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Jordan’s King Restricts Prince Hamza’s Communications, Residency, Movements

Jordan’s King Restricts Prince Hamza’s Communications, Residency, Movements

Friday, 20 May, 2022 - 05:15
In this file photo taken on December 17, 2009 Jordan Prince Hamza delivers his speech during the plenary session at the Bella Center in Copenhagen. (AFP)

Jordan's King Abdullah II said on Thursday he was restricting the movements of his estranged half-brother Prince Hamza and curtailing his contacts with the outside world to ensure he does not act against his country's interests.

Hamza, a former heir to Jordan's throne who was placed under house arrest last year, was accused in April 2021 of trying to destabilize the monarchy in a foreign-inspired plot, but was spared punishment after pledging allegiance to the King.

A royal court statement said the monarch had approved a recommendation by a royal family council that decreed restrictions on the estranged prince's movements, place of residence and communications.

Hamza, 42, was named Crown Prince when King Hussein died in 1999 and Abdullah became king, but lost that title five years later when Abdullah installed his own son as heir as stipulated under the constitution.

In a letter to the Jordanian people, King Abdullah said: "You are the source of hope and resolve, and with you, we will continue to build our noble nation, which will remain a model of compassion, solidarity, harmony, and resilience, no matter how great the challenges."

"I write to you in the hopes of turning the page on a dark chapter in the history of our country and our family," he continued.

"As you know, when the details of the sedition case were revealed last year, I chose to deal with my brother Prince Hamza within the confines of our family, hopeful that he would realize the error of his ways, repent, and become an engaged member of our Hashemite family.

"But after more than a year during which he exhausted all opportunities to restore himself on the right path, in line with the legacy of our family, I have come to the disappointing conclusion that he will not change.

"This conviction grew deeper with everything my young brother, whom I have always treated as a son, has said and done.

"And now, I am certain that he is living in a state of self-deception, where he sees himself as the sole guardian of our Hashemite legacy, and the target of a systematic campaign by our institutions.

"His frequent letters have reflected the state of denial in which he is living, and his refusal to take any responsibility for his actions. My brother Hamza continues to ignore all facts and undisputable evidence, manipulating events to bolster his false narrative.

"Unfortunately, my brother truly believes what he claims. The delusion he lives in is not new; other members of our Hashemite family and I have long realized that he reneges on his pledges and is persistent in his irresponsible actions that seek to sow unrest, unconcerned with the ramifications of his conduct on our country and our family.

"As is typical of him, not long after vowing to renounce his erroneous ways, he goes back on his promises and returns to the path he chose years ago, putting his interests before the nation instead of taking inspiration from the history and values of his family.

"He continues to live within the confines of his own reality rather than recognizing the great stature, respect, love, and care we have given him. He ignores facts, denies realities, and plays the role of the victim.

"Over the past years, I have exercised the highest degrees of tolerance, self-restraint, and patience with my brother.

"I have excused his behavior, hoping that he would, one day, mature and that I would then find in him a supporting brother in the service of our proud people and in safeguarding our nation and its interests.

"I have been consistently patient and have been disappointed time and again. My family, the sedition case in April of last year was not the beginning of Hamza’s state of denial.

"He chose to stray from the legacy of his family years ago; while he claimed he had accepted my constitutional decision to restore the position of the crown prince to its original constitutional rule, all his actions since have demonstrated otherwise.

"His negative behavior was obvious to all members of our family, as he surrounded himself with individuals who sought to promote opposition to that decision and made no effort to stop them.

"I was hopeful that Hamza would find contentment in the stature and position with which God Almighty had blessed him, so that he could serve our beloved nation and people. However, he continued his offensive behavior against me, the legacy of his family, and our state institutions that extend every support to him and others. I, nonetheless, chose to overlook his actions in the hope that he would overcome this self-imposed state.

