Monday (April 5th): Jordan’s Monarchy Drama

Hamzah bin Al Hussein

Name? Hamzah bin Al Hussein

Westphalian identity? Jordanian

Age? 41

Why is he in the news? Jordanian King Abdullah II’s half brother claims he has been placed under house arrest over accusations of corruption and incompetence of the kingdom’s “ruling system.” Meanwhile, the government claims that Prince Hamzah has been liaising with foreign parties over a “malicious plot” to destabilise the country.

Why do we care? The Kingdom of Jordan has long been an anchor of stability in the Middle East, hosting millions of refugees as well as military bases for the US and France. Its stability serves as an entry gate to the complexities of the Middle East. For example, it was the second country to recognise Israel, making King Abdullah II the guardian of the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Why should you care? Everybody cares about stability in Jordan, especially its neighbouring Kingdoms who were quick to support King Abdullah and Western countries who care about refugees and military bases. IF so many countries care about the stability of this place, you should care 9/10 as well. 

Who else cares? MBS. He expressed his support for King Abdullah very quickly but there are reasons to doubt this support. Two of the co-conspirators arrested were working with Saudi Arabia lately, one as Jordan’s envoy to the Kingdom and another as MBS’ consultant. What reasons does MBS have to support Prince Hamzah in order to destabilise Jordan? For one, King Abdullah does not enjoy Saudi Arabia cosying up to Israel because it would mean a loss of significance and, Abdullah II is also the custodian of Islam’s third most holy site, a title MBS would like to add to the al-Saud’s CV. 

Any further comments? Why does King Abdullah crack down aggressively on Prince Hamzah? The Prince is very popular in the population and thus, his criticism gives agency to growing discontent with corruption amidst Jordan’s declining economic performance. Removing agency solves problems … duh!

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordination Communications