It doesn't happen here: Why 'coup plot' in Jordan sent shock waves
7 min read
Jordan is a key U.S. ally and an important regional facilitator. Which is why just the hint of a destabilizing "coup" sent tremors far and wide.
Royal family feuds are common in some Arab monarchies – think Saudi Arabia – but are unheard of in Hashemite Jordan. "The Hashemites offer the perfect balance between all the different competing forces in the region, and they seem to have found a niche that has become Jordan's strength," says Jordan-based journalist and analyst Daoud Kuttab. "When this stability of the royal family is shaken, it weakens one of the core pillars of Jordan's existence, and it threatens regional stability." Messages of solidarity, along with expressions of concern and renewed appreciation for Jordan's outsize geopolitical importance, poured into the kingdom. Jordan is a key U.S. ally and an important regional facilitator. Which is why, whatever the facts of the purported thwarted coup, just the hint of instability sent tremors far and wide. But its image as an oasis of stability and calm was punctured Saturday when, under King Abdullah's directives, the army placed the monarch's half brother, former Crown Prince Hamzah, under house arrest and detained dozens of his associates for an alleged coup plot. America and the West have relied on Jordan for the Mideast peace process, and leaned heavily on the kingdom to help lead the fight against jihadis from Al Qaeda to Islamic State. Jordan is both a mediator and advocate for the Palestinians, and it coordinates security with Israel. Its safe space is a meeting place for rival factions from across the region. Jordan has long been the calm oasis at the center of regional storms, never the center of attention. But its image of stability and calm was punctured Saturday when, under King Abdullah's directives, the army placed the monarch's half brother, former Crown Prince Hamzah, under house arrest and detained dozens of his associates across the country for an alleged coup plot. Alarm quickly spread from here across the region and to Europe and Washington as the moderate oasis that foreign governments had long relied on – and perhaps…