Jordan's army: Prince Hamza not arrested, but asked to stop activities

Ross Houston
April 4, 2021

Videos posted online showed a heavy police deployment in the Dabouq area near the royal palaces, while the former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein said he was confined to his home. "The official media is totally silent and we know that there is much more to the story that we are not seeing".

But Major General Yousef Huneiti did say that Prince Hamza bin Al-Hussein was asked to stop "movements and activities that are used to target" the security and stability of Jordan.

Echoing statements of support by other allies and neighbours of Jordan, Morocco's King Mohammed VI held a phone call with King Abdullah II in which he expressed solidarity and support for the country's security measures, Morocco's royal palace said today. The rare video blamed the government for corruption, incompetence and intolerance for public dissent and was viewed as a scathing critique of the ruling monarch - though King Abdullah II was not mentioned by name.

The arrests were announced by the state-run Petra News agency, quoting an unnamed official who said Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Awadallah, a prominent official who once ran the royal court, were arrested "for security reasons" along with "others" after "close monitoring".

The news comes as a shock in the desert kingdom, a close regional ally of the US often lauded for its stability in a crisis-ridden neighborhood.

Since the news broke Saturday, #Prince_Hamzeh has trended on Twitter, along with messages of solidarity with the prince from followers in Jordan and overseas.


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".

State media only said the arrests were "security related".

As the eldest son of Queen Nour (nee Lisa Halaby), his father's fourth and final queen, the now-41-year-old prince was thought to be King Hussein's top choice as successor; he was passed over because he was still in school.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said, "We are closely following the reports and in touch with Jordanian officials".

Unfortunately, this country has gone from one that was at the forefront of the region in terms of education and healthcare, in terms of human dignity and freedoms, to one in which even to criticise a small aspect of a policy leads to arrest and abuse by the security services.

Apart from the members of the royal family, the alleged plot also involved security officials and tribal leaders.


Following his work in the king's office and a stint as finance minister, Awadallah established new businesses in UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Abdullah had appointed Hamzah crown prince in 1999 in line with Hussein's dying wishes, but in 2004 stripped him of the title and gave it to his own eldest son Hussein.

Before becoming royal court chief in 2007, he was head of the king's cabinet in 2006.

The news comes at a precarious time for the monarch.

It declared independence in 1946, and despite having little oil wealth, severely lacking water and repeatedly being rocked by wars on its borders, the kingdom has managed to survive the regional upheavals.


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