A wave of arrests in Jordan on Saturday will undoubtedly affect the stability of the Hashemite kingdom. The country, considered an oasis of calm in the troubled Middle East region, is facing an alleged coup attempt against the current monarch, King Abdullah II. Petra, the state news agency, reported the arrest of Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a royal and former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadala, former head of the royal court, former royal adviser and former finance minister. In addition, according to the Petra agency, there are more detainees who are not yet known.
Some Arab and international media included Hamza bin Hussein, the king's half-brother and former crown prince, in the arrests. The Petra Agency later denied this information. However, the prince is under house arrest. The Jordanian armed forces have asked him to "stop his movements and activities against the security and stability of Jordan". Hamza bin Hussein has not remained silent and has recorded an almost 6-minute video explaining his situation. The former Hashemite heir states that the head of the armed forces visited him yesterday morning and informed him that "he was not allowed to go out, communicate or meet with people because in some meetings where he had been present there had been criticism of the government or the king". He is currently alone with his wife and children at home. "My phone and internet lines have been cut so this may be the last time I will be able to communicate," he said in the recording sent to the BBC by his lawyer.
I am not responsible for the collapse of governance, corruption and incompetence that has prevailed in our governance structure for the past 15 and 20 years and which has worsened. I am not responsible for the lack of faith that people have in their institutions," the prince says. He also deplored the current situation in the Arab country where, according to Hamza bin Hussein, "no one can speak or express their opinion without being intimidated, arrested, harassed and threatened". In the video released by the BBC, he also makes it clear that he is not part of "any conspiracy".
Hamza bin Hussein is the son of the former King Hussein and his late wife, Queen Noor. He is the half-brother of the current monarch, Abdullah II, son of the late king's second wife, Muna. In 2004 Abdullah II withdrew the title of crown prince from Hamza bin Hussein, and the title is now held by his son, Hussein bin Al Abdullah.
These developments have shaken a country that is stable compared to its neighbours in the region. King Abdullah II has developed good relations with the US and other Western countries. Jordan has been a key ally in the fight against Daesh and has taken in 656,000 Syrian refugees, according to UNHCR. However, the coronavirus pandemic has severely damaged its economy. The Jordanian population has also become increasingly unsettled and has demonstrated against the measures and management of the health crisis. The protests were sparked by a lack of oxygen in some hospitals, which led to the deaths of several people.
From abroad, full support has been shown for King Abdullah after the wave of arrests. The first head of state to express his full support for the Jordanian monarch was the King of Morocco, Mohamed VI in a telephone conversation reiterated "to his brother Abdullah his full and natural solidarity with sister Jordan, and his full support for all the decisions taken by King Abdullah to consolidate security and stability. A telephone interview that specifies the strong historical and family ties that unite the two sovereigns and the two families, and the ties between the two countries and the two brother peoples. "
King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States and has our full support," said State Department spokesman Ned Prince. Other Arab countries such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Qatar have also shown their support for the current Jordanian monarch. "We support the decisions taken by King Abdullah II to preserve Jordan's security and ensure its stability and unity", declared Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinian population is also significant in the Hashemite kingdom; according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (URNWA), there are more than 2,000,000 Palestinian refugees in the country.