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Jordanians reflect on rare public clash between royals

On the streets of Amman, people on Monday expressed their hopes for an end to the crisis that has recently hit Jordan amid a rare public clash between the country's royals.   

Amman residents are hoping the dissent within the royal family is resolved in a peaceful way.

Jordanian authorities said Sunday they foiled a "malicious plot" by a former crown prince to destabilize the kingdom with foreign support, contradicting the senior royal's claims that he was being punished for speaking out against corruption and incompetence.

Domestically, Prince Hamzah's unprecedented criticism of the ruling class - without naming the king - could lend support to growing complaints about poor governance and human rights abuses in Jordan.

"Prince Hamzah surprised us," one Amman resident said, adding that his move was unexpected from someone from the Hashemite family.

The king’s tough reaction -- placing his popular half-brother under house arrest and accusing him of serious crimes -- illustrated the limits on public dissent he is willing to tolerate.

Such public clashes between the highest ranks of the long-ruling family are unheard of, and any signs of instability in Jordan could raise concerns throughout the region.

In the night from Saturday to Sunday, Hamzah had announced in a secretly recorded video leaked to the media that he had been placed under house arrest.

Abdullah and Hamzah are both sons of the late King Hussein, who remains a beloved figure two decades after his death.

Upon ascending to the throne in 1999, Abdullah named Hamzah as crown prince, only to revoke the title five years later.

While the two are said to have generally good relations, Hamzah has at times spoken out against government policies, and more recently had forged ties with powerful tribal leaders in a move seen as a threat to the king.

The United States swiftly announced its “full support” for Abdullah. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait all expressed solidarity with the king.

Associated Press
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