King Abdullah II said on Wednesday that the case that has rocked Jordan in recent days, that of an alleged plot, the protagonist of which would be the former Crown Prince Hamza, was resolved. But if his half-brother fell into line by swearing "loyalty" to him, he did not deny his criticism against the government. Decryption.
The Jordanian monarchy has apparently succeeded in extinguishing the fire caused in recent days by this attempt to "destabilize the country" in which the government accuses Prince Hamza, half-brother of King Abdullah II, of being involved.
The monarch assured him, Wednesday April 7, by affirming that the crisis which shook the kingdom was “finished”. “I assure you that sedition has been nipped in the bud,” he said in a message read on his behalf by a public television presenter. “The challenge of the last few days has not been the most dangerous for the stability of the country, but it has been the most painful for me because the parties involved in this sedition were from our home and from outside”, a- he stressed.
Earlier this week, following a family reunion organized by Prince Hassan, brother of ex-King Hussein and uncle of the current Hashemite ruler, Prince Hamza for his part pledged allegiance to the crown in a letter, released Monday by the palace, in which he promised to “always support the king and the crown prince”.
But the case seems far from closed due to its many gray areas and the questions it leaves open, especially about the involvement of Prince Hamza who, according to the official version, is still the character. central to the alleged “plot”. It remains very difficult to understand what really happened in Jordan, especially since the justice has prohibited the publication of any information on the case “for the sake of respecting the secrecy of the investigation of the services of security regarding Prince Hamza and others “.
“This case will always be the subject of doubts as long as the information concerning the Jordanian and foreign actors of the plot mentioned by the government and the truth about the role played by Prince Hamza will not have been revealed”, entrusts to France 24 l analyst Oraib Al-Rantaoui, director of Al-Quds Center for Policy Studies, a think-tank based in Amman.
For Jordanian observers, it is unlikely that a “coup” was really in the works. And for good reason: according to Oraib Al-Rantaoui, all the security and military apparatuses, without which no putsch can take place, are loyal and under the control of King Abdullah II, himself very popular in the country.
“These are undoubtedly dissensions in the royal family which have been exposed and it seems that there has been an escalation on the side of Prince Hamza to which the state has responded with an escalation”, continues- he.
Oraib Al-Rantaoui believes that the family mediation and the letter of allegiance signed by Prince Hamza have made it possible to avoid an aggravation of the crisis and to safeguard the stability and the image of the monarchy. “Knowing that in the end there were only two solutions to put an end to it: either Prince Hamza agreed to settle the conflict within the family, or he would have to answer very serious accusations in court”, he said.
A fallen but very popular crown prince
Prince Hamza, who was once Crown Prince of Jordan between 1999 and 2004, was scheduled to reign after his half-brother Abdullah II, until the latter, eager to consolidate his power and ensure the future of his line, does not replace him with his eldest son, named Hussein.
41-year-old and trained at the military academy in Sandhurst, Britain, Prince Hamza, born of the union of King Hussein and Queen Noor, had a special place in the heart of his father, a guardian figure Jordanians. The latter had made no secret of his desire to one day see his last son, who is physically his carbon copy, ascend the throne. But, to name Hamza crown prince, the monarch would have had to modify the Jordanian Constitution, since this one allows to choose only between the eldest son of the sovereign and one of his brothers. What he gave up doing in the twilight of his life.
If he had been frustrated by the loss of his rank in the order of succession, Prince Hamza had not made a wave, publicly at least, at the time. Very appreciated by Jordanians, he has always had credit in Jordan where, even without any political function, he remains active on the public scene and maintains, like his late father, privileged relations with the most influential Jordanian tribes.
Demonized by the government which implicated him in this conspiracy affair, his prestige was tarnished. But he calmly denied the allegations against him and in return accused the power of “corruption” and “incompetence”, in videos released to the media before the family mediation, videos which have earned him many messages of support. on social networks. He also denounced the intensification of political repression in the country, where on March 24, several dozen opponents were arrested during rallies commemorating the anniversary of the Arab Spring.
“It is not I who am responsible for the collapse of governance, corruption and incompetence which have been omnipresent in the governing structures of this country for the past 15 to 20 years,” he said in one of his videos. “We have reached the point that no one is allowed to speak or express an opinion on any subject whatsoever, without being intimidated, arrested, harassed or threatened,” he said again, in a scathing attack against power.
“Positions close to the opposition”
“If Prince Hamza has agreed to sign a letter of allegiance to the king and the crown prince, this signing does not end the affair as he has clearly expressed his political point of view in the videos which have been published. for a few days “, indicates Alaa al-Faraa, a Jordanian political activist in exile in France, joined by France 24. It is true that prince Hamza has still not made, so far, an honorable amendment for his criticisms against the power.
Did King Abdullah II consider the freedom of speech and the grievances recently expressed by his half-brother, who also admitted to having been present at meetings where the power has been criticized, as a personal attack? Prince Hamza “had been playing his own political score for some time and had positions close to the opposition,” said Oraib Al-Rantaoui.
Asked by AFP, political scientist Labib Kamhawi recalls for his part that “Prince Hamza enjoys great popularity among the youth and the tribes to which he regularly visited. This was interpreted by the palace as an attempt to capture the basis of the regime, endangering (…) the stability “of the throne.
It remains to be seen whether this interpretation led the government to accuse the young prince of a plot to destabilize the country with the complicity of a foreign power. “Jordanians still wonder why, if it was a family dispute ultimately quickly settled by internal mediation, this case has grown to such proportions to the point of evoking an imminent danger for Jordan and foreign interference “asks Alaa al-Faraa.
According to this opponent, the objective of this whole affair was “to undermine the popularity and the capital sympathy of Prince Hamza” who had recently criticized “the policies carried out by the government and the level of corruption in the country, which denounces also part of the population “.
While waiting for the media blackout on this episode of Hashemite history to be lifted, and for investigators to say more, the fact remains that the scandal that has come to light is likely to leave traces in Jordan. , where this case is an unprecedented event, recalls Oraib Al-Rantaoui. “Even though rivalries and differences have always existed within the royal family, they have always been settled through dialogue, discreetly within the family, without media coverage or violence,” he said.
A case of conspiracy and sedition that comes to an end as Jordan is about to celebrate, on April 11, the hundredth anniversary of the Hashemite kingdom, and that it prides itself on being the most stable Arab country in the world. Middle East.
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