The King of Jordan has claimed that authorities lifted a behavior with the arrests of a former Crown Prince and 17 other people over the weekend, describing the events as the “most painful” ordeal of his reign.
“Nothing can come close to the shock and the pain and anger I felt as a brother and leader of the Hashemite family and as the leader of this dear people,” the king said in a written statement Wednesday.
Speaking four days after Prince Hamzah was detained, King Abdullah said his half-brother was “at home under my protection”
The belated remarks did not mask the most serious public strife in the ruling family for the past 20 years and offered no clarification of officials’ claims that a foreign government had backed a coup that Hamzah was in the final stages of the organization.
However, they focus on the dilemma that Abdullah faces, which by avoiding a public speech was intended to remove a challenge to his authority without being seen to test the allegiances of the country’s powerful tribes. Hamzah has been a popular and charismatic royal, but the depth of his ties to Jordanian society is still unclear.
Where the tribes stand at the arrest of the alleged plotters is crucial to the fate of a monarch plagued by economic problems that have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The economic downturn has eaten into Jordan’s powerful protection network and strained the housing between rulers and clans that has supported the kingdom for decades.
Hamzah has released two defiant and very unusual video postings while under house arrest, and a recording of his meeting with the Jordanian military chief appeared on Monday.
King Abdullah claimed that Hamzah, whom he deposed as heir in 2004 in favor of his son, had now signed a pledge of support. “He has committed himself to (Hashemite) family to follow the path of his parents and grandparents, to be true to their message and to place Jordan, its constitution and its laws above all other considerations.
“The challenge of recent days was not the most difficult or dangerous for the stability of our home country, but it was the most painful for me because problems and inconsistencies were inside and outside our own home.”
What has been described as the Jordanian version of The Crown has led to intrigue across the country and the region, sparking widespread speculation about the foreign country alleged to have been behind a conspiracy proposed by Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi , had been stopped at “Zero time”.
Saudi Arabia has categorically denied any involvement, describing allegations that it was in contact with Hamzah and key aides as “nonsense”. Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan flew to Amman on Wednesday to meet with Safadi. Officials said the visit was intended to “express complete solidarity with Jordan’s King Abdullah and his government”.
Joe Biden called Abdullah on Wednesday, reiterating U.S. support for a regional partner who had been central to Washington’s regional security projection for decades but whose role had diminished during the Trump administration.
Biden has signaled that he aims to return the relationship to a more conventional football that supports a monarch who has been the basis of the fight against the Islamic State, while protecting Israel’s eastern border through a long-standing security pact.