Prince Hassan, the brother of the former King Hussein and an uncle of both men, has mediated in the conflict that had been brewing for some time, but this weekend led to an open row. On the day the Jordanian security service arrested dozens of people for plotting against the king, Hamza, 41, was placed under house arrest. In his video message, Hamza then denied involvement in a plot, but accused the royal family of corruption and incompetence.
The country’s international allies trembled, because Jordan, of all places, is a beacon of calm in a tense region. It is an important partner in the fight against Islamic extremism, and plays a major role in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – although recent agreements between Israel and a number of Arab countries have undermined Jordan’s spearhead that peace can only be achieved, when the Palestinians get their own land. In addition, the country is struggling with an economic crisis, sky-high unemployment and the nearly two million Syrian refugees being received in Jordan.
Prince Hassan seems to have managed to take the sting out of the conflict. Monday evening he came with a statement to which Hamza has put his signature. The interests of the homeland must remain above all else, and we must all rally behind the king’s efforts to protect Jordan and his national interests. (…) In light of the developments of the past two days, I place myself in the hands of His Highness, the king. ‘
However, important questions remain unanswered. It is unclear whether a plot was actually hatched against the king, whether Prince Hamza was involved, and whether, as the security forces suggested, foreign powers were involved. In addition, Hamza was still not seen on Tuesday, and some of his direct employees are also still missing. For example, his chief of staff Samir Majali, a member of the important Majali tribe, is still being held in an unknown location, according to his family, suggesting that tensions have not yet been fully resolved.
The Jordanian royal family has always managed to hide any tensions from the outside world. Hamza is the eldest son of the beloved King Hussein and his fourth wife Noor. He was considered his favorite, but when Hussein died in 1999, Hamza was still too young to become king, so his half-brother Abdullah was crowned.
In 2004, Hamza was stripped of the title of crown prince because Abdullah wanted to ‘give his half-brother back his freedom’. Abdullah’s eldest son, also named Hussein, became the new crown prince – a change that further strengthened the king’s power.