Jordan’s Royal Rift

Jordan’s Royal Rift

The country of Jordan, located in the Middle East, has long been perceived as a stable, peaceful country. Led by a monarchy since 1952 and even gaining the moniker “oasis of stability,” it has been a sight to behold in a turbulent region. However, recent events have unfolded to show the other side of the coin, the side many people, even Jordanians, have not known. The case of the reigning king, Abdullah II, and his half-brother, the former crown Prince Hamzah became public on April 3, when news articles covered a video statement of the former prince on house-arrest. The underlying reason behind the press coverage was the government’s accusation of his connection to a conspiracy that would undermine Jordan’s national security. This may come as a shock to many Jordanians as former crown Prince Hamzah has always been favored by the public as well as his father, King Al Hussein bin Talal, who crowned him prince of Jordan. The following series of events can connect the dots revealing the current dynamic between the former prince and the king.  

Firstly, just five years after his father’s passing, King Abdullah appointed his son, Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, as the prince of Jordan in 2004. This move relieved Prince Hamzah of his power and generated a rift between Prince Hamzah’s supporters and the king. On top of this, the king stripped Prince Hamzah of his military titles. After these major events, many speculate about the real reason behind them: to rid him of his power and keep him away from Jordan’s ruling institutions. But Prince Hamzah had not taken this lightly; he became an anti-corruption figure for the Jordanian public and maintained his large supporter base. This brings us to the events of April 2021.  

As stated above, former crown Prince Hamzah was put on house arrest for conspiring against the government. But he recently fought back twice, with the first instance being a videotaped statement viewed by millions around the world via BBC News. He is seen denying any participation in a conspiracy against his half-brother. The other instance was an audio recording of a conversation he had with Jordan’s military chief about being targeted, but not for a conspiracy against the government. Most importantly, in the nearly six-minute statement, the prince accused Jordan’s kingdom of corruption, incompetence and harassment, making a very bold statement not only to the public but to the world as well.  

My grandfather on my mother’s side was from Zarca, Jordan. He had lived most of his life in this region after emigrating with his family from Lebanon to Jordan after a major war. Not only did he know of King Al Hussein, but he adored him, and he wasn’t the only one. The majority of the country liked him and even considered him a father-figure. He was the only king my grandfather knew of and held dear to his heart. King Al Hussein provided his people with safety and security; he showed that he cared for them.  

The most essential thing is to look into the bold statements he addressed in his video. Jordan has had a long history of stability and protection for not only their own people but also for their refugees— things that former King Al Hussein provided. Some say these recent events won’t affect the future of the country, but others say it has opened the public’s eye to the accusations of nepotism, corruption and fraud happening in the country, and that is something people can’t overlook.  

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