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.
Faced with rival narratives, the United States and Arab governments quickly sided with Jordan's King Abdullah II, reflecting the country's strategic importance in a turbulent region.
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.
At the same time, 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.
At a news conference in Amman on Sunday, Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister and deputy prime minister, accused Hamzah and two senior Jordanian officials of conspiring with foreign elements to destabilize the kingdom.
Yet Safadi’s news conference did little to address questions surrounding the weekend's dramatic events.
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.
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