Jordan's Queen Noor Al Hussein slams claims her son plotted coup
Jordan’s Queen Noor Al Hussein today slammed claims her son plotted a coup as ‘wicked slander’, amid reports he has been placed under house arrest.
The American-born Jordanian royal, 69, said she hoped ‘praying that truth and justice will prevail’ following the reported detainment of her son Prince Hamzah bin Hussein.
Prince Hamzah is the son of the late King Hussein of Jordan and fourth wife Queen Noor.
He is the half-brother of the reigning King Abdullah II and was previously the Crown Prince of the middle eastern country – a key ally of the US – before being unexpectedly replaced by one of King Abdullah’s sons.
Jordan’s deputy Prime Minister today accused the former crown prince of conspiring with foreign powers in a ‘malicious plot’ that he claimed had threatened national security.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told reporters that the alleged ‘destabilisation’ plot had been foiled at the ‘zero hour’.
Mr Safadi did not mention which foreign powers were alleged to be involved
It comes after 20 people were arrested over the alleged plot, including the country’s former finance minister Bassem Awadallah – an adviser to to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Today Saudi Arabia, a long-term ally of Jordan, shared their support following claims of a coup.
And of the Saudi crown prince’s aides today appeared to brush off rumours the kingdom, and one of the Persian gulf states, was involved in the alleged plot.
In a tweet, which included four pictures of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, with Jordan’s King Abdullah.
Royal adviser, Turki Alalshikh, said: ‘No comment… the pictures speak.’
Jordan’s Queen Noor Al Hussein (pictured left) today slammed claims her son Prince Hamzah bin Hussein (pictured right) plotted a coup as ‘wicked slander’ amid reports he has been placed under house arrest
Prince Hamzah is the half-brother of King Abdullah (pictured here with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman) and one-time Crown Prince of the middle eastern country – a key ally of the US
What have other countries said about the alleged coup?
‘We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials. King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support,’ U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said in an email.
‘We are following closely the events in Jordan….Jordan is a greatly valued partner for the UK. King Abdullah has our full support,’ James Cleverly, a junior Foreign Office minister, on Twitter.
‘The kingdom affirms its full support, with all its capabilities, to all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah and His Highness Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, the Crown Prince, to maintain security and stability,’ the Saudi royal court said in a statement.
In a separate statement, Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud said Jordan’s stability and prosperity was the ‘basis for the stability and prosperity of the whole region’ and vowed ‘firm and lasting’ support for it.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
The Ministry of Presidential Affairs stressed the UAE’s full support for all decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah and his crown prince to maintain Jordan’s security and stability and ‘to defuse any attempt to impact them’.
Senior Emirati official Anwar Gargash said on Twitter Jordan’s ‘wise policy to build bridges in a turbulent region was not an easy choice but was, and remains, the necessary direction’.
Egypt voiced support for King Abdullah and his efforts ‘to maintain the security and stability of the kingdom against any attempts to undermine it’, its presidency spokesman wrote on Facebook.
‘This is an internal Jordanian matter. Jordan is a neighbour with which we are at peace, and a strategic ally of ours, and we should do everything to preserve this alliance,’ Defence Minister Benny Gantz said in a statement. ‘A prosperous and strong Jordan is in our national-security and economic interest.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry voiced support for King Abdullah and the government of Jordan, and said that it was watching developments with concern.
‘We do not see the stability and calm of Jordan, a country that is key to peace in the Middle East, as separate from Turkey’s stability and calm,’ the ministry said in a statement.
Today Foreign Minister Mr Safadi told reporters that more than a dozen people had been arrested in connection with the alleged plot.
He said: ‘Then it was clear they moved from design and planning into action.’
Mr Safadi spoke a day after Prince Hamzah was placed under house arrest, in a rare public clash between top members of the long-ruling family.
The unprecedented incident has raised concerns about stability in a country seen as a key Western ally.
In a videotaped statement sent to the BBC from house arrest, Hamzah accused the country’s leadership of corruption and incompetence.
Safadi, who also holds the title of deputy prime minister, said intelligence agents had been observing the plotters for some time and raised their concerns with the king.
He said Hamzah was asked to ‘stop all these activities and movements that threaten Jordan and its stability,’ but he refused.
Today the US also offered its support to King Abdullah.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said, ‘King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support.’
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates similarly issued statements supporting Abdullah.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called Jordan a ‘strategic ally’ and dismissed the turmoil as an ‘internal Jordanian matter.’
Yesterday Prince Hamzah released a five-minute video accusing the country’s leaders of corruption, incompetence and harassment.
In what Prince Hamzah described as his last available form of communication before his satellite internet was cut off, he said the chief of general staff visited him early Saturday morning.
In the five-minute video from his palace in Amman, shared by his lawyer with the BBC, he said: ‘I had a visit from chief of general staff of the Jordanian armed forces this morning in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them because in the meetings that I had been present in – or on social media relating to visits that I had made – there had been criticism of the government or the king.’
It reportedly comes after the prince made a visit to tribal leaders where he is said to have garnered support. Prince Hamza denied any wrongdoing.
General Yousef Huneiti, the army chief of staff, denied reports that Prince Hamzah was arrested but said he was asked to ‘stop some movements and activities that are being used to target Jordan’s security and stability’.
He said an investigation is still ongoing and its results will be made public ‘in a transparent and clear form’.
‘No-one is above the law and Jordan’s security and stability are above all,’ he told the official Petra news agency.
Prince Hamzah, whose title of crown prince was rescinded by the king in 2004, went on to say: ‘I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse… And I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions.
‘It has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened.’
He said he had been isolated inside his home with his Canadian wife Princess Basmah Bani Ahmad and their five young children.
He said he had been isolated inside his home with his Canadian wife Princess Basmah Bani Ahmad and their five young children. Pictured on their wedding day in 2012
General Yousef Huneiti, the army chief of staff, denied reports that Prince Hamzah was arrested but said he was asked to ‘stop some movements and activities that are being used to target Jordan’s security and stability’. Pictured, Jordan’s King Abdullah II in December 2020
Prince Hamzah bin Hussein (pictured), the half-brother of Jordan’s King Abdullah II, whose title of crown prince was rescinded by the king in 2004, recorded a five-minute video from his palace in Amman
Petra had earlier reported that at least two senior officials who formerly worked for the palace ‘and others’ were arrested for ‘security reasons’, without providing further details.
What is Prince Hamzah’s position in the Jordanian Royal family?
Prince Hamzah is the elder son of the late King Hussein of Jordan and his American-born wife Queen Noor.
When King Hussein died in 1999, his eldest son Prince Abdullah bin Hussein, from his first marriage, acceded to the throne of Jordan.
However, before his death, his father wished that Prince Hamzah succeed Prince Abdullah – rather than one of his own sons.
Prince Abdullah made the decree upon his father’s death and Prince Hamzah was made Crown Prince.
But in 2004, King Abdullah removed Hamzah from the position.
In 2009, King Abdullah was named as the new Crown Prince of Jordan, meaning he will succeed his father after his death.
The Petra report said Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, the former royal envoy to Saudi Arabia, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, the former head of the royal court, were detained.
Awadallah also previously served as planning minister and finance minister.
The agency did not provide further details or name the others who were arrested.
Jordan has long been a key Western ally and an island of stability in a turbulent region. It borders Israel, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia.
Abdullah has ruled Jordan since the 1999 death of of his father, King Hussein, who ruled the country for close to half a century.
Abdullah has cultivated close relations with US and other Western leaders over the years, and Jordan was a key ally in the war against the Islamic State group.
The country’s economy has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Jordan, with a population of around 10 million, also hosts more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.
Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994, but relations have been tense in recent years, largely due to differences linked to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
Jordan is home to more than two million Palestinian refugees, most of whom have Jordanian citizenship.
Abdullah stripped his half-brother Hamzah of his title as crown prince in 2004, saying he had decided to ‘free’ him ‘from the constraints of the position of crown prince’.
He said the move was ‘in order to give you the freedom to work and undertake any mission or responsibility I entrust you with.’
The current crown prince is Abdullah’s oldest son, Hussein, aged 26.
Abdullah (pictured centre right) stripped his half-brother Hamzah of his title as crown prince in 2004, saying he had decided to ‘free’ him ‘from the constraints of the position of crown prince’. The current crown prince is Abdullah’s oldest son, Hussein (pictured right), aged 26
Abdullah (pictured centre next to King Abdullah) has ruled Jordan since the 1999 death of of his father, King Hussein, who ruled the country for close to half a century
Abdullah had originally chosen Hamzah as his crown prince hours after their father died of cancer in February 1999.
The designation was out of respect for Hussein, who is known to have favoured Hamzah the most among his 11 children.
The children were from four different marriages – the last of which was to Queen Noor of Jordan.
American-born Queen Noor, the mother of Hamzah, was married to the King from 1978 until his death in 1999.
Abdullah and Hamzah have not displayed any open rivalry over the years.