Jordanian government accuses king's half-brother of "conspiring with foreign elements" in a "malicious plot"

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A defiant Prince Hamzah says it's the really the "ruling system" threatening Jordan, as he's accused of vague a conspiracy threatening the kingdom's "security and stability."
Amman — Jordan's deputy prime minister, Ayman Safadi, has accused the half-brother of King Abdullah II of "conspiring with foreign elements" in a "malicious plot" that threatened the security of the country. In a televised news conference on Sunday, Safadi said security services had been monitoring "the activities and the movements" of former heir to the Jordanian throne Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, along with a number of his followers.

"The initial investigations showed that these activities and movements have reached a stage that directly affects the security and stability of the homeland," Safadi said, calling it a "break from the traditions and values" Jordan's royal family.

Jordanian Prince Hamzah bin Hussein attends the SOFEX Jordan (Special Operations Forces Exhibition and Conference) on May 11, 2010 in Amman, Jordan. Salah Malkawi/Getty

He said efforts were under way to resolve the crisis within the royal family, but that Prince Hamzah was not being cooperative.

"There were wishes and illusions of some people who tried to undermine the stability of Jordan," he said.

The government news conference came after a night of dramatic events in the usually calm kingdom, which drew rapid messages of support for Jordan's king from around the world, including the U.S.

Two very different stories

On Saturday, the government issued a terse statement confirming the arrests of about a dozen Jordanians, including a member of the royal family and a former Royal Court Chief for "security reasons." It also said Jordan's top army general had spoken with Prince Hamzah and asked him to "stop activities that are being exploited to target Jordan's security and stability."

The general did not provide any specifics, but he flatly denied that the prince had been placed under house arrest. Later that evening, however, the prince himself leaked a videotaped message to the BBC contradicting the general, saying he was under house arrest.

Prince Hamzah — whom King Abdullah had made…
Amjad Tadros
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