Jordan king doubles down on sedition claims against brother

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FILE - In this Dec. 10, 2020 file photo released by the Royal Hashemite Court, Jordan's King Abdullah II gives a speech during the inauguration of the 19th Parliament's non-ordinary session, in Amman Jordan. Jordans king addressed the public feud with his half-brother, Prince Hamzah, portraying it as an attempted sedition that caused him shock, