Jordanian politics

Markhor

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http://www.euronews.com/2013/09/10/mayhem-as-mp-fires-ak-47-at-colleague-in-jordan-s-parliament/

Well that's one way of trying to get a bill passed !

An MP tried to shoot his colleague after a row in Jordan’s parliament.

Talal al-Sharif fired an AK-47 at fellow-MP Qusay Dmeisi, but he missed and Dmeisi escaped unharmed.

The two had earlier had a fierce parliamentary exchange.

Afterwards al-Sharif went outside to fetch his assault rifle.

He was stopped by guards as he returned to the parliament, forcing him to fire from the hallway.

The Jordanian parliament had a similar incident last year when one member of Parliament threatened his opponent with a pistol while being interviewed by a local TV station.

The case is expected to be handed over to police and there have been calls for the MP to be dismissed.
 
Lol at arab politicians.Can they even do any thing other then grabbing each others shirt.
 
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-56626370

The former crown prince of Jordan says he has been placed under house arrest as part of a crackdown on critics.

In a video passed to the BBC by his lawyer, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the half-brother of King Abdullah, accuses the country's leaders of corruption, incompetence and harassment.

It comes after a number of high-level arrests said to be linked to an alleged coup plot.

The military earlier denied Prince Hamzah was under house arrest.

But it said he had been ordered to stop actions that could be used to target Jordan's "security and stability".

The move apparently comes after a visit by the prince to tribal leaders where he is said to have garnered some support.

Prince Hamzah has denied any wrongdoing and said he was not part of any conspiracy.

Meanwhile, regional powers including Egypt and Saudi Arabia have voiced support for King Abdullah. The United States, which is allied with Jordan in its campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group, described the monarch as a key partner who has its full support.

Jordan has few natural resources and its economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also absorbed waves of refugees from the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

What does the prince say?

In the video recorded on Saturday, he says the chief of the general staff told him he was not allowed to go out or communicate with people because of criticisms of the government or king voiced at meetings where he had been present.

He says he was not accused of making the criticisms himself.

However, he went on to say: "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.

"It has reached a point where no-one is able to speak or express opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened."

Tensions within the royal household had been visible for some time, Jordanian journalist Rana Sweis told the BBC.

"The former crown prince is also seen as popular. He has a very candid resemblance to his father, King Hussein, and he is also very popular with the local tribes," she said.

Prince Hamzah's message in full

Its powerful intelligence agency has gained extra powers since the pandemic began, drawing criticism from rights groups.

This is a royal crisis that appears to have spun badly out of control. While Jordan's royals are not the first of the world's royal families to experience that this year, Jordan does have some unique problems of its own.

Its economy, already challenged before the advent of Covid, is in poor shape and there is rising public dissatisfaction. Now, in a video message reminiscent of the one from Dubai's imprisoned Princess Latifa, the son of Jordan's late King Hussein has accused his government of corruption, nepotism and incompetence.

He says all his staff have been arrested, he and his family have been placed under house arrest in the al-Salaam Palace outside Amman and his communications have been restricted.

In the video, passed to the BBC, he describes a country gripped by fear where anyone who criticises the government risks arrest by the secret police.

Who is Prince Hamzah?

The oldest son of the late King Hussein and his favourite wife Queen Noor, Prince Hamzah is a graduate of the UK's Harrow School and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He also attended Harvard University in the US and has served in the Jordanian armed forces.

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".

However, he was seen as too young and inexperienced to be named successor at the time of King Hussein's death.

Instead his older half-brother, Abdullah, ascended the throne and stripped Hamzah of the title of crown prince in 2004.

The move was seen as a blow to Queen Noor, who had hoped to see her eldest son become king.

Following the latest developments, Queen Noor sent prayers for "truth and justice".

Others detained on Saturday include Bassem Awadallah, a former finance minister, and Sharif Hassan Bin Zaid, a member of the royal family.

Mr Awadallah, an economist who was educated in the US, has been a confidant of the king and an influential force in Jordan's economic reforms.

He has often found himself pitted against entrenched government bureaucracy resistant to his plans.
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jordan-security/jordan-says-prince-liaised-with-foreign-parties-over-plot-to-destabilise-country-idUSKBN2BR0DM?il=0

Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday that King Abdullah’s half-brother and former heir Prince Hamza had liaised with foreign parties over a plot to destabilise the country and had been under investigation for some time.

On Saturday the military said it had issued a warning to the prince over actions targeting “security and stability” in the key U.S. ally. Prince Hamza later said he was under house arrest. Several high-profile figures were also detained.

“The investigations had monitored interferences and communications with foreign parties over the right timing to destabilise Jordan,” Safadi said.

These included a foreign intelligence agency contacting Prince Hamza’s wife to organise a plane for the couple to leave Jordan, he 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 to prevent it from being exploited,” he said.

The developments are likely to rock Jordan’s image as an island of stability in the turbulent Middle East. King Abdullah removed Prince Hamza from his position as heir to the throne in 2004, in a move that consolidated his power.

Although he has been marginalised for years, Prince Hamza has angered the authorities by forging ties with disgruntled figures within powerful tribes.

These people, members of loosely organised opposition groups known as Herak and a vocal opposition based abroad, have in recent weeks called for protests against corruption in a country hard hit by the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, pushing unemployment to record levels and deepening poverty.

Earlier, Hamza’s mother Queen Noor, the widow of Jordan’s late king, defended her son.

“Praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander,” she wrote on Twitter. “God bless and keep them safe.”

Safadi said the security services have asked for those involved in the plot be referred to the state security court.

Jordan’s neighbours and allies expressed solidarity with King Abdullah over the security measures in the kingdom, an important ally of the United States.

