Jordan’s neighbours and allies reacted with statements of support after the Jordanian military said on Saturday that King Abdullah’s half-brother and former Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein had been told to halt actions used to target the country’s “security and stability”.
In a statement published by the state news agency, Amman said the action was part of a broader security investigation in which a former minister, a member of the royal family and some other unidentified individuals were detained.
Jordan’s official media warned Sunday that security and stability are a “red line”, a day after several senior figures were detained and half-brother and former Crown Prince Hamza bin Hussein said he was put under house arrest.
Videos posted online showed a heavy police deployment in the Dabouq area near the royal palaces on the edge of Amman, while former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein said he was confined to his home.
In a video the BBC said it obtained from his lawyer, Prince Hamzah said several of his friends had been arrested, his security detail removed and his internet and phone lines cut.
Prince Hamzah denied being part of “any conspiracy or nefarious organisation”, but said the Hashemite kingdom had become mired in “misrule” and that nobody was allowed to criticise the authorities.
The official newspaper Al-Rai on Sunday warned that Jordan’s “security and stability” were a “red line that must not be crossed or even approached”, and said an official statement on the events was expected later in the day.
Official news agency Petra named former close aides to the royal family, Bassem Awadallah, chief of the royal court in 2007-2008, and Sherif Hassan bin Zaid among an unspecified number of suspects arrested.
The pair were detained for “security reasons”, Petra said, quoting a security source.
Arab support to Amman
Arab countries and regional organisations expressed support to the Jordanian authorities in their security moves.
Neighbouring Saudi Arabia reacted swiftly to the developments in Amman voicing support to the monarchy.
“The kingdom stresses its full support for the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan … and for the decisions and measures taken by King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein to safeguard security and stability,” it said.
In Abu Dhabi, 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”.
Senior Emirati official Anwar Gargash said on Twitter Jordan’s “wise policy to build bridges in a turbulent region was not an easy choice but was, and remains, the necessary direction”.
Egypt also voiced support for King Abdullah and his efforts “to maintain the security and stability of the kingdom against any attempts to undermine it”, its presidency spokesman wrote on Facebook.
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Lebanese Prime Minister designate Saad al-Hariri said on Twitter: “All the solidarity with the Jordanian leadership and King Abdullah in defending the gains of the Jordanian people, protecting their stability, and refusing interference in their affairs.”
“The Iraqi government affirms that it stands with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah II, in any steps taken to preserve the security and stability of the country and take care of the interests of the brotherly people of Jordan, in a way that boosts their presence, by relying on measures that aim to extend the respect of the state,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas voiced his support for “the decisions taken by King Abdullah II to preserve Jordan’s security and ensure its stability and unity.” stressing that “Jordan’s security and stability is a supreme Palestinian interest.”
The secretary general of the Arab League, in a statement posted on Facebook, said the organisation “expressed full solidarity” with the measures taken to maintain security and stability.
“The secretary-general of the Arab League expressed full solidarity with the measures taken by the Jordanian leadership to maintain the security of the kingdom and maintain the stability,” the Arab League said in a statement on its Facebook page, citing Ahmed Aboul Gheit.
The latter also “stressed his confidence in the leadership’s wisdom and its keenness to secure the country’s stability in parallel with the respect for the constitution and the law.
The Gulf Cooperation Council reaffirmed as well its support for “all decisions and measures” taken by Abdullah.
US ” following closely”
Awadallah, a former finance and planning minister educated in the United States, was close to the king but has also been a controversial figure in Jordan.
Before becoming royal court chief in 2007, he was head of the king’s cabinet in 2006.
He had played a key role pushing for economic reforms in the country before he resigned in 2008 amid criticism over alleged interference in sensitive political and economic issues.
Saturday’s security sweep comes as Jordan prepares to mark 100 years since the new kingdom then named Transjordan was established alongside Palestine under British mandate.
It declared independence in 1946. Despite having little oil wealth and severely lacking water, the kingdom has managed to survive repeated wars in the region which have sent waves of refugees across its borders.
The Washington Post said the former crown prince was “placed under restriction” as part of a probe into an alleged coup plot.
“The move followed the discovery of what palace officials described as a complex and far-reaching plot,” it said, quoting a senior Middle East intelligence official.
The alleged scheme “included at least one other Jordanian royal as well as tribal leaders and members of the country’s security establishment,” the Post added.
But in a front page editorial on Sunday, Al-Rai denied such reports.
“Some people are trying to create the illusion of an attempted coup in Jordan, and trying to implicate Prince Hamzah in their sick fantasies,” it said.
“All that happened was that some of the prince’s actions were used to target Jordan’s security and stability.”
US State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington was “closely following” the events in its close regional ally.
“We are… in touch with Jordanian officials. King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, and he has our full support,” he said.
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