June 14, 2024

Berner Zeitung

The failed coup in Jordan? – An attempted coup in the world of calm

In Jordan, which is notoriously quiet, there is an attempted coup d’état – at least that’s what King Abdullah’s security forces claim. He may, however, prefer to seize the opportunity to take action against the critics.

Troubled Times: Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Photo: Yusef Allan / The Jordanian Royal Palace (AFP)

Feeling bored is often seen as a punishment – but in individual cases it is also seen as a huge advantage. For the Kingdom of Jordan, for example, the lack of events has been part of the brand’s core in the past few decades: while wars have raged in the countries bordering Iraq and Syria and jihadists have declared a caliphate, while neighboring Saudi Arabia has turned. Upside down by the power-hungry crown prince and the next Israel, the conflict in the Middle East has made headlines recently with elections being held roughly every six months, but in the desert monarchy everything seemed to be going as usual.

The fact that foreigners who work in the capital, Amman, like to misuse the official name of their host country such as “Hashemite Kingdom of Millions” – “The Hashemite Kingdom of Millions” – could be a prerogative of the Hashemite ruling family. The billions of economic and military aid that flowed from the United States of America, the Gulf states, and Europe in past decades is mainly due to this: While the region is threatened to boil over quickly, Jordan made peace with Israel, and was a secret place in order to plan operations in Syria and Iraq. German Armed Forces aircraft have also recently become a safe airport as the political situation in Turkey has become increasingly difficult. Jordan is poor in minerals and other resources – calm is abundant.

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But on Sunday night, news suddenly poured in from the country: Security forces thwarted a coup and arrested twenty people. They included a former minister and a high-ranking member of the royal family, who reported the Post Office in distant Washington first. Palace intrigues and coup attempts in the anchor of apparent stability in the Middle East – it is not just security experts who have suddenly woken up.

The deteriorating crown prince is considered the mastermind

Soon, former Crown Prince Hamzah was identified as the royal who was said to have been the head of the plot. As the younger half-brother of King Abdullah II, who has ruled since 1999, Hamza once aspired to power. In 2004 they were buried: Abdullah appointed his eight-year-old son Hussein to the throne. Hamza, 41, transferred his rank to the outside world, but had nothing against the fact that many people like to project their fantasies into his person: he remembered the nostalgia of his father, King Hussein, who had challenged at least twelve people. Attempts to kill and topple. The country’s entrenched tribes, whose population consists mostly of Palestinian refugees, saw it as a point of contact. Others felt they could express cautious or even slightly more direct criticism of the conditions prevailing in his presence.

At least that’s what Hamza said in two dramatic videos that were broadcast on the BBC on Sunday. They deny the Washington Post report of his arrest, but asserted that he was blamed for this rapprochement with dissatisfied minors: he is now under house arrest, protected from family and means of communication – which is probably the reason this news was his latest news.

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Although Hamza refused to engage in subversive projects, he made no effort to make the weather fine with his half-brother, the king – on the contrary. Hamza once said in Arabic, and once in his polished English, which he refined at Sandhurst Military Academy in Great Britain: “I am not the one responsible for the collapse of state power.” “It’s not the person responsible for the corruption and inefficiency, which has proliferated in our governmental structures over the past fifteen to twenty years and is getting worse.” Nor is it responsible for people’s diminishing confidence in institutions.

King Abdullah rejects reforms

Hamzah did not directly say that he blamed King Abdullah for all of this – he was not obliged, after all, to rule by a brother by chance for the nearly 20 years in which the decline had continued, according to Hamzah. In those two decades, the country escaped the side effects of the Iraq war and its aftermath, but also managed to absorb and care for hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – but it was brewing beneath the apparently calm surface.

Even in isolated demonstrations during the so-called Arab Spring, some protesters shouted the name Hamzah. There have been protests again in recent years due to the growing discontent, especially with the economic situation. Against the main teachers’ union here, as well as against the media and other civil society organizations, the state has acted with increasing rigor. Otherwise, King Abdullah could think of something other than reorganizing his government over ever shorter periods. He vehemently rejected the reforms.

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So far, the regent wants to resist any impression that external circumstances or even insurgents can dictate his actions: “The kingdom’s stability and security are of the utmost importance,” Abdullah said his Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi Monday night when the government finally took a stand on events with a delay of nearly 24 hours. Safadi said that “the risk of a coup has been completely avoided,” and he did not provide any information on whether the coup was imminent and whether it had been foiled at the last minute. But whoever was behind it, in the eyes of the government: Prince Hamzah, who was said to have been in contact with foreign governments, was guilty of “incitement and efforts” to “mobilize citizens against the state”.

It is difficult to independently explain the magnitude of these claims. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, each of which were quickly associated with the alleged coup attempt, as well as the United States and the federal government, confirmed their support for King Abdullah. And so the first voices really began to move, according to which the king took an opportunity to show strength: he did not want to tolerate very shouting opposition even in the royal family, and certainly not in society. Boredom in the kingdom is said to last for a long time – if necessary it is imposed by an iron political cemetery.