Echoing statements of support by other allies and neighbours of Jordan, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI held a phone call with King Abdullah II in which he expressed solidarity and support for the country’s security measures, Morocco’s royal palace said on Sunday.

Some opposition figures have rallied around Prince Hamza in a move that has displeased the king, officials familiar with the situation said.

But most politicians believe Prince Hamza will be silenced, with little prospect of him posing any threat given that the army and security forces who are backbone of support for the Hashemite dynasty are firmly behind the monarch.

“I think King Abdullah has confirmed himself in the saddle and his son Hussein has consolidated himself as the heir to the throne,” said Jawad al Anani, who served as the last royal court chief under the late King Hussein. “This is a page turner event.”
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jordan-security/estranged-prince-hamza-defies-jordans-military-in-voice-recording-idUSKBN2BS0VK?il=0

Jordan’s estranged Prince Hamza said in a voice recording released on Monday that he would disobey orders by the army not to communicate with the outside world after he was put under house arrest and accused of trying to destabilise the country. The half-brother of King Abdullah and former heir to the throne said in the recording released by Jordan’s opposition that he would not comply after being barred from any activity and told to keep quiet.

While Prince Hamza is not seen as a direct threat to the king, his actions suggest he wants to shore up his position with the Jordanian public after being removed from the royal succession.

“For sure I won’t obey when they tell you that you cannot go out or tweet or reach out to people but are only allowed to see the family. I expect this talk is not acceptable in any way,” he said in the recording circulated to friends and contacts.

On Saturday, the military warned him over actions it said were undermining “security and stability” in Jordan, and he later said he was under house arrest. Several high-profile figures were also detained.

“The situation is difficult ... and the chief of staff came to me warning me and I taped his words and distributed it to friends abroad and my family in case something happens and now I am waiting to see what they will do,” Prince Hamza said in the recording.

Officials said on Sunday Prince Hamza had liaised with people who had contacts with foreign parties in a plot to destabilise Jordan, an important ally of the United States, and that he had been under investigation for some time.

The intrigue is likely to shake Jordan’s image as a haven of stability in the unpredictable Middle East.

It is unclear why the kingdom decided to crack down on Prince Hamza now, but he put himself at growing risk by stepping up visits in recent weeks to tribal gatherings where the king and his government have been criticised more openly.

Public anger has also increased since nine COVID-19 patients died when oxygen ran out in a newly built state hospital, exposing negligence blamed on official mismanagement and corruption. Protests were broken up with tear gas.

The prince went to the homes of those who died to pay condolences, hoping to upstage the monarch who had earlier gone to the hospital to defuse anger, officials say.

Efforts were underway to resolve the situation but Prince Hamza was not cooperative, the officials say. It is the first such open rift in the royal family in many years.

King Abdullah removed Prince Hamza from his position as heir to the throne in 2004.

In a video passed to the BBC by Prince Hamza’s lawyer on Saturday, the prince accused Jordan’s leaders of corruption, apparently hoping to tap into the public’s frustrations.

Prince Hamza is not seen as a threat to the monarchy, which enjoys the support of the army and security services, but has gained sympathy among Jordanians sceptical of the government’s accusations about his foreign links, saying it was a campaign to defame him.

“This is character assassination without evidence,” said Ali R. al Tarawneh in a tweet.

A supporter identified only as Razan said on Twitter there was “no good in a country that imprisons its prince.”

Others felt he was driven only by revenge at being sidelined and wanted to win popularity in tribal gatherings by emulating, in tone and language, his late father, who is revered by many Jordanians.

Prince Hamza is the oldest son of the late King Hussein and his wife Noor, who had groomed him as a future monarch. He has served in the Jordanian armed forces.

He angered the royal palace by trying to endear himself to a poor tribal constituency that has felt the impact of a shrinking economy and the state’s inability to keep creating jobs that have long absorbed tribesmen in rural and Bedouin areas.

Officials said between 14 and 16 people had been arrested in connection with the alleged plot.

The state news agency said those arrested included Bassem Awadallah, a U.S.-educated confidant of the king who became minister of finance and adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid

Jordan’s neighbours and allies have expressed solidarity with King Abdullah over the security measures in the kingdom.
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jordan-security/jordan-bans-media-coverage-of-royal-rift-saudi-reaffirms-support-idUSKBN2BT104?il=0

Jordan banned all news outlets and social media users on Tuesday from publishing any content related to King Abdullah’s half-brother Prince Hamza after the latter was accused of plotting to destabilise the country.

Prince Hamza pledged allegiance to King Abdullah on late on Monday after mediation by the royal family, two days after the military warned him over actions it said were undermining “security and stability” in Jordan and placed him under house arrest.

“To safeguard the secrecy of the investigations being undertaken by the security services in relation to His Highness Prince Hamza bin Hussain and others, Amman’s public prosecutor has decided to ban the publication of everything related to the investigations at this stage,” the state news agency reported.

It said the ban applied to all news outlets as well as social media platforms.

Jordan has long placed media gags on publishing news on cases that are deemed sensitive. Civil activists and rights campaigners say the authorities are curbing free speech.

Prince Hamza said in a voice recording released by Jordan’s opposition on Monday that he would not comply after being barred from any activity and told to keep quiet.

The government accuses Prince Hamza, who was heir to throne until King Abdullah removed him from the position in 2004, of liaising with people linked to foreign parties in a plot to destabilise Jordan and that he had been under investigation for some time.

While not considered a direct threat to the king, Hamza in recent weeks visited tribal gatherings where the king and his government have been criticised more openly, suggesting he may have been trying to shore up his position with the Jordanian public after years of being sidelined following his removal as crown prince.

