Jordan's royals resolve family feud, lawyer says

The mediation between the Jordanian King Abdullah II and his outspoken half-brother, Prince Hamzah, has successfully de-escalated one of the most serious political crises in the kingdom for decades, announced the palace and a confidante of the prince on Monday.

The obvious solution to the unprecedented public feud culminated in a weekend of palace drama that the King placed Hamzah under house arrest for allegedly plotting with foreign supporters to destabilize Jordan, a key ally of the West.

The Jordanian authorities had accused the former crown prince, along with two high-ranking Jordanian officials, of being involved in a “malicious conspiracy”. The 41-year-old Hamzah denied the allegations and spoke out against corruption and mismanagement.

The announcement of the successful mediation came after Abdullah’s paternal uncle, Hassan, met with Hamzah on Monday.

The mediation took place at Hassan’s Royal Hashemite Court. Hamzah was joined by his brother Hashem and three of her cousins.

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“In view of the developments of the past two days, I have made myself available to His Majesty the King,” said the declaration signed by Hamzah. He said he would remain loyal to the king and the Jordanian constitution.

Malik R. Dahlan, a professional mediator and family friend, then issued a separate statement saying that the mediation “was successful and I expect a solution shortly.” Dahlan is the director of Quraysh for Law & Policy, of which Hamzah Al-Hussein is the overseer.

He said that “this unfortunate incident was the result of the clumsy actions of a senior security officer and misrepresentation by a government official,” adding that “it should remain a family matter”.

This was an obvious reference to the events on Saturday when the Jordanian army chief visited Hamzah and – as described by the prince – restricted his movement and ability to communicate with the outside world.

Earlier on Monday, it seemed tensions were still high in the kingdom, valued by the West as a stable ally in a volatile region. A recording circulated online that made Hamzah sound defiant and say he would not take orders from the army chief.

“The Army Chief of Staff came to me and threatened on behalf of the security chiefs,” Hamzah said on the tape. “I recorded his comments and distributed them to my friends abroad and to my family in case something happened.”

“I don’t want to escalate now, but of course I won’t stay if he tells me,” You can’t go out, tweet or connect with people and you can only see family members, “he said.” If an Army Chief of Staff says so , that’s something I think is unacceptable. “

The authenticity of the recording was confirmed by a person close to the prince, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The person said the picture was a few days old and taken after the army chief threatened the prince.

Jordanian Army Chief of Staff General Yousef Huneiti said Monday the country’s armed forces and security agencies have “the power and experience” to deal with developments that may be taking place internally or in the region.

He made his comments while participating in the Shield of the Nation, an exercise that included multiple brigades, special forces, border guards and the Royal Air Force in the eastern region of the kingdom, state-run Petra news agency said. The exercise did not appear to have anything to do with the weekend incidents, as such exercises are planned well in advance.

Huneiti said the troops would face anyone who “tries to jeopardize the security of the nation, terrify its citizens and endanger the security and stability of the kingdom”.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday that the prince had recorded conversations and passed them on to foreign sources. He did not give details of the alleged conspiracy or say which other countries were allegedly involved. But he said about 14-16 Hamzah employees had been arrested, in addition to Bassem Awadallah, a former cabinet minister and former head of the royal court, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family.

The US and Arab governments quickly sided with Abdullah, reflecting Jordan’s strategic importance. The kingdom borders Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the occupied West Bank.

United States spokesman Stephane Dujarric noted that Jordan “plays an important role in the Middle East and that peace and security and the stability of the country are of vital importance”.

Domestically, Hamzah’s unprecedented criticism of the ruling class – without naming the king – could support growing complaints about poor governance and human rights abuses in Jordan.

Abdullah and Hamzah are both sons of King Hussein, who remains a beloved figure two decades after his death. When Abdullah ascended the throne in 1999, he named Hamzah crown prince, only to revoke the title five years later. Hassan, the uncle, had also been Crown Prince, but was removed shortly before Hussein’s death.

While Abdullah and Hamzah are said to have generally good relations, Hamzah has at times spoken out against government policies and, more recently, has forged ties with powerful tribal leaders in what is seen as a threat to the king.

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