports, the neighboring countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, UAE, and United States had expressed their support to the government of the King Abduallah II. However, the arrest of Prince Hamza had increased the already existing internal political and economic unrest many folds and put the country into a crisis. The Jordanian government must act to defuse the situation wisely, otherwise it would create another Syria on its soil.