The state news agency said those arrested included Bassem Awadallah, a U.S.-educated confidant of the king who became minister of finance and adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and royal family member Sharif Hassan Ben Zaid.

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan delivered a message reaffirming Saudi support for Jordan, the Jordanian foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

The Saudi minister arrived on Monday in Amman and met with his Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi, the ministry said.
 
Jordan Prince Hamzah: How Saudi Arabia fits into the crisis

Saudi officials have categorically denied suggestions their country had any role in the alleged coup attempt in Jordan.

On Saturday Jordan's popular former Crown Prince Hamzah was placed under de facto house arrest and accused of undermining national security after attending tribal meetings where King Abdullah, his half-brother, was openly criticised. Prince Hamzah then released to the BBC two videos, calling his country's government corrupt and incompetent, and saying that people were afraid to speak out for fear of harassment by the security forces.

The crisis has since been de-escalated after mediation by the king's uncle, but speculation is rife as to what Saudi Arabia's role has been in this crisis.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, flew to the Jordanian capital Amman with a delegation in order, say Saudi officials, to "express complete solidarity with Jordan's King Abdullah and his government". This, they said, was the single, unified Saudi position and any suggestion that Saudi Arabia was involved in trying to destabilise its much smaller neighbour was "far-fetched nonsense".

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-56654108.
 
The main fault of the current king in MBS/Uae's eyes is that he is against giving up AL Aqsa and against deal of century

I said MBS because mainstream Saudi opinion including King Salman supports Jordans kings in that stance

Now Jordan probably will get large payments under the table from Saudi in return from not publicly mentioning their role in the coup attempt

A famous Israeli Mossad guy had tweeted on 1st April that Jordan will see some movements....

If you notice the Jordanian PM's speech, he pretended that Saudi/UAE had nothing to do with it, though everyone knows who is behind it.

Another fun fact: UAE has been buying up a lot of Palestinian land near Aqsa and for nefarious purposes....
The main guy arrested in Jordan was the guy who helped with these land purchases
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jordan-security-royals-rift-insight/the-sudden-visit-to-covid-victims-families-that-sparked-jordans-royal-rift-idUSKBN2BV374?il=0

When Prince Hamza visited the relatives of COVID-19 patients who died after a hospital ran out of oxygen, he triggered a rift in Jordan’s monarchy that has shaken the country’s reputation as a stable country in a volatile region.

The March 14 visit to the city of Salt was, in the words of a senior establishment figure, the “straw that broke the camel’s back”, coming as it did hours after King Abdullah had visited the hospital and publicly scolded management for the nine deaths.

Hamza made the trip to console the bereaved six days before Prince Hussein went to the city to do the same, a move that some officials said had upstaged his younger rival for the throne.

Reuters spoke to more than a dozen officials, former officials and palace insiders about the events leading to the accusations against Hamza. They spoke on condition of anonymity in order to be able to discuss sensitive issues.

Eight people familiar with the situation said that Hamza’s visit had undermined his half-brother the king, and prompted authorities to place him under house arrest and accuse him of involvement in activities aimed at destabilising the country.

While Hamza and Abdullah have publicly buried the hatchet, the dramatic events of the weekend exposed faultlines within a royal family that has helped shield Jordan from the turmoil that consumed neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

Hamza was widely expected to have succeeded Abdullah as Jordan’s next king, until the monarch made Prince Hussein his heir instead in 2004, in line with family tradition.

Some experts worry that the feud could re-ignite, given underlying problems in Jordan like poverty, joblessness and rising COVID-19 deaths which they said contributed to tensions spilling into the open.

“The family feud is over, yet we have to address the issues that prompted it ... unemployment, COVID-19 management and poverty,” Jawad al Anani, who served as the last royal court chief under the late King Hussein, told Reuters.

“These are the causes (of) ... the frustration that pushes people to follow their own idols.”

Hamza could not be reached for comment on the causes of the palace rift and his motives for visiting the bereaved families.

The palace declined to comment, when asked what had prompted the government to move against Hamza, who has not been seen in public since the feud erupted.

On Wednesday, King Jordan said sedition had been quashed and Hamza was “under my care”. Hamza pledged allegiance to the king after mediation by the royal family.

Officials said between 14 and 16 people had been arrested in connection with the alleged plot. Hamza, 41, was warmly welcomed by families of the deceased in Salt during his visit in March.

Small protests over the hospital’s oxygen shortages had broken out across Jordan, and some participants were chanting the prince’s name and calling on him to save the country. The hospital could not be reached for comment early on Friday, which is a weekend in Jordan.

The monarch, 59, has been pushing his 26-year-old son Hussein increasingly into the spotlight, has been seen at his side on most public occasions and often accompanies him on foreign visits.

Hamza’s activities were a concern to the king long before events came to a head last month, according to some prominent politicians.

The prince, son of the late King Hussein and Queen Noor, has nurtured close ties with Jordan’s tribes, who dominate the security forces and form the bedrock of support for the kingdom’s Hashemite monarchy.

This year he stepped up his trips to rural and provincial areas to meet disgruntled tribal leaders who formed a loose opposition movement called Herak, many of whose members are army and security retirees.

On social media he appeared sitting in Bedouin tents sipping tea and conversing with elders who were critical of the king for failing to provide them with enough jobs or financial security.

Although Hamza rarely voiced his opinion publicly, the palace saw the prince’s outreach as a bid to undermine King Abdullah and his son’s growing profile as a champion of equal opportunity for the country’s youth, several sources familiar with palace thinking said.

It also flouted rules that require any royal to inform the palace of visits to public places, three palace officials added.

Security forces had been following Hamza’s every step and informing the monarch more regularly about his activities at a time of rising public discontent over record unemployment and poverty, according to three people familiar with the situation.

When asked about the monitoring, a security official said it was the job of intelligence agencies to protect the country’s safety.

Over the last decade, anger with the authorities over worsening living standards and alleged corruption has triggered major civil unrest in Jordan, mainly in the provincial and Bedouin areas where Hamza has reached out to local leaders. Tribal member Abdullah Huwaitat recalled a visit earlier this year by the prince to a gathering in southern Jordan where Hamza told them his father, who had a strong affinity with tribes, would never have allowed conditions to deteriorate as they had done in Jordan.

Two attendees said Hamza expressed sympathy for their views that the country was being poorly managed. Reuters could not independently confirm their account.

Over the last 20 years, Hamza cultivated loyalty by emulating his father’s language, voice, behaviour and even attire. Tribal sources said the well-mannered, Western-educated prince made a point of learning the dialects of every tribe.

As his popularity appeared to grow, authorities felt the time had finally come to step in.

“He left us with no option,” said one senior political figure.

Army chief of staff Yousef Huneiti arrived at Hamza’s palace in Amman at around 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Hamza was told that mixing with disaffected tribes was a “red line” that he should not have crossed.

In an audio recording leaked by Hamza on social media, the prince reacted angrily: “Sir, forgive me, where were you 20 years ago? I was the Crown Prince in this country by order from my father, may Allah have mercy on him.

“I made an oath to him that I would continue to serve my country and people so long as I am alive.”

An army spokesman was not immediately available for comment on the episode.

Prince Hamza also said in a video recording passed by his lawyer to the BBC that he was under house arrest and had been told to stay at home and not contact anyone.

Speaking in English in the video, he said he was not part of any foreign conspiracy and denounced the ruling system as corrupt.

“(Jordanians’) wellbeing has been put second by a ruling system that has decided that its personal interests, financial interests, that its corruption is more important than the lives and dignity and future of the ten million people who live here,” he said.
 
The United Nations human rights office has said that it was unclear whether Jordan’s Prince Hamzah remains under de facto house arrest and voiced concern at what it called a lack of transparency surrounding at least 16 detentions.

“We’d like to state that aside from broad accusations it appears that no charges have been yet brought and we are concerned at the lack of transparency around these arrests and detention,” UN human rights spokeswoman Marta Hurtado on Friday told a Geneva news briefing where she was asked about the case.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on Wednesday sedition had been quashed after a rift with his half-brother and former heir Hamzah, whom the government had accused of links to efforts destabilise the country.

The crisis in the royal family erupted during the weekend, when Jordan’s military chief of staff visited Prince Hamzah and warned him to stop attending meetings with critics of the government.

Things quickly escalated, with Hamzah accusing the security establishment of threatening him and ordering the general to leave his home.

The former crown prince said he was then held under house arrest, and authorities detained other people, including former senior officials.

AdThe government accused Hamzah of being part of a “malicious plot” to destabilise the country with foreign support, but the following day, it said the royal family had resolved the dispute.

Hamzah signed a letter in which he promised to abide by the traditions and approaches of the ruling Hashemite monarch family, the royal court said in a statement on Monday.

Abdullah said an investigation will be carried out in accordance with the law, and that the next steps will be governed by “the interests of the homeland and of our loyal people”.

https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/...r-arrests-in-jordan?__twitter_impression=true
 
n an audio recording leaked by Hamza on social media, the prince reacted angrily: “Sir, forgive me, where were you 20 years ago? .”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-IuNkAuv3U

This is an extraordinary dialogue between the 2

Throughout the clip, the Armed forces chief speaks in a very low voice and using "Sir" though he is delivering a threat.
The prince is angry throughout and in the end he still kind of apologizes before saying to the army chief to never come back like this.

Jordan is split between Palestinians and native tribal Jordanians. The Royal family themselves are transplants from the Hejaz

While the previous King tried to maintain, with varying levels of success, a balance between the 2 groups, King Abdullah may be seen as being too pro Palestinian by native Jordanians.

As a result tribal Jordanians are open to people like Prince Hamza who they see as someone more willing to address their grievances

King Abdullah is in an unenviable position. Many Islamists see him as too pro western and too soft on Israel, on the other hand the MBS faction of Saudi Arabia and Egypt see him as too harsh with Israel.

Prince Hamzas mother, Queen Noor, is Syrian with American nationality. She wrote a book previously blaming Palestinians for some of Jordans problems
 
The main fault of the current king in MBS/Uae's eyes is that he is against giving up AL Aqsa and against deal of century

I said MBS because mainstream Saudi opinion including King Salman supports Jordans kings in that stance

Now Jordan probably will get large payments under the table from Saudi in return from not publicly mentioning their role in the coup attempt

A famous Israeli Mossad guy had tweeted on 1st April that Jordan will see some movements....

If you notice the Jordanian PM's speech, he pretended that Saudi/UAE had nothing to do with it, though everyone knows who is behind it.

Another fun fact: UAE has been buying up a lot of Palestinian land near Aqsa and for nefarious purposes....
The main guy arrested in Jordan was the guy who helped with these land purchases

That's cause Jordan is over 70% Palestinian and the Queen is also Palestinian so they can't ever support the so called "deal of the century".
 
n an audio recording leaked by Hamza on social media, the prince reacted angrily: “Sir, forgive me, where were you 20 years ago? .”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-IuNkAuv3U

This is an extraordinary dialogue between the 2

Throughout the clip, the Armed forces chief speaks in a very low voice and using "Sir" though he is delivering a threat.
The prince is angry throughout and in the end he still kind of apologizes before saying to the army chief to never come back like this.

Jordan is split between Palestinians and native tribal Jordanians. The Royal family themselves are transplants from the Hejaz

While the previous King tried to maintain, with varying levels of success, a balance between the 2 groups, King Abdullah may be seen as being too pro Palestinian by native Jordanians.

As a result tribal Jordanians are open to people like Prince Hamza who they see as someone more willing to address their grievances

King Abdullah is in an unenviable position. Many Islamists see him as too pro western and too soft on Israel, on the other hand the MBS faction of Saudi Arabia and Egypt see him as too harsh with Israel.

Prince Hamzas mother, Queen Noor, is Syrian with American nationality. She wrote a book previously blaming Palestinians for some of Jordans problems

They're all very mixed up, even King Abdullah is half English and King Hussain was half Circassian so them fighting for the Bedouins is kind of ironic.
 
That's cause Jordan is over 70% Palestinian and the Queen is also Palestinian so they can't ever support the so called "deal of the century".

Even if Jordan was only 30% Palestinian they cant afford to support that deal as they will be next on Israels target list.
 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jordan-security-royals-rift/jordans-king-abdullah-and-estranged-prince-hamza-make-first-joint-appearance-since-rift-idUSKBN2BY0CE

Jordan’s King Abdullah and former crown prince and half-brother Prince Hamza made their first joint appearance since a rift shook the country, attending a ceremony on Sunday marking 100 years of independence. State media showed the monarch and other members of the royal family laying wreaths at the memorial to the unknown soldier and tombs of royalty in the Raghdan palace in Amman.

Hamza pledged allegiance to King Abdullah late on Monday following mediation by the royal family, two days after the military warned him over actions that it said were undermining Jordan’s security and stability.

On Wednesday, in the first statement since the affair came to light, King Jordan said sedition had been quashed and Hamza was “under my care” with his family at his palace.

The monarch said the crisis was “the most painful” because it came from both inside the royal family and outside it. Hamza’s absence after he appeared in a video on April 3 saying he had been ordered to stay at home and accused the country’s rulers of corruption and authoritarian rule led to speculation about his whereabouts.

In announcing last week that the military had warned Hamza over his actions, the government said that Hamza had liaised with people linked to foreign parties seeking to destabilise Jordan and that he had been under investigation for some time.

Hamza had been widely expected to succeed Abdullah as Jordan’s next king, until the monarch made his own son, Prince Hussein, heir instead in 2004, in line with family tradition.

While Hamza and Abdullah have publicly buried the hatchet, the dramatic events of the last week exposed faultlines within a royal family that has helped shield Jordan from the turmoil that has consumed neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

The rift within the monarchy has shaken the country’s reputation as a stable country in a volatile region.
 
https://www.ft.com/content/9ca9e091-8899-463e-b68a-84938191c11a?accessToken=zwAAAXjl00bgkdOcqeCRiJlGPtO2ioSTgZHBGg.MEUCIGt8-7JNOI9CjufHSLEkcP4qRAkfjFgtTUnRzZEDlOAjAiEApj82sIaspruaNx35FC7jWA8Yg5-VCI8tYO-lPODc7W8&sharetype=gift?token=c5571773-1251-4934-ae11-0ee0c2c003da

About eight years ago, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein brought an idea to his half-brother, the King of Jordan. For years, the many tentacled Jordanian security and intelligence services had been at odds with each other, caught up in a decades-long battle for control of the most powerful institutions in the Arab kingdom. Two previous chiefs of the Dairat al-Mukhabarat, or General Intelligence Directorate, had been jailed for corruption.

“It was a dark period,” says a western diplomat. “Open corruption, inter-services turf battles, briefing and counter-briefing on each other, completely eroding their effectiveness.”

Unseated as crown prince in 2004, Prince Hamzah had been asked by King Abdullah to come up with a plan to make himself useful to the Hashemite dynasty. That day, says a person briefed on the exchange, the brash prince made a bold suggestion: unite all the military intelligence services into one wing and place him in charge. King Abdullah declined. Placing Prince Hamzah — who the king had passed over in favour of his own son for succession to the throne — in such a powerful position was “unthinkable”, says the person.

Since that rejection, Prince Hamzah, 41, has pursued a different track — making deep inroads into the far-flung and disaffected tribes that a century ago helped create what grew into the modern state of Jordan. Now a minority in their own country, some tribal leaders complain of being left behind, with their young people unemployed. In the prince, they found a sympathetic ear.

“He would ask us how we were,” says Dahham Methqal al-Fawwaz, a 38-year-old tribal leader from the Serdi clan in the north of the country, close to the border with Syria. “And he would listen, when I would tell him of the sadness in people’s faces, grim with the hardships they have to bear.”

That tactic — courting the tribes — eventually brought the ambitious prince and the rest of the ruling family into open conflict two weeks ago, with Prince Hamzah placed under house arrest, stripped of all means of electronic communications and eventually subdued into signing a pledge of allegiance to the 59-year-old King Abdullah.

The extraordinary public feud has pulled back the veil on long simmering tension among one of the Arab world’s most respected royal dynasties. Jordan’s western-educated ruling elite, compliant intelligence agencies and reliability have made the kingdom a staunch and dependable ally for its closest friend, the US, which has rewarded it with billions in aid.

At least 18 more people, described by the government as co-conspirators in a seditious plot, have been arrested and a sweeping investigation is being carried out, spearheaded by the Mukhabarat. Intercepted WhatsApp and other messages described to the FT by Jordanian officials paint a pattern that goes beyond the cultivation of a rival power base — they suggest active collusion with Bassem Awadallah, a Jordanian adviser to Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's crown prince who reportedly dislikes the Jordanian king. The messages are said to include a discussion of various dates when the prince could call on his supporters to join street protests.

The officials say Prince Hamzah asked members of this message group, including Awadallah, if he should throw his support behind a series of independently planned protests on March 24, called by a youth movement that has previously organised Arab spring-inspired demonstrations for political reform.

Is it the right time, Prince Hamzah is said to have asked Awadallah, in a text message described to the FT. “I don’t want to move too quickly,” he said, according to a Jordanian official. The prince’s alleged pursuit of the tribes’ backing — two Jordanian officials describe it as the first stage of seeking their formal allegiance — struck at the very core of the legitimacy of King Abdullah’s reign. The tribal leaders who spoke to the Financial Times describe the king as distant, surrounded by a coterie of city-dwelling advisers and deaf to the suffering of his people.

“They expect a lot from the government, stemming from the old social contract that was given at the founding of the state,” says Bessma Momani, a Jordanian professor of political science at the University of Waterloo in Canada. “Over time, they’ve been very critical of the reality of their loss of control — partly due to demographics, and partly because the economic hardship in the past few years has been unprecedented . . . Covid exacerbated that.”

During the reign of King Hussein, Abdullah and Hamzah’s father who ruled a turbulent Jordan for 46 years, the government used patronage to mollify — royal visits, grand gatherings that lasted hours and the personal touch between the king and his subjects. Instead of addressing the demands of a modern nation, say analysts, the palace dispensed state jobs, usually in the military, and unaffordable pensions.

By 1989, when Jordan had to resort to an IMF bailout, 90 per cent of workers in the tribal-dominated southern governorates of Ma’an, Karak and Tafilah were employed in the public sector, estimates Tariq Tell, a professor of political science at the American University of Beirut. It was expensive and unsustainable. Jordan has meagre natural resources and the small nation, squeezed between Iraq, Syria, Israel, the occupied West Bank and Saudi Arabia was buffeted by regional wars, with its demographics transformed by the flow of Palestinians fleeing conflict in Israel, both in 1948 and 1967, and more recently an influx of 600,000 refugees from Syria.

By the time Abdullah took over as king in 1999, the descendants of the tribes that had helped create Jordan were a minority and the kingdom’s economy was on a path of long-term decline, fraying the social contract that kept the tribes quiescent. The 1989 IMF bailout, which required Jordan to cut its government spending, triggered protests in the tribal heartlands. More were to follow, in 1996, 2011 and more recently in 2018.

“The base of the regime — the social pact that has kept it afloat — had been visibly eroding for quite some time, and now it faces serious problems,” says Prof Tell, who has spent years studying the evolution of dissent in Jordan. “[Prince Hamzah] had been testing the waters for a decade, and has gone through this long process to be set up as the man who has got the people’s support.”

Now, after a year of coronavirus, which decimated the tourism sector, vital for jobs and foreign currency earnings, 55 per cent of Jordan’s young people, aged 15 to 24, are unemployed, up from 35 per cent. And the kingdom, which has relied on foreign aid for most of its existence from the US, western financing institutions and once-generous Gulf states, is constrained in its ability to revitalise the economy.

Jordan’s failure to create a vibrant industrial base has become more apparent — jobs for the mostly unskilled younger population are scarce.

“[Any] recovery is going to struggle in Jordan,” says Jason Tuvey, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics. “If the government has to resort to cutting subsidies, cutting public sector wages, then we could quite easily see some unrest again.” Prince Hamzah spent years building a loyal base of support among the tribes. He felt like one of them, they say, driving out to their weddings and funerals, joining them in hunting and falconry during the day and in long-drawn out political discussions at night.

A close physical resemblance to his father and his use of classical Arabic allowed him to inhabit the mantle of Hussein’s chosen successor with an ease that defied King Abdullah, say tribal leaders. Lineage matters a great deal in Jordan. Some tribal leaders say they resent that King Abdullah married a Palestinian woman, Queen Rania.

“Prince Hamzah was one of us, he was someone very close to our heart,” says one of the leaders, asking for anonymity. “The king is far away — you have to go through so many people to get his attention, and you don’t even know if he has heard your voice.”

Jordanian officials say Prince Hamzah used his popularity to ferret out allies. In a series of text and WhatsApp messages described to the FT, men said to be working for Hamzah would approach tribal leaders secretly, and ask if they would switch their allegiance, from Abdullah. If the answer was yes, quiet meetings would be arranged between them and Prince Hamzah, according to a person briefed on the intercepts.

People close to Prince Hamzah say he was aware of the dangers of his actions as he visited tribes and spoke out against corruption and nepotism. “It became a running joke that he would be thrown in jail,” says one associate. But he insists that while Prince Hamzah had an antagonistic relationship with King Abdullah, he harboured no ambitions to usurp his brother.

“He felt entrusted with his family’s legacy,” the person adds. “His general thinking was, God forbid, if there was a popular uprising in Jordan none of them as a family would survive. The language was ‘do you really think they see a difference between my brother, myself — even people on the periphery of the regime would become persona non grata.’”

According to people briefed on its investigation, Jordanian intelligence has been monitoring Awadallah for several years. An East Jerusalem native, Awadallah rose through Jordan’s political ranks, becoming King Abdullah’s chief of staff by 2015. As finance minister in the early 2000s, he led economic reforms, including privatisation of state assets that were tainted by corruption allegations, and earned the scorn of the tribes for the job losses that resulted.

Since 2018, Awadallah has worked for Mohammed bin Salman who became Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in 2017. According to Jordanian officials, Awadallah and Hamzah have met six times this year. “He was coaching Prince Hamzah, encouraging him, helping him shape his language,” says one.

The intercepts could not be independently verified, and it is not clear if the Jordanian investigation has yielded any additional evidence supporting the allegations of seditious activities.

Most crucially, two Jordanian officials say, Prince Hamzah was in contact with Awadallah on the night the prince met Jordan’s army chief of staff, Major General Yousef Huneiti. The army chief, in a conversation recorded surreptitiously by Prince Hamzah, urged him to curtail his interactions with unnamed palace critics, before the prince strongly suggested he leave.

According to a person familiar with the investigation, minutes later, Prince Hamzah forwarded the recording to Awadallah, with a cryptic note: “The people should know this has happened”. The release of the recording by Prince Hamzah’s associates triggered 48 hours of palace turmoil.

Within hours Awadallah was detained in Jordan. A rattled Saudi government publicly expressed its support for King Abdullah and sent four planeloads of officials to Amman. A member of the delegation asked for Awadallah’s release. Jordan declined and he remains in detention.

The person close to Prince Hamzah says he does not believe the royal had a “meaningful relationship” with Awadallah. “I’m not privy to all of his conversations with Bassem, but . . . the sense I got was that Prince Hamzah didn’t really trust Bassem,” he adds.

The government’s narrative of a plot against the king has been treated with scepticism by some in the kingdom and outside.

In a video released after he was placed under house arrest, Prince Hamzah launched a tirade against corruption and “incompetence,” while insisting he was not part of any “conspiracy or nefarious organisation or foreign-backed group”. Saudi officials have also vehemently denied that Riyadh was part of any alleged plot.

“We’re not buying it [Jordan's version of events],” says one western diplomat based in Amman. “It’s easy to make this foreign and scary, to move on from the [core] issue that there is a regime that is not responsive to legitimate criticism.”

The prince’s approach to the tribes and his criticism of government failures undermined a parallel process being championed by Queen Rania, to position her 26-year-old son Hussein for an eventual coronation. He was named Crown Prince in 2009, a position stripped from Hamzah in 2004.

The young Hussein, also western educated like his father and Prince Hamzah, has 2.7m followers on Instagram, a military background and has been making public appearances designed to boost his image — including at international conferences where he represents the monarchy.

“The King and the Queen are trying to groom him, but it’s not catching — he doesn’t come across [to ordinary Jordanians] yet as a serious contender,” says Daoud Kuttab, a prominent Jordanian radio host and journalist. “And his biggest competition is Prince Hamzah.”

Western diplomats point to another source of friction — after Prince Hamzah’s unsuccessful appeal to the king to be given a larger role in the intelligence services, Queen Rania consolidated her own hold over crucial security apparatus.

The 2019 appointment of Ahmed Husni to head the Mukhabarat, and those of other senior security officials, were championed by the queen, according to officials from both western intelligence and the Israeli military.

“The Mukhabarat is the instrument of Hashemite hegemony,” says Prof Tell. “And if the leadership of the Mukhabarat and the army are now under the direct control of the palace, that means that the queen is a lot more powerful.”

Prince Hamzah’s overtures to the tribes and his positioning as both an insider and a champion of ordinary Jordanians challenge Crown Prince Hussein’s eventual ascent to the throne, says a western diplomat.

“There is a very strong tether between the queen and the security services, and certainly her focus on securing the crown prince’s succession is fairly common knowledge,” adds the diplomat. “This [reaction] absolutely ties into how parts of the system would react to [a threat] from Hamzah.”

Despite his public vow of allegiance, Prince Hamzah remains a potent symbol, and the government has few options to defuse the economic and social pressures that are pushing young Jordanians to openly criticise the king, and reject the palace’s narrative of a foreign-linked seditious plot.

“This is an opportunity for the regime to reconsider how dangerous the situation is, and look for the path to reform,” says a political activist in Ma’an who asked not to be identified. “Things can change slowly, or change suddenly — like in the Arab spring. Until then, Hamzah is like The Man in the Iron Mask.”
 
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A close physical resemblance to his father and his use of classical Arabic allowed him to inhabit the mantle of Hussein’s chosen successor with an ease that defied King Abdullah, say tribal leaders. Lineage matters a great deal in Jordan. Some tribal leaders say they resent that King Abdullah married a Palestinian woman, Queen Rania.


This. He also has a husky voice similar to his father's.
Kind Abdullah's mother was white British and his Arabic isnt the best. He is very popular among Jordan's Palestinians but less so among native Jordanian tribes
 
https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/defence-trial-about-plot-against-jordan-monarchy-asks-court-bring-prince-hamza-2021-06-30/

Jordan's Prince Hamza is among 25 witnesses who have been asked to testify by the defence team of a former confidant of King Abdullah who is on trial on charges of agitating to destabilise the monarchy, the defence's lawyer said on Wednesday.

Mohamed Afif told Reuters it would be up to the court to decide whether to call Prince Hamza, the king's half-brother, as a witness.

"The final decision is up to the court, this is the court's jurisdiction and it has the final word on whether it will summon these witnesses or not," Afif said.

The court will respond to the defence's request in a session on Thursday, Afif said, after submitting a list of 25 potential witnesses on Wednesday.

Among them are Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh, two princes, a cabinet minister and several minor royals, he said.

The trial began last week behind closed doors, with authorities saying that the proceedings were secret due to the sensitivity of the case.

The scandal shocked Jordan when it surfaced in March, because it appeared to expose rifts within the ruling Hashemite family that has been a beacon of stability in a volatile region in recent years.

Hamza, the estranged prince at the centre of the trial, was accused of liaising with parties with foreign links to undermine the authority of the king. He avoided punishment in April after pledging allegiance to the king, defusing a crisis that led to his house arrest.

Charges against the two defendants, Bassem Awadallah and Sherif Hassan Zaid, include agitating to undermine the kingdom's political system, acts that threaten public security and sowing sedition. Both have pleaded not guilty.

If convicted, they could face up to 30 years in prison.

Some legal experts and civic activists have questioned the legality of a trial where the main defendant Prince Hamza has not been charged. They say the special court is not independent of the judiciary and lacks the standards of a fair trial.

The authorities have said the trial process is fair.

Officials say the prosecution evidence shows that Hamza wanted Awadallah to use his close relationship with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to seek support for Hamza's bid to become king.

Awadallah, who challenged a conservative establishment opposed to his liberal policies and has close ties to senior U.S. officials, promised to lobby on Hamza's behalf in Western capitals and Saudi Arabia, according to the charge sheet.
 
https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/israel-sell-jordan-additional-water-this-year-minister-says-2021-07-08/

Israel will this year double its supply of water to Jordan and encourage Amman to export more to the Palestinians, Israeli officials said on Thursday after a source told Reuters the new Israeli prime minister had secretly met the Jordanian king.

Jordan is a key security partner for Israel but relations have suffered in recent years over Israeli-Palestinian tensions.

Yair Lapid, foreign minister in a cross-partisan coalition that ousted long-serving conservative Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government a month ago, held a first meeting with Jordanian counterpart Ayman Safadi on Thursday.

Separately, a source who declined to be identified by name or nationality said Netanyahu's successor, Naftali Bennett, made an unannounced Amman visit last week to see King Abdullah.

Israeli and Jordanian spokepeople had no immediate comment on what the source described as June 29 talks at Abdullah's palace, meant to improve ties strained during Netanyahu's term.

A July 1 palace statement said Abdullah had embarked on a three-week visit to the United States that would include President Joe Biden's first meeting with an Arab leader at the White House since taking office.

Biden will host Abdullah there on July 19, the White House said on Wednesday, adding that those talks would be "an opportunity to ... showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region".

Lapid said Israel would sell its neighbour 50 million cubic metres of water this year.

An Israeli official said that would effectively double the supply for the year - from May 2021 to May 2022 - as around 50 million cubic metres was already being sold or given to Jordan. A Jordanian official said Israel gives the kingdom 30 million cubic metres annually under their 1994 peace treaty.

Lapid said the countries also agreed to explore increasing Jordan's exports to the West Bank to $700 million a year, from $160 million now.

"The Kingdom of Jordan is an important neighbour and partner," Lapid said in a statement. "We will broaden economic cooperation for the good of the two countries."

Abdullah strongly opposed former U.S. President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan, which he saw as a national security threat that would also undermine his Hashemite family's custodianship of holy sites in Jerusalem.

Officials say the shift in U.S. policy under Biden towards a more traditional commitment to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict has relieved pressure on Jordan, where a majority of the population of 10 million are Palestinians.
 
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/12/jordan-court-jails-two-ex-officials-for-15-years-over-alleged-royal-plot

Two aides of a senior Jordanian royal accused of plotting against the country’s monarch, King Abdullah, have been sentenced to 15 years in prison by a state security court.

The convictions follow a month-long trial, held mostly behind closed doors, in the capital, Amman. Bassem Awadallah, a Jordanian national who also holds Saudi and US citizenship, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, were found guilty of sedition after being accused of acting as proxies for the king’s half-brother, Prince Hamzah, who officials claim had conspired to unseat Abdullah.

State prosecutors and intelligence officials had accused the two men of attempting to rally tribal leaders behind Hamzah, who was removed from the line of succession to the throne by Abdullah in 2004.

Officials claimed both had used a series of events in Jordan in March to ramp up efforts to promote Hamzah. They characterised their alleged actions as incitement but said they fell short of being a coup.

Senior Jordanian officials told the Guardian in May they feared that all three men had been acting as proxies, wittingly or not, for the Trump administration and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Both the former US president and Prince Mohammed had seen King Abdullah as an obstacle to the implementation of the so-called ”deal of the century”, an imposed solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict whose terms would have undermined the Jordanian throne.

Abdullah had refused to cooperate with the plan, earning the ire of Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy, Jared Kushner. The senior officials believed Awadallah, who has close ties to the Saudi royal court, may have been groomed for senior positions under Hamzah.

Abdullah was warned of the alleged plot by US officials in April, by which time Trump had left office and Kushner had lost his influence. Jordanian spies then monitored all three men, tapping their phones and listening to meetings with tribesmen. Some of the recordings were presented to the court in transcript form.

Last week, Israeli media reported that the country’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, had met with Abdullah during an unannounced trip to Amman aimed at restoring relations that had been damaged under Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of Trump and Prince Mohammed.

Jordanian officials believe that any Trump-led conspiracy did not involve the US or Israeli security establishments, both of which maintain close ties with Jordan. Amman receives an estimated $1.5bn (£1bn) from Washington annually.

Before the trial, Hamzah had reached an accommodation with the royal court and was not charged. However, he remains under a form of house arrest. He denied the allegations against him in video statements released in April. Lawyers for Awadallah and Sharif Hassan said they would appeal against the verdicts.

A US-based lawyer for Awadallah claimed his client had been tortured in detention. The Jordanan prosecutor’s office denied the claim and said torture allegations had only been raised as the court case drew to a close.

Abdullah is due in Washington next Monday, as the first Arab leader from the region to meet Joe Biden.
 
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