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Criticism of the Prince of Jordan put the kingdom’s allies in touch

JERUSALEMALE (AP) – Jordan’s allies rallied around King Abdullah II on Sunday after his brother unleashed an unprecedented public outcry over the country’s governance, complaining of corruption and a lack of freedom of expression.

The swift showing of support, even as Prince Abdullah placed Hamza under house arrest, underscored Jordan’s strategic importance as an island of relative stability in a troubled region. While harsh criticism from one of the ruling family’s popular members could have fueled growing complaints about the kingdom’s mismanagement, the king’s harsh response showed the extent to which he would accept public dissent.

Jordanian analyst Labib Kamhawi said Hamza had crossed the red line, noting that he could be an alternative to the long-ruling king.

“This is something that the king does not accept, does not tolerate,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. This file is now more or less closed. ”

Early Sunday, Hamza’s mother, Queen Nour, expressed her sympathy for the “innocent victims.”

“The prayer of that truth and justice will prevail for all the innocent victims of this evil slander. “God bless them and keep them safe,” he wrote on Twitter.

In his video, Hamza says that the military chief of the kingdom visited him on Saturday and told him that he could not go out, communicate with people or meet with them. He said his phone և internet service was cut off և his satellite internet used to record the message was also cut off.

He said he was told he was being punished for attending meetings during which the king was criticized, although he said he was not accused of joining the criticism.

Hamza then attacked the “ruling system” without naming the king, saying that he had decided “that his personal interests, his financial interests, his corruption are more important than the lives and dignity and future of 10 million people.” who live here. ”

“I am not part of any conspiracy or insidious organization or foreign-backed group, as is always the case here for anyone who speaks out,” he said. “There are members of this family who still love this country, who care about their people, they will put them above everyone else.”

“Apparently, this is a crime that deserves isolation, threats, and now it is being cut,” he added.

Hamza is a former heir to the throne, who was deprived of that title by Abdullah in 2004. Five years after their father, the late King Hussein, died after becoming king.

Hamza is a well-known figure in Jordan who is widely regarded as pious and modest. It is extremely rare for senior members of the ruling family to clash so publicly.

Adding to the disgrace of the kingdom, his claims contradicted the statements of the commander-in-chief, General Youssef Huneyti, denying that Hamza was detained or under house arrest.

The general told the official Petra news agency that Hamza had simply been asked to “stop some movements, actions that are being used to target Jordan’s security and stability”, and that the investigation was ongoing.

Whatever the impact of the crisis inside Jordan, however, it seems to have had a direct impact on Abdullah’s external support.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said. “King Abdullah is a key partner of the United States, he has our full support.”

The United States considers Jordan a major ally in providing military equipment and assistance. US special forces and other troops regularly train with the Jordanians. The kingdom hosts about 3,000 American troops.

The pro-American Gulf Arab states, where many Jordanians work in public sector jobs, also immediately issued statements in support of the king and his government.

The Saudi royal court said in a statement that it supported King Abdullah’s efforts to “maintain security and stability and thwart any attempt to influence them”.

Statements in support of Abdullah were issued by Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

Abdullah և Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have had strained relations with Israel in recent years over Saudi Arabia’s gestures. However, Saudi social media was flooded overnight with images of Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah,, apparently in support.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called Jordan a “strategic ally” and dismissed the mess as “Jordan’s internal affair.”

Stability in Jordan և King:’s status has long been a concern throughout the region, particularly during the Trump administration, which has provided unprecedented support to Israel and sought to isolate Palestinians, including by cutting funding for Palestinian refugees.

It established Jordan, the custodian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem and home to a large Palestinian population.

Jordan made peace with Israel in 1994. The countries maintain close ties, but relations have been strained in recent years mainly due to differences with the Palestinians over the Israeli conflict.

In early 2018, when then-President Donald Trump threatened to cut aid to countries that do not support US policy, the administration boosted aid to Jordan by more than $ 1 billion over five years.

With Hamza under house arrest on Sunday, it was unclear how long the confrontation could have continued without threatening Abdullah’s international standing.

Adam Kugl, the Middle East and North Africa deputy director for human rights watchdogs, says there has been a slow but steady slide in personal freedoms in Jordan in recent years.

“There is no doubt that there has been a real degradation in the area of ​​critical political discourse in terms of fundamental freedoms,” he said. “We have reached a really low point.”

Coogle cites the rise of the Islamic State group, the threat to the Jordanian regime, and the warming of ties between Israel and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf during the Trump era, often at the expense of Jordan. He noted the decline of the Jordanian economy during the coronavirus epidemic. Unemployment has risen to about 25 percent, while the country has been hit by an influx of about 1 million Syrian refugees.

Oded Yeran, a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan and a senior fellow at the Tel Aviv Institute for National Security Studies, said he had created “pockets of resentment and frustration” last year.

But he does not think there is a real threat to Abdullah’s government, it is unlikely to lead to a popular uprising.

“I doubt it could be more than talking about dissatisfied people, no matter who they are,” he said.

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The AP training was attended by AP correspondents Gam on Gambler in Dubai, Ilan Ben Zion in Jerusalem, and Sarah El Dib in Beirut.

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