Saudi Arabia, US back Jordan after 'foiled coup attempt'

Saudi Arabia, US back Jordan after 'foiled coup attempt'
4 min read
04 April, 2021
Amman swiftly received an influx of support from its regional and international allies on Saturday after an alleged coup plot was foiled by authorities in Jordan.
Saudi Arabia quickly issued a statement to support the Jordanian monarch [Getty]
Saudi Arabia was among a handful of countries to react swiftly to developments in Amman after news of a foiled coup attempt surfaced on Saturday evening.

"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," a statement from neighbouring Saudi Arabia said.

Just moments earlier, reports said a former Jordanian crown prince was among nearly 20 people, including a Saudi citizen, detained by authorities, in what reports said was linked to a prolonged plot to topple the regime

Prince Hamzah bin Hussein was escorted from his Amman palace amid an ongoing probe into a “threat to the country’s stability,” The Washington Post reported, citing a senior Middle East intelligence official.

The prince, the oldest son of the late King Hussein is allegedly thought to be involved in plans to overthrow his older half brother, King Abdullah II, the report added.

Sharif Hasan, also a member of the royal family, and Saudi citizen and former head of the Jordanian Royal Hashemite Court, Bassem Awadullah, were also arrested.

In a statement, the Jordanian chief of staff, Major General Yusef Ahmed Al-Huneiti, appeared to corroborate the news though fell short of confirming the arrest of the Jordanian prince.

"Prince Hamzah was asked to halt movements and activities that target Jordan's security and stability," Al-Huneiti said.

Read also: Jordan ‘foils coup attempt involving royal family members, senior officials’

No details have been released to reveal the full extent of the plot, however the source said it was “well-organised” and involved “foreign” elements. 

Meanwhile, official state agency Petra News said “His Royal Highness Prince Hamzah bin Al Hussein is not under house arrest nor is he detained, as reported by some media outlets.”

The developments were quickly picked up across the world and region with capitals stepping in to show support for the Jordanian monarch.

The Gulf Cooperation Council's Secretary-General Nayef Al Hajraf said the body stands with Amman and all its measures to maintain security and stability across the country.

Similar statements were also made by Bahrain which expressed support for King Abdullah and "his measures to maintain security and stability in brotherly Jordan, and defuse every attempt to influence them," according to Bahraini state news agency.

Over in the United States, State Department spokesman Ned Price confirmed Washington was "closely following" the reports.

"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.

Qatar, Egypt and Kuwait also issued statements while analysts commenting on social media pointed to an absence of such support from Israel and the United Arab Emirates, both of which are key allies of Jordan.

Wapo said at least one other Jordanian royal, tribal leaders and members of the security establishment are among those involved in the plot against the king.

The prince speaks

Meanwhile, a video passed to the BBC by the prince's lawyer confirmed he is currently under house arrest.

"I had a visit from chief of general staff of the Jordanian armed forces this morning in which he informed me that I was not allowed to go out, to communicate with people or to meet with them because in the meetings that I had been present in - or on social media relating to visits that I had made - there had been criticism of the government or the king," the prince said in the video, according to the BBC.

"I am not the person responsible for the breakdown in governance, the corruption and for the incompetence that has been prevalent in our governing structure for the last 15 to 20 years and has been getting worse... And I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions," he said.

"It has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened," the royal added.

Prince Hamzah served as Jordan’s crown prince for four years before being stripped of the title to make way for the current monarch’s eldest son, Hussein.

King Abdullah has remained in power since King Hussein’s death in 1999, though the monarch has in recent years faced an economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as an influx of refugees from neighbouring countries.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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