Behind the quarrel of the royal family of Jordan, a prince who offended a king

SALT, Jordan – After a government hospital ran out of oxygen last month and nine patients with Covid-19 died, the country’s monarch, King Abdullah II, made a brief visit to this small rural town. Dressed in a military uniform, he scolded local officials in front of the TV cameras.

Earlier, an angry mob hit their vehicles with their fists and shoes on a vehicle carrying a court official, forcing him to flee.

The next day, Salt received a royal visit very different from the king’s half brother, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein. The prince, a critic of the king and his government, visited the home of the deceased and sat down to talk with their families. Two weeks later, he was invited to return to a traditional party with the residents.

The duel visits – as Jordan struggled to contain the pandemic and repair a crisis economy – turned out to be one of the last drops in a longstanding rivalry between the king and his younger half brother, according to people on both sides. division, in a nation that is an important ally of the United States.

Within days, Prince Hamzah was effectively placed under house arrest and accused by the government of undermining national security, a movement that changed policy in the desert kingdom between Israel and the occupied West Bank, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria. He has not been seen publicly since. The palace says that the prince remains at home “under the care” of the king.