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Jordanian royal family resolves family feud

Mediation between King Abdullah II of Jordan and his frank half-brother Prince Hamzah succeeded in defusing one of the kingdom’s most serious political crises in decades, the palace and a confidant of the prince said on Monday.

The apparent resolution of the unprecedented public feud capped a dramatic weekend of theater in which the king placed Hamzah under house arrest for allegedly plotting with foreign supporters to destabilize Jordan, a key ally of the West.

The Jordanian authorities had accused the former crown prince of being involved in a “malicious conspiracy”, with two senior Jordanian officials. Hamzah, 41, denied the allegations, saying he spoke out against corruption and mismanagement.

The announcement of the successful mediation came after Abdullah’s paternal uncle Hassan met Hamzah on Monday.

The mediation took place at Hassan’s home at the Hashemite Royal Court. Hamzah was joined by his brother Hashem and three of their cousins.

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“In view of the developments of the last two days, I place myself at the disposal of His Majesty the King”, indicates the press release signed by Hamzah. He said he would remain loyal to the king and the Jordanian constitution.

Malik R. Dahlan, a professional mediator and family friend, then issued a separate statement, saying the mediation was “successful and I expect a resolution shortly”. Dahlan is the director of the Quraysh Institution for Law & Policy, of which Hamzah Al-Hussein is a board overseer.

He said that “this regrettable incident was the result of the awkward actions of a senior security official and false statements by a government official”, adding that “it should have remained a family affair”.

It was an apparent reference to events on Saturday when the Jordanian army chief visited Hamzah and – as the prince described – imposed restrictions on his movement and ability to communicate with the world. outside.

Earlier Monday, it emerged that tensions were still high in the kingdom, seen by the West as a stable ally in an unstable region. A recording circulated online in which Hamzah looked defiantly saying he would not take orders from the army chief.

“The army chief of staff came to see me and made threats on behalf of the heads of the security agencies,” Hamzah said in the recording. “I recorded his comments and distributed them to my acquaintances abroad as well as to my family in case something happened.”

“I don’t want to escalate now, but of course I won’t respect when he tells me ‘you are not allowed to go out, tweet or connect with people and you are only allowed to see members. family, ”he said. “When an army chief of staff says that, it is something that I find unacceptable.”

The authenticity of the recording was confirmed by an individual close to the prince, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The individual said the recording was a few days old and was made after the army chief threatened the prince.

Jordanian Army Chief of Staff Gen. Yousef Huneiti said on Monday that the country’s armed forces and security agencies “have the power and the experience” to deal with any development that may arise. occur indoors or in the region.

He made his comments during his participation in the “Shield of the Nation,” an exercise that included several brigades, special forces, border guards and the Royal Air Force in the eastern region of the kingdom, the agency said. national press Petra. The exercise does not appear to be related to the weekend incidents, as these exercises are planned well in advance.

Huneiti said the troops will confront anyone who “attempts to endanger the security of the nation, terrifies its citizens and threatens the security and stability of the kingdom.”

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday that the prince recorded conversations and passed them on to foreign sources. He did not provide details of the alleged conspiracy or indicate which other countries were believed to be involved. But he said around 14 to 16 Hamzah associates had been arrested, in addition to Bassem Awadallah, a former cabinet minister and former head of the royal court, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family.

The US and Arab governments quickly sided with Abdullah, reflecting Jordan’s strategic importance. The kingdom borders Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the occupied West Bank.

UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric stressed that “Jordan’s vital role in the Middle East, its peace, security and the country’s stability are of crucial importance”.

Domestically, Hamzah’s unprecedented criticism of the ruling class – without naming the king – could support growing complaints about poor governance and human rights abuses in Jordan.

Abdullah and Hamzah are both sons of King Hussein, who remains a beloved figure two decades after his death. Upon ascending the throne in 1999, Abdallah appointed Hamzah as crown prince, only to revoke the title five years later. Hassan, the uncle, had also been crown prince but was removed from his post shortly before Hussein’s death.

While Abdullah and Hamzah are said to have a good relationship in general, Hamzah has spoken out against government policies at times and more recently has forged links with powerful tribal chiefs in a move seen as a threat to the king.

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