"Despite everything, he is my brother. Yet, he consistently chose to treat all those around him with suspicion, and continued to stir up controversy. All the while, he justified his failure to serve our nation or present realistic solutions to the challenges we face by claiming he was being targeted and victimized.

"I sought to support his career in the Armed Forces, in the hope that the dedication, patience, and sacrifices of our brothers in arms would invigorate his resolve and help him move past his overwhelming negativity. But I was disappointed.

"During the years he spent in our valiant Armed Forces, a school in honor and fortitude, I would receive complaints from the Arab Army’s leadership and his colleagues about his arrogant conduct towards his superiors, and his attempts to sow doubt in the professionalism and capabilities of our Armed Forces.

"I have tried, as have members of our family, to free Hamza from his self-induced illusions so that he could become an active member of our family in our service to Jordan and Jordanians. I have presented him with many assignments and roles in service of the country, which were only ever met with suspicion and skepticism.

"He has never offered anything of substance beyond complaints and populist slogans, and he has not once come to me with a solution or a practical proposal to deal with any of the problems facing our beloved nation.

"The only proposal that Prince Hamza ever presented was to unify the intelligence arms of our Armed Forces under his command, despite the irrationality of this suggestion and the fact that it completely contradicts with the way our Armed Forces operate.

"I am fully aware of the challenges facing our nation and the constant need to address shortcomings and gaps. I welcome and seek constructive criticism and dialogue from everyone. But, at the same time, I recognize that these challenges cannot be addressed or overcome through showmanship that aims to exploit our economic woes to spread despair and defeatist discourse.

"For years, it pained me every time I noted Hamza’s absence at national and family occasions, and I prayed that he would stop isolating himself this way. However, he favored creating controversy around his absence - hoping that it would bolster the image of victimhood he had created, over upholding his national and family obligations.

"He even refused to participate in the funeral of our eldest uncle, Prince Mohammad bin Talal, to publicly take a personal stance during a family moment that called for solidarity and compassion.

"My family, after the attempt to sow sedition was nipped in the bud last year, and as part of efforts to deal with Prince Hamza within the confines of the family, our uncle, Prince El Hassan bin Talal, has since met with him several times to offer him advice and guidance. Our brothers and cousins also exerted tremendous efforts to bring him back to the fold.

"But today, after all the time he has had for self-reflection and self-reconciliation, he remains on the same misguided course. I have seen nothing from him but disregard for the facts and denial of all of his mistakes and errors, which have impacted an entire nation.

"This was evident in a private letter he sent to me on the 15th of January, in which he distorted the facts and ignored whichever details did not fit into his narrative. He even went as far as to put words in my mouth, attributing to me statements I never made.

"He intentionally distorted the truth of what took place between him and the Chairman of the Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, claiming that the chairman’s visit to his house was a surprise, when in fact, it came at the time and place he himself had set.

"He presented a false narrative of his role in the sedition case, disregarding facts that the public became aware of regarding his suspicious relationship and communications with the traitor Bassem Awadallah, and Hassan bin Zeid, whom my brother knew had approached two foreign embassies to ask about the possibility of their countries supporting what he had described as regime change.

"Hamza claimed that he and his family have long been targeted and persecuted, when, in fact, they have always been afforded every means of comfort and luxury across all aspects of their lives and at his palace. This continued even after the sedition events; at no point were any restraints imposed on his family or on their access to his own personal accounts.

"My brother violated every tradition of our family, as well as our Jordanian values. He demeaned his stature as a Hashemite Prince when he violated the most basic principles of moral conduct by secretly recording his meeting with the Chairman of the Army’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and, immediately after, sending the recording to Bassem Awadallah.

"He was also quick to send a recorded video to foreign media, in an act ill-befitting of our nation and our family. Not for a moment did he consider the consequences of such an action on our country and people.

"He could have reached out to me or whomever he wanted from our family to discuss what had taken place without jeopardizing his reputation or that of the family, but he chose instead to vilify and defame Jordan as a means to win popularity and manipulate emotions.

