Jordan's ex-crown prince pledges allegiance to king

Jordan's King Abdullah (right) and Prince Hamzah (centre, behind) arriving at the Raghadan Palace on Sunday - their first joint public appearance since a crisis involving the prince rocked the kingdom last week. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Jordan's King Abdullah (right) and Prince Hamzah (centre, behind) arriving at the Raghadan Palace on Sunday - their first joint public appearance since a crisis involving the prince rocked the kingdom last week. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

AMMAN • Jordan's King Abdullah and his half-brother, former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein, have made their first joint appearance since a rift shook the country, attending a ceremony marking 100 years of independence.

State media showed the king and other members of the royal family laying wreaths on Sunday on the memorial to the unknown soldier and tombs of royalty in the Raghadan Palace in Amman.

Prince Hamzah pledged allegiance to King Abdullah late yesterday, following mediation by the royal family, two days after the military warned him over actions that it said were undermining Jordan's security and stability.

Last Wednesday, in the first statement since the affair came to light, King Jordan said sedition had been quashed and the prince was "under my care" with his family at his palace. The monarch said the crisis was "the most painful" because it came from both inside the royal family and outside it.

Hamzah's absence after he appeared in a video on April 3 saying he had been ordered to stay at home and accused the country's rulers of corruption and authoritarian rule led to speculation about his whereabouts.

In announcing last week that the military had warned Hamzah over his actions, the government said he had liaised with people linked to foreign parties seeking to destabilise Jordan and that he had been under investigation for some time.

Hamzah had been widely expected to succeed the king as Jordan's next ruler, until the monarch made his own son, Prince Hussein, heir instead in 2004, in line with family tradition.

While the half-brothers have publicly buried the hatchet, last week's dramatic events exposed fault lines within a royal family that has helped shield Jordan from the turmoil that has consumed neighbouring Syria and Iraq.

The rift within the monarchy has shaken Jordan's reputation as a stable country in a volatile region.

Surrounded by Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Jordan is generally viewed as a pocket of calm within an unsettled neighbourhood. Western allies see the country as a key partner in campaigns against extremist groups.

It is also effectively a Western military camp, notably for US forces, a buffer against attacks on Israel as well as a player in Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy.

US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken both called the king this past week in a signal of support.

REUTERS, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2021, with the headline 'Jordan's ex-crown prince pledges allegiance to king'. Subscribe