Jordan’s Ex-Crown Prince Vows to Defy Efforts to Silence Him
In an audio recording posted on Twitter, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein said that he would not rein in his criticism of the king, deepening a royal rift.,
The former crown prince of Jordan vowed to defy the orders of the government and his half brother, King Abdullah II, to stop communicating with the world even as he remained under what he described as house arrest in his home.
“I’m not going to obey when they say you can’t go out, you can’t tweet, you can’t communicate with people,” the former crown prince, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, said in an audio message posted to Twitter on Monday by his supporters. It was unclear when it was recorded.
The government has accused Prince Hamzah of destabilizing the “security and stability” of Jordan, a vital American ally in the Middle East. The Jordanian foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, suggested on Sunday that the prince had been involved in a failed palace coup with foreign backing.
The bitter family feud and public airing of palace intrigue has been a blow to Jordan’s image as an island of stability in a volatile region.
Bordering Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the country plays a pivotal role in regional security, and Jordan’s allies are watching developments anxiously.
Prince Hamzah’s comments in the audio message posted Monday suggested that he was not going to be easily silenced.
The oldest son of King Hussein, who died in 1999, and his favorite wife, the American-born Queen Noor, Prince Hamzah, 41, is a graduate of the Harrow School in Britain and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
He attended Harvard University and has served in the Jordanian armed forces.
King Abdullah, who is 59 and also the product of elite American and British schools, named Hamzah crown prince in 1999, but stripped him of the title in 2004 and transferred it to his son, Prince Hussein, now 26.
Prince Hamzah seemed to be trying to rebuild his influence in recent years.
In a speech Sunday afternoon, Mr. Safadi, the foreign minister, directly accused Prince Hamzah of having worked with a former finance minister, Bassem Awadallah, and a junior member of the royal family, Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, to target “the security and stability of the nation.”
Mr. Safadi said that Prince Hamzah had liaised with Mr. Awadallah throughout the course of the day Saturday, accusing him of “incitement and efforts to mobilize citizens against the state in a manner that threatens national security.”
He said the government had intercepted communications between the prince and Mr. Awadallah and announced the arrest of at least 14 other people.
Prince Hamzah fired back, defending himself in videos released on Saturday.
He denied involvement in any plot against King Abdullah, though he did condemn the government as corrupt, incompetent and authoritarian.
“I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions,” he said in one of the videos obtained by The New York Times.
In the separate audio message posted Monday, the prince said his security had been “completely revoked” by the government.
“I recorded what he said and I distributed it to my family and people I know outside of Jordan in case something happens,” Prince Hamzah said. “Now I’m waiting to see what they’re going to do. I don’t want to escalate things now.”
He said he would not be intimidated but, for the moment, was “waiting to see what will unfold.”
Prince Hamzah’s mother, Queen Noor, has publicly defended her son.
“Praying that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this wicked slander,” she wrote in a Twitter message posted on Sunday. “God bless and keep them safe.”
The United States, which views King Abdullah as a critical ally in combating terrorism, was quick to voice support for him, as did other allies in the region.
Rana F. Sweis contributed reporting.