"These actions represent a blatant violation of his stature as a Hashemite Prince, and a contravention of the norms and traditions that every member of our family has honored since Abdullah I assumed his duties.

"My brother Hamza preaches morality, disingenuously invoking our Hashemite values while violating them with his actions and behavior.

"It has become evident that the Prince is living in the fantasy created by those around him that he alone has inherited this great legacy, despite his young age and limited experience.

"After all this, I realized that my young brother will remain captive to his own misguided mind-set, which has rendered him incapable of distinguishing fact from falsehood.

"At his request, I met him, in the presence of our brothers Prince Feisal bin Al Hussein and Prince Ali bin Al Hussein, hoping that he would return to the light. And I presented to him, at the meeting, a way forward to rebuild trust, including realistic steps that, if he so chose, would enable him to restore his role as an active member of the Hashemite family.

"I gave him full freedom of choice, and I was optimistic when Hamza decided to admit to what he had done and he sent me a letter apologizing to the nation, the people, and to me for his actions.

"Unfortunately, it was only a matter of a few weeks before Hamza confirmed his real intentions, and returned to his familiar showmanship and victimhood. He refrained from leaving his palace for a whole month, and refused to make use of the privileges offered to him.

"Instead, he released a statement on social media relinquishing his title, knowing full well that the granting and stripping of titles is an exclusive prerogative of the King, in accordance with Article 37 of the Constitution and the Royal Family Law.

"And, at the same time that Prince Hamza announced to the public that he had renounced his title, he sent me a private letter asking to maintain the financial and logistical privileges that come with his title throughout the coming period.

"And he, as always, resorted to the media in order to create a commotion and gain sympathy and attention. In the same vein, Hamzah attempted to instigate a confrontation with the honorable members of our Royal Guard on the morning of Eid al-Fitr in a stark signal of his determination to continue manufacturing crises, as he had done with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last year.

"Hamza knew that the arrangements for Eid prayer had been set, in line with the established security measures pertaining to his movements. However, he provoked the Royal Guard with his aggravating behavior, resorting to the use of religious speech in order to gain sympathy, and he filmed the incident he incited.

"Thankfully, Royal Guard personnel carried out their duties professionally and respectfully, preventing Hamza from making a scene that is neither befitting of his stature nor that of our Armed Forces.

"After exhausting all options to deal with Hamza within the family through brotherly advice and dialogue, I see no alternative but to act on my obligation and responsibility towards my larger Jordanian family and its interests, which far outweigh my duty towards my small family.

"I will not allow anyone, no matter who, to put their interests above the nation’s interest, and I will not allow even my brother to disturb the peace of our proud nation. We do not have the luxury of time to deal with Hamza’s erratic behavior and aspirations. We have many challenges and difficulties before us, and we must all work to overcome them and meet the aspirations of our people and their right to a dignified, stable life.

"Therefore, I have decided to approve a recommendation of the council formed in accordance with the Royal Family Law, to restrict the communications, place of residence, and movements of Prince Hamza.

"We will provide Hamza with all that he requires to live a comfortable life, but he will not have the space he once abused to offend the nation, its institutions, and his family, nor to undermine Jordan’s stability.

"Jordan is greater than all of us, and its people’s interests come above those of any individual. I will never allow our country to be held hostage to the whims of someone who has done nothing to serve his country.

"As such, Hamza will remain at his palace, in line with the decision of the Ruling Family Council, and in order to prevent a repeat of any of his irresponsible actions, which would be dealt with accordingly. As for Prince Hamza’s family, they do not bear the burden of his actions.

"My family and our country will remain resilient, secure, and stable. Its strength lies in your unity, our proud people, and your solidarity. This is Jordan, the homeland of wisdom and tolerance, the nation of determination and fortitude, which stands strong in the face of sedition and challenges."

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