The former crown prince to the throne and brother of the king, Hamzah bin Hussein, was accused of destabilizing the country with the support of an unnamed external force.
In Jordan, which until recently was one of the quietest countries in the Middle East, a scandal is developing rapidly with the attempted coup d’état averted. The former crown prince to the throne and brother of the current king, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, was at the center of the investigation for actions that could destabilize the country, according to the official version. At the same time, a group of his alleged accomplices was arrested in this case. Interestingly, the kingdom’s authorities allude to an Israeli impact on this story.
The main arrests took place in Jordan over the weekend, but details of what happened are still emerging. According to the official version, the authorities were able to prevent the suspicious activity of Prince Hamzah, which might threaten national security. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Hussein Abdullah Al-Safadi, the local special services have arrested about twenty people in a scandal case. Among them are high-ranking officials, but not a single soldier. Earlier, the Arab media actively published the story that there were representatives of the army circles among the organizers of the coup.
At the same time, Al-Safadi indicated that there is reliable information indicating that foreign parties with whom Prince Hamzah had active contacts for a long time were involved in the events in Jordan.
According to the authorities, after the plot was revealed, a certain Israeli businessman called Prince Hamzah, who suggested that the family of the former crown prince should travel abroad on his plane. Despite the fact that this businessman acted as a private person, in Amman it is believed that the Israeli is linked to the Mossad intelligence.
Among the alleged conspirators are the former envoy of the Jordanian king to Saudi Arabia, Sharif Hassan bin Zayed, and the king’s former advisor for economic affairs, Bassem Awadallah. According to the official version, it is claimed that Hamzah himself is at liberty, but it is strongly advised that “not to take any other measures affecting security and stability”. The current King Abdullah II, brother of Hamzah, suggested that he return to the bosom of the Hashemite royal family. However, according to officials, “Prince Hamzah did not respond adequately to the king’s request.”
The former crown prince to the throne managed to record a video message about the accident. He said in the video that he remains under house arrest. Hamza did not admit his guilt: according to him, he was not involved in the plot and did not receive any support from outside. “I am not responsible for failures in administration, corruption and inefficiency in state structures over the past 15 to 20 years,” the prince said.
He stressed that the official line does not reflect the overall situation on the ground. His oppositional stance is not surprising. According to the Arab press, Prince Hamzah was specifically handed over for his constant rapprochement with the anti-government circles. In particular, he alerted the security services by establishing contacts with disaffected figures from local tribal federations and opposition activists.
Tribal loyalty is one of the guarantees of political stability in the Persian Gulf states, but so far in Jordan there are no noticeable indications of an increased likelihood of protest in this environment.
Call to Israel
Any hint of instability in Jordan increases the stakes not only for the United States, which has granted the kingdom the status of a major non-NATO ally, but also for other countries in the Middle East. Thus, the Hashemite Kingdom plays the role of a buffer zone for Israel against the spread of Iranian influence. If not for Jordan, the forces brokered by Tehran would have long been able to gain a foothold on the borders of the Jewish state, experts in the Middle East believe. For example, according to one unofficial account, Jordan often provides the Israeli army with its airspace to organize operations against Iranian targets in Syria. In addition, the kingdom plays a central role in settling the Palestinian issue.
An attempt to link the conspiracy scandal to the Israeli intelligence service appears to be one of the elements of the campaign against Hamza. But such anti-Israel sentiment is unlikely to be used in a domestic situation if relations with the Jewish state do not systematically provide an excuse. One disturbing event occurred in recent months when the current crown prince, Prince Hussein, was denied access to the Temple Mount. After that, Jordan not only reduced its contacts with the Israelis, it was also supposed to close its airspace to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who decided to visit the Emirates.
Israeli experts now say that even if the scandal surrounding the attempted coup in Jordan turns out to be exaggerated, then for the Jewish state what happened is a reason to think about whether it is worth being more attentive to its much-needed neighbor.