On December 23rd, 2021 the Jordanian Royal Court recommended to King Abdullah that Crown Prince Hamzah be placed under house arrest and have his communications restricted after being implicated in an apparent coup attempt in April of 2021. While the details of the coup have not been released, most western commentators purport that the Crown prince was persecuted for publicly criticizing the King, earning him sedition charges. 18 others were arrested, but most had been released by the end of the year. Prince Hamzah met with King Abdullah and apologized and “took responsibility for his actions”, and apparently all was well.
However, moments ago, the Jordanian Royal Court released a statement from King Abdullah declaring Crown prince Hamzah has been detained again. The King said:
I write to you in the hopes of turning the page on a dark chapter in the history of our country and our family. As you know, when the details of the sedition case were revealed last year, I chose to deal with my brother Prince Hamzah within the confines of our family, hopeful that he would realise the error of his ways, repent, and become an engaged member of our Hashemite family.
But after more than a year during which he exhausted all opportunities to restore himself on the right path, in line with the legacy of our family, I have come to the disappointing conclusion that he will not change. This conviction grew deeper with everything my young brother, whom I have always treated as a son, has said and done. And now, I am certain that he is living in a state of self-deception, where he sees himself as the sole guardian of our Hashemite legacy, and the target of a systematic campaign by our institutions. His frequent letters have reflected the state of denial in which he is living, and his refusal to take any responsibility for his actions.
King Abdullah goes on to lament that the prince has not honored the forgiveness given to him and the stay of the detainment recommendation since December. However, the final straw was the April 3rd Tweet in which the crown prince renounced his title and said:
“Following what I have witnessed in recent years, I have come to the conclusion that my personal convictions which my father instilled in me, and which I tried hard in my life to adhere to, are not in line with the approaches, trends and modern methods of our institutions.
“From the matter of honesty to God and conscience, I see nothing but to transcend and abandon the title of prince. I had the great honor of serving my beloved country and my dear people over the years of my life.
“I will remain as I have always been and as long as I live, loyal to our beloved Jordan”
The King finishes his statement by declaring he must confine the Crown Prince to his quarters out of a need of national security and pride, but he will still attempt to reason with him. While the Crown Prince’s phone has been confiscated, King Abdullah did acknowledge that he may find a way to release damaging critique of his government in the coming days. Jordan is one of the key pillars to Western interests in the Middle East, know for its stability and pro-Western stance. This situation provides an opportunity for foreign actors to disrupt that stability. It also represents an opportunity for Western government’s to muddy their relationship with King Abdullah, by supporting Prince Hamzah.