While attempts of throwing-out King Abdullah II was taking place in Amman, the Jordanian king’s half-sister Princess Haya bint Hussein, sitting in London was giving encouragement to Prince Hamzah, while she also was taking preparations of diplomatic efforts in favor of Hamzah and against King Abdullah, once the coup was successful. Writes Damsana Ranadhiran
Everyone in the world was astonished hearing the news about a failed coup in Jordan, where King Abdullah II’s half-brother Prince Hamzah bin Hussein played the main role. It may be mentioned here that Prince Hamza has been a bitter critic of King Abdullah’s rule, has provided grist for both the king’s enemies and critics to accuse him of repression, mismanagement and corruption. According to media reports, the Jordanian kind and his half brother have long had a difficult relationship. While attempts of throwing-out King Abdullah II was taking place in Amman, the Jordanian king’s half-sister Princess Haya bint Hussein, sitting in London was giving encouragement to Prince Hamzah, while she also was taking preparations of diplomatic efforts in favor of Hamzah and against King Abdullah, once the coup was successful.
According to Dov S. Zakheim, the former undersecretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer for the US Department of Defense: “The Biden administration has thus far voiced its support for the king, much to the chagrin of the Washington Post editorial board, which recommends that “rather than blindly support the ruler, the Biden Administration and other western democracies ought to be telling him, quietly but firmly, that the repressive status quo is unsustainable.” What exactly “unsustainable” might mean, however, is not at all clear. The Washington Post offers no explanation, but the implication is clear: if the king does not bow to Western pressure and undertake serious reforms, he must face the wrath of his populace on his own. And if he is deposed, well, that’s his problem”.
Commenting on Biden administration’s treatment of King Abdullah, Mr. Zakheim said: This is hardly the way to treat a man who has been a loyal friend of the United States—where he received his high school education—even before he succeeded King Hussein some twenty-two years ago. When the Bush administration responded to the 9/11 attacks by launching Operation Enduring Freedom, Jordan was among the first Arab states to provide material support to the American and Coalition forces in Afghanistan. Indeed, from 2012 to 2014 it deployed forces to the dangerous Helmand province in support of the international coalition fighting the Taliban.
Jordan has also supported American military efforts in both Iraq and Syria. Additionally, it has managed training programs for thousands of Iraqi Army officers. It reportedly provided key intelligence that enabled the United States to track down and kill Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the brutal leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. Amman has also hosted an American military presence in the northern part of the kingdom, although it has not acknowledged that presence or why exactly it is there.
King Abdullah’s enemies within and outside
One needs to remember, the Jordanian king faces threats posed by the aggressive Muslim Brotherhood as well as those terrorist elements within his country’s Palestinian majority – both of which are becoming increasingly ambitious in ousting King Abdullah and grab power. In this case, Palestinians in particular enjoy support from King Abdullah’s half-brothers – Prince Ali and Prince Hamzah as well as his money-hungry half-sister Princess Haya. While Prince Ali has been maintaining extreme intimacy with the Palestinians, including leaders of mega-terror outfit Hamas, his sister Princess Haya has hidden hatred towards King Abdullah. These half-brothers and sisters of the Jordanian king may play crucial role in mobilizing forces against him, thus finally compelling him in fleeing the country and take refuge in any of the western nations.
The battle inside Jordanian palace
According to According to Dov S. Zakheim, some observers have noted that the flare-up with Hamzah, whom in 2009 Abdullah replaced as crown prince with his oldest son Prince Hussein bin Abdullah, is reminiscent of his father’s decision to name his own oldest son crown prince in place of Prince Hassan bin Talal, King Hussein’s brother. Actually, Abdullah had initially been named crown prince when he was a small child, but the king decided that should he not survive yet another assassination attempt, then having his brother rather than his young son assume the throne would ensure a smooth succession. When Hussein, near the end of his life, re-designated Abdullah as Crown Prince, he was in effect restoring his son to what had once been his title. Moreover, Abdullah was by then a popular leader of the crack Jordanian Special Forces who often led his units into combat. Hassan and his supporters were deeply disappointed by the king’s decision. Similarly, and not at all surprisingly, Queen Noor, Hamza’s mother, resents her step-son Abdullah’s decision to strip her son of his title and instead grant it to his own son.
In this case, despite the fact of King Abdullah being a force for stability in the region, committed to peace with Israel and most importantly, a strong ally of the United states, it is unclear whether he would now get expected support from the Biden administration and the western nations.
Damsana Ranadhiran is a retired intelligence official