"Grow Up Boys"

5 April 2021


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Jordan Foils Coup Plot


The Jordanian security forces have foiled a possible coup attempt. Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, formerly the crown prince, and several others are under house arrest (or real arrest) after allegedly interacting with "foreign parties" and tribal leaders. No members of the military are among the 16 being held. Arrests like this are common in a great many countries, but Jordan is not one of those. This is a serious development that suggests Jordan may not be as stable as its allies had hoped.

Some of this plotting is the direct result of royal family issues. Prince Hamzah, whose mother is American-born Queen Noor, had been the late King Hussein's favorite. His Majesty named Prince Hamzah the crown prince (and therefore, heir to the throne) in 1999, calling him "the delight of my eye." Not long thereafter, King Hussein died, and at 19, Prince Hamzah was viewed as too young to take the throne.

Instead, his half-brother Prince Abdullah (whose mother is Queen Rania, whose parents were Palestinians) was crowned. In 2004, King Abdullah stripped Prince Hamzah of the title crown prince, and he gave that honor to his own son, Hussein bin Abdullah now 27 years of age. This is a recipe for instability as seen in literature ranging from Shakespeare's Richard III to Disney's The Lion King.

However, a discontented prince cannot take the throne on his own simply because he is unhappy. At least two things in addition to personal ambition must be present. First, the country over which he would reign must be in some kind of crisis or chronic difficulties. Jordan has been an unwilling but gracious host of hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, and it has suffered like other nations from the pandemic. Second, the military needs to be on board with any change at the top. It was this second requirement that prevented a coup from starting.

For his part, Prince Hamzah is unrepentant. He has sneaked at least two recordings out since being detained. In one, he claims, "It has reached a point where no one is able to speak or express opinion on anything without being bullied, arrested, harassed and threatened." Later in the same message, he says, "this country has become stymied in corruption, in nepotism and in misrule, and the result has been the destruction or the loss of hope that is apparent in pretty much every Jordanian. The loss of hope in our future, the loss of dignity, and a life under constant threat because we simply want to speak the truth, or we are trying to express our concerns or our hopes for the future."

In the second message "I don't want to make moves and escalate now," he said in the audio recording posted on Twitter, "But I'm not going to obey when they say you can't go out, you can't tweet, you can't communicate with people [and] you're only allowed to see your family. I think it's a bit unacceptable." He also said, "I am not responsible for the lack of faith people have in their institutions," implying that someone else with power is. One need not be an expert in Jordanian law to see this as skating quite close to sedition.

Deputy Prime Minister Ayman al-Safadi said in a televised statement on Sunday, "individuals who hoped to undermine Jordan's role in the region, and [who engaged in] activities whose goal were to strike Jordan, its stability, and promote sedition" had been detained.

Princess Firyal, the ex-wife of the brothers' uncle, Prince Muhammad bin Talal, tweeted, "the seemingly blind ambition of Queen Noor & her sons is delusional,futile, unmerited,false sense of entitlement . they all should know better. Such as the constitutional succession act, father to eldest son, experienced with uninterrupted service record .Grow up Boys."

If only it were that easy. This rift in the royal family is a significant threat to the monarchy and to national security. And there is no evidence of any reconciliation right now.

© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.

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