It seems to be rumbling in the Jordanian royal family. Two employees have been arrested, and reports speak of further arrests following an alleged plot. In the center: Prince Hamsa.
In Jordan, according to a report by the Washington Post, almost 20 people were arrested – in connection with an alleged plot against King Abdullah II. In addition, Prince Hamsa bin Hussein – the king’s half-brother – was asked to investigate a “complex” and far-reaching “conspiracy not to leave his palace in Amman.
The newspaper reported on Saturday, citing a high-ranking government official in the Middle East who had been made aware of the case. There was initially no official confirmation of this.
The state agency Petra only reported that two high-ranking men had been arrested “for security reasons”: Bassim Auadalla, former chairman of the royal court, and Hassan bin Said, member of the royal family. Other suspects were also arrested as part of the investigation. Petra also reported, citing an unnamed, “well-informed source” that Prince Hamsa had neither been arrested nor placed under house arrest.
On the other hand, there is a report by the BBC, to which a video of the Crown Prince was leaked. In this he speaks of having been placed under house arrest. The chief of the army came to him and told him not to meet anyone else. He was not allowed to publish messages on Twitter, the Internet and telephone were cut off. The video is the last chance to speak. In the video, he sharply criticized the Jordanian government and the corruption prevailing there.
The 41-year-old Hamsa bin Hussein was Crown Prince of Jordan from 1999 to 2004. But then, surprisingly, King Abdullah II deposed him as heir to the throne and cleared the way for his then eight-year-old son. He wanted to free Prince Hamsa from the “constraints” of his position in order to give him other options, it was said at the time.
Chief of Staff Jussif al-Hunaiti called on Prince Hamsa in a statement late on Saturday evening to refrain from actions that could endanger the stability of the kingdom. The prince should “end activities and steps aimed at the security and stability of Jordan”. This request was made after “extensive investigations by the security authorities”. Al-Hunaiti also denied that Prince Hamsa had been placed under house arrest.
Unconfirmed reports have also arrested Prince Hamsa’s office manager, Yasser Madjali. His niece Basma wrote on Twitter that Majali had been taken to an unknown location after a raid.
Videos posted on the Internet showed a large police presence near the Royal Palace in Amman. According to the official Petra news agency, ex-finance minister Bassem Awdallah, formerly a close confidante of the king and head of the palace from 2007 to 2008, and Sherif Hassan ben Said were arrested “for security reasons”. The title Sherif indicates that it is a person close to the royal family.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia declared its “full support for the decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein to ensure security and stability” in the country. The Gulf Cooperation Council made a similar statement.
The spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, also assured Abdullah of “full support”. He is “an important partner of the United States”.
The prince’s house arrest and arrests come just days before the kingdom’s centenary celebrations. On April 11, 1921, the then King Abdullah formed his first government.