Jordan yesterday sought to throw a veil over its public palace feud by ordering its media to stop reporting on an alleged plot the government says involves the half-brother of King Abdullah II.
Prince Hamzah bin Hussein had on Saturday harshly criticized Jordan’s leaders from what he said was house arrest — but in a dramatic about-turn on Monday pledged his loyalty to the royal family.
The palace released a signed statement in which the 41-year-old prince had changed his tone and pledged to “always be ready to help and support His Majesty the King and his Crown Prince.”
The monarchy ruling Jordan — a country long regarded as a pro-Western anchor of stability in a turbulent region — said it was settling the matter “within the framework of the Hashemite family.”
Amman Prosecutor General Hassan al-Abdallat yesterday banned the publication of any information about the investigation into what the government has called a “wicked” plot against Jordan involving unnamed foreign entities.
The government has accused Hamzah — a former crown prince who was sidelined as heir to the throne in 2004 — of involvement in a conspiracy to “destabilize the kingdom’s security” and arrested at least 16 people.
“In order to keep the security services’ investigation into Prince Hamzah and the others secret, [it is decided] to ban the publication of anything related to this inquiry at this stage,” al-Abdallat said in a statement.
“The ban on publication involves all audiovisual media and social networks, as well as the publication of all images or video clips relating to this subject on pain of legal action,” he said.
Prince Hamzah has made extensive use of the media to lash out against his situation, accusing Jordan’s rulers of corruption, nepotism and ineptitude in a video message he sent to the BBC on Saturday.
He also vowed he would not be silenced or stay confined at home.
However, his tone changed after Abdullah on Monday sent another royal to speak with him. The job of mediator was handed to Prince Hamzah’s uncle, Prince Hassan, 71, a former heir to the throne who was also sidelined.
After their talk, the palace released a statement in which the prince did not step away from all his criticism, but loyally pledged: “I will remain ... faithful to the legacy of my ancestors, walking on their path, loyal to their path and their message and to His Majesty.”
Analyst Ahmed Awad, who heads the Phoenix Center for Economic Studies and Informatics, said “there has been a solution within the royal family, but not a solution to the political crisis in the country.”
“The real political crisis is not over ... as long as there are not more democratic reforms,” he said.
Human Rights Watch said the crisis comes against the backdrop of a “diminishing space for freedom of expression and political dialogue” in Jordan.
Prince Hamzah’s comments reflect “public angst and frustration over the economic situation as well as the perceived increase of authoritarianism,” its Middle East and North Africa deputy director Adam Coodle said.
“There’s been just a creeping securitization of all the government agencies,” he added.
IN A HURRY: The 199,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine expire on May 31, so the CECC might expand vaccine eligibility, but distribution would begin in a week at the earliest The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines allocated to Taiwan through the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program arrived yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said, adding that, after testing, it would be able to distribute them by Monday next week at the earliest. The 199,200 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were shipped from Amsterdam on a China Airlines (中華航空) plane and arrived at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 5:21am. After the cargo was examined and release procedures were completed at the airport, the Aviation Police Bureau escorted the vehicles carrying the vaccines to a cold chain storage facility. Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General
HEATED TRAFFIC: As Beijing holds naval drills near Taiwan, the Ministry of National Defense said it had a full grasp of the situation and would handle it ‘appropriately’ A Chinese carrier group exercising near Taiwan is part of what are to be regular drills, the Chinese navy said in a statement late on Monday, further escalating tensions between Taipei and Beijing. The group, including the aircraft carrier Liaoning, was conducting “routine” drills in the waters around Taiwan, a move to “enhance its capability to safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests,” the statement said. “Similar exercises will be conducted regularly,” it said, without elaborating. The statement came after the Ministry of National Defense earlier on Monday issued a statement regarding a rise in the number of incursions by Chinese jets into
AIMED AT TAIWAN? Institute for National Defense and Security Research research fellow Ou Si-fu said chips can be ‘bought off the shelf’ and then used in weapons The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday said that chips from Taiwanese semiconductor companies were not making their way into Chinese missiles “to the best of our knowledge.” A report in yesterday’s Washington Post alleged that a Chinese company named Phytium Technology Co (飛騰) used chips made by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), along with US software, in advanced Chinese military systems. “TSMC has long placed strict controls on their chips. The export of high-tech products from Taiwan is also highly regulated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said. “According to our understanding, none of the end uses for those products
NO TIME: The driver tried to apply the brakes when he saw the truck, but the train did not have time to come to a full stop, an investigation report said The crane truck that caused last week’s fatal train accident had slid onto the tracks about one-and-a-half minutes before it was struck, the Taiwan Transportation Safety Board said yesterday. The board had launched an investigation into the derailment, which killed 50 people and injured 211 people, making it the nation’s most devastating railway accident in decades. Carrying 494 passengers and four Taiwan Railways Administration personnel, the southbound express train to Taitung hit the truck as it was about to enter the Cingshuei Tunnel (清水隧道) in Hualien’s Sioulin Township (秀林). The train derailed following the collision, with the left side of the eighth