Arab states voice support for major security sweep in Jordan

King Abdullah of Jordan

The Post quoted a statement by the Jordanian Armed Forces which confirmed the multiple arrests and said that Prince Hamzah had been "asked to cease all movements or activities that could be employed to target Jordan's security and stability". 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 investigations had monitored interferences and communications with foreign parties over the right timing to destabilise Jordan", Safadi said.

Safadi, who also holds the title of the deputy prime minister, did not specify which countries were involved in the alleged plot.

Those arrested in the Saturday roundup included Sharif Hasan, a member of the royal family, and Bassem Awadullah, a former senior official in Jordan's Royal Hashemite Court who had also served as special Jordanian representative to the Saudi government. "I'm not part of any conspiracy or nefarious organization or foreign-backed group, as is always the claim here for anyone who speaks out".

It gave no further details and said an investigation was under way. Awadallah is a former Cabinet minister and one-time head of the royal court.

"What Prince Hamza said is repeatedly heard in the homes of every Jordanian", said Ahmad Hasan al Zoubi, a prominent columnist, on his Facebook account.

The prince then sent two voice messages, to escalate the situation on the day during which Awadallah was attempting to leave the country, he said. The offer, he said, was based on the "strong personal friendship" between their families.

FILE - In this December 10, 2020 photo released by the Royal Hashemite Court, Jordan's King Abdullah II gives a speech during the inauguration of the 19th Parliament's non-ordinary session, in Amman Jordan.

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The unfolding crisis within the royal family is likely to damage Jordan's image as a pillar of stability in the Middle East.

"I am waiting to see what they will do".

The United States, the United Kingdom and Gulf allies rallied behind the king, highlighting Jordan's strategic importance in the region.

"No one is above the law and Jordan's security and stability are above all", he told the official Petra news agency.

"The stances of King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein offered great support at regional and global forums", the president added.

The country's top general had earlier denied that Hamzah - a former crown prince who was stripped of the title in 2004 - was arrested or under house arrest, even as authorities announced the arrests of former senior officials close to the ruling monarchy.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel was prepared to assist Jordan as necessary, though he described the incident as an internal issue for Jordan.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a severe blow to Jordan's economy, pushing unemployment to record levels and deepening poverty. The countries maintain close security ties, but relations have otherwise been tense in recent years, largely due to differences linked to Israel's conflict with the Palestinians.

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