Jordan says it foiled 'malicious plot' by former crown prince

Safadi spoke a day after Prince Hamzah, a half-brother of King Abdullah II, 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 volatile region and has sparked support for Abdullah.

In a videotaped statement of 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 have been watching the conspirators for some time and voicing their concerns to the king.

He said Hamzah had been asked to “stop all these activities and movements that threaten Jordan and its stability,” but he refused.

Safadi did not identify the foreign countries allegedly involved in the conspiracy. But he said a long-time senior official with business ties in several Gulf Arab states, Bassem Awadallah, was involved and planned to leave the country. He also said Awadallah tried to secure Hamzah’s wife a place to escape.

The US, Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries in the Middle East have made strong statements in favor of Abdullah.

The rapid support underscored the strategic importance of Jordan as an island of relative stability in the turbulent region. While harsh criticism from a popular member of the ruling family could support growing complaints about the poor governance of the kingdom, the king’s harsh response has also shown the limits to which he will accept public disagreement.

Labib Kamhawi, a Jordanian analyst, said Hamzah crossed a red line by suggesting that he could be an alternative to the long-reigning king.

“This is something the king does not accept or tolerate,” he said. “So now we see what happened. This file is now more or less closed. “

Early on Sunday, Hamzah’s mother, Queen Noor, expressed her sympathy for “innocent victims”.

“Praying that truth and justice may apply to all innocent victims of this evil slander. God bless and protect her, ”she tweeted.

In his video, Hamzah said he was visited by the kingdom’s military chief early Saturday and was unable to go out, communicate with or meet people. He said his phone and internet service were down, and his satellite internet, which was used to record the message, was also down.

He said he was told he was being punished for attending meetings criticizing the king when he was not accused of joining the criticism.

Hamzah then slammed the “ruling system” without mentioning the king’s name, saying it had decided “that its personal interests, financial interests, and corruption are more important than the life, dignity and future of the 10th Millions of people who live here. “

“I’m not part of any conspiracy, shameful organization, or foreign-backed group as they always claim here for anyone who speaks out,” he said. “There are members of this family who still love this country, who care for (its people) and will put them above everything.”

“Apparently this is a crime worthy of isolation, threat and foreclosure,” he added.

Hamzah is a former crown prince who was stripped of that title by Abdullah in 2004, five years after he became king after the death of his father, the late King Hussein.

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