Jordan's former crown prince accused in plot against country

www.latimes.com
5 min read
fairly difficult
Jordan accused the prince of colluding with outside parties in a plot aimed at the country's stability, a day after placing him under house arrest.
A top Jordanian official Sunday accused the kingdom's former crown prince of colluding with outside parties in a plot aimed at targeting the government's security and stability, one day after the prince was placed under house arrest and security forces detained more than a dozen of his associates.

Ayman Safadi, who serves as both Jordan's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, said in a press briefing on Sunday that lengthy and vigorous investigations by the army and intelligence services had uncovered questionable "activities and movements" by Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, the 41-year-old half brother of Jordan's King Abdullah II. Hamzah, who issued a scathing public denunciation of the government Saturday after being told not to leave home, was removed as crown prince in 2004 by Abdullah, who installed his eldest son, Hussein.

Those activities, Safadi said, included the incitement of prominent figures at home as well as conferring with foreign entities abroad "regarding the most suitable time to commence steps to shake the security of our defiant Jordan."

The fast-moving developments have shocked Jordanians unused to the sort of palace intrigue that has often plagued neighboring countries. After a night of fevered speculation of a wide-ranging coup attempt, the country woke up to an un-coup-like start of the week, with Safadi never using the word coup in his remarks and a routine security presence in most parts of the capital and major cities. Jordan, a resource-poor desert kingdom slightly smaller than Maine, retains outsize importance because of its reputation for stability. It is bordered by Israel, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

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"We confirm here that there is now full control over these movements … and the state services were able to smother them before they began," Safadi said. "The security of…
Nabih Bulos
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