What’s Really Behind Jordan’s Royal Family Feud?

What’s Really Behind Jordan’s Royal Family Feud?
Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, Jordan, Nov. 10, 2019 (AP photo by Raad Adayleh).

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Managing Editor Frederick Deknatel highlights a major unfolding story in the Middle East, while curating some of the best news and analysis from the region. Subscribers can adjust their newsletter settings to receive Middle East Memo by email every week.

A former crown prince is under house arrest, accused of a plot to apparently destabilize the kingdom. He denies all that and has instead vowed to defy the orders to keep him quiet at home. He has already shared one video with the media and another audio message to his supporters online, declaring his innocence and blasting the authorities for their corruption. His half-brother, the king, remains silent.

That’s the extent of what’s really known in Jordan, following a weekend in which a royal rift burst into the open. When news broke Saturday that Jordanian police had arrested some 20 people, including other members of the royal family and former palace advisers, and restricted the movements of Prince Hamzeh bin Hussein, officials claimed they were responding to a vague threat to the kingdom’s “security and stability.” By Sunday, Hamzeh was accused, along with several of his associates, of a “malicious plot” that involved foreign entities and, in the words of Deputy Prime Minister Ayman al-Safadi, activities “promoting sedition.” None of those foreign entities have been identified, though, and all the other details of this alleged scheme are just as fuzzy.

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