AMMAN, Jordan (AP) – The half-brother of King of Jordan Abdullah II has been urged to “stop certain movements and activities that are used to target the security and stability of Jordan,” the top general of Jordan said on Saturday. country during the arrest of former senior officials. close to the ruling monarchy.
Details remained obscure, but any internal turmoil would ring alarm bells among the United States and other Western countries, which have long viewed Jordan’s ruling monarchy as a key military ally and bastion of stability in an unstable region. .
Army chief of staff General Yousef Huneiti denied reports that Prince Hamzah – the king’s half-brother who was also a former crown prince – had been arrested. According to him, an investigation is still ongoing and its results will be made public “in a transparent and clear form”.
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“No one is above the law and Jordan’s security and stability are above all else,” he told the state-run Petra news agency.
Petra had previously reported that two senior officials who previously worked for the palace “and others” were arrested for “security reasons”, without providing further details.
The Petra report says Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, the former royal envoy to Saudi Arabia, and Bassem Ibrahim Awadallah, the former head of the royal court, have been arrested. Awadallah was also previously Minister of Planning and Minister of Finance.
The agency did not provide further details or name the other people arrested.
“We are monitoring the information closely and are in contact with Jordanian officials,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support.”
Abdullah has ruled Jordan since the death in 1999 of his father, King Hussein, who ruled the country for nearly half a century. The king cultivated close ties with the United States and other Western leaders over the years, and Jordan was a key ally in the war against ISIS. The country borders with Israel, the occupied West Bank, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The Jordanian economy has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. The country, which has a population of around 10 million, also hosts more than 600,000 Syrian refugees.
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Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994, but relations have been strained in recent years, largely because of differences related to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. Jordan is home to over 2 million Palestinian refugees, most of whom have Jordanian citizenship.
Abdullah stripped his half-brother Hamzah of his title of crown prince in 2004, claiming that he had decided to “free” him from the constraints of being crown prince in order to give you the freedom to work and undertake any mission or assignment. responsibility I entrust to you. “
The current crown prince is Abdullah’s eldest son, Hussein, aged 26.
Abdullah had 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 favored Hamzah the most among his 11 children from four marriages.
Abdullah and Hamzah have not displayed any open rivalries over the years.
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