The former Jordanian crown prince accused of plotting to destabilise the kingdom has pledged his loyalty to King Abdullah II, according to the royal court, as the ruling family seeks to end an extraordinary internal dispute.
The apparent breakthrough came after Prince Hamzah met senior members of the family.
The state quoted Prince Hamzah as saying: “In the light of the development of the past two days I place myself between the hands of his Majesty the King, confirming that I will remain true to the oath of my fathers and grandfathers, loyal to their legacy.”
On Sunday, he had been accused of liaising with foreign and domestic parties who were involved in activities that “directly affected the security and stability of the country”.
Prince Hamzah, 41, who was dismissed as heir apparent by his older brother in 2004 and has been a vocal critic of corruption within Jordan’s ruling system, has been at the centre of intrigue since the military warned him on Saturday to stop “activities” threatening the nation’s security and stability. He said he had been placed under house arrest, something the military has denied.
A day later, Ayman Safadi, the foreign minister, accused Prince Hamzah of being part of a conspiracy to destabilise Jordan, a longtime partner of the west, in a plot that involved Jordanians, “foreign parties” and “external opposition”.
In unusually public ructions among the elite, he said that 16 to 18 people had been arrested, including Bassem Awadallah, a former finance minister and chief of staff to King Abdullah, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a minor member of the royal family.
Safadi said there had been contact between Awadallah and Sharif Hassan, and between the pair and Prince Hamzah.
“There was an effort targeting Jordan, its security and stability. Such [an] effort was thwarted and dealt with according to the law,” Safadi said. King Abdullah wants to deal with the issues related to Prince Hamzah privately, he added.
On Monday, an audio message was circulated on social media in which Prince Hamzah appeared to suggest that he would not obey the military’s orders to stop communicating with people outside his household.
The extraordinary events in a country regarded as a haven of stability in the region, point to a rare public power struggle among the royal family, analysts based in Jordan said.
The court said King Abdullah had asked his uncle, Prince Hassan, to “resolve matters surrounding Prince Hamzah”.
Prince Hamzah has been one of the few people to criticise state corruption and poor governance publicly at a time when the authorities have become increasingly intolerant of dissent, the analysts said. The crackdown on criticism and protest has intensified during the coronavirus pandemic.
Safadi on Sunday said that a man linked to a foreign security service had contacted Prince Hamzah’s wife to offer a plane to fly them out of the kingdom.
Roy Shaposhnik, an Israeli defence consultant living in Europe, said in a statement released on Sunday that he made the offer as a “humanitarian gesture” between friends. He rejected allegations that he was involved in a plot against King Abdullah. According to a person close to Shaposhnik, the 41-year-old has lived outside Israel for more than a decade.
Shaposhnik in a statement posted on Facebook said that after Prince Hamzah had expressed concern for the safety of his family he offered to let them stay at his European home. A Jordanian online news outlet later released Shaposhnik’s name and described him as being an agent of Israel’s Mossad spy agency, before deleting the report.
Shaposhnik said he had “never served in any capacity with any intelligence branch in Israel or any other country”.
After Prince Hamzah, Awadallah is the highest-ranking Jordanian alleged to be at the centre of the plot. He was an adviser to King Abdullah. In recent years, he has been an adviser to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.