Former Jordanian Crown Prince Hamzeh bin Hussein has been put under house arrest for attempts to destabilise the country. Thirst for power or a hidden plot?
Though there have been monarchies of all sorts, all around the world for so long, sometimes history makes an exception and allows those to flourish as if it still was the medieval era. Monarchies in Europe are nowadays relegated to customary flamboyant titles held by some and there haven’t been a king or emperor in the East ever since the Japanese surrendered to the Allies in WWII. Things however go a little bit different in the Middle-East however with the Arab monarchies hoarding either considerable power or controlling the government itself.
That kind of administration based on the traditions of the old often gives rise to countless claimants who are agnatically entitled to a position of power inherited from their ancestors and like the War of the Roses in Britain, there have always been claimants that conspire to acquire more power by eliminating other rivals and claimants who pose a threat to theirs. The most recent example that comes to the mind was the rise of wayward Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman who effectively placed his other rivals under house arrest and assumed the full control over the country. Now, there are rumours of a similar story happening in yet another part of the Arab world: Jordan.
Today news came out about a bunch of surprise arrests in Jordan with several high-profile figures imprisoned and the popular prince put under house arrest. According to the news, former Jordanian crown prince Hamzeh bin Hussein has been confined to the walls of his palace by the order of the Jordan’s military and some government officials such as Bassem Awadullah, former special representative to Saudi Arabia, have been detained for reasons pertaining to security. Despite the fact that the government has been rather tight-lipped about the arrests, rumours indicate that this string of imprisonments was meant to quell the possible coup underway at the hands of the former crown prince.
Back in the early 2000s, crown prince Hamzeh bin Hussein was considered as the natural and designated successor to his brother, the current ruling king of Jordan, King Abdullah II. Due to growing hostilities between half-brothers, Abdullah II reneged on his promise and due to the laws of primogeniture succession his eldest Hussein became the heir apparent to the throne of Jordan. Though silent for nearly two decades, Hamzeh had grown increasingly critical of his half-brother’s policies in these past two years, often criticising him for his failure in containing rampant corruption. Those who knew better however argued that the former crown prince did not want to face the same fate that befell his uncle Prince Hassan bin Talal who went on to be forgotten in the pages of Jordanian history.
Ever since there have been rumours about the king’s failing health, the former crown prince has been vocal, often portraying himself in light of his late father’s character. This has been construed as a subtle move to usurp the throne by the king and his heir in a most opportune moment. Growing friction between Jordan and its neighbour, Israel, following their proposal for the slow annexation of the West Bank has striking fear in the hearts of Jordanians, prompting the king to accuse the “foreign” players of fomenting dissent within the ranks of the country. Many Arab nations of course have expressed support for the monarchy but the accused itself has refused to comment on the escalating tensions. The situation is of course developing and despite the recent suppressive measures there are still serious concerns regarding the stability which only means one thing; This story has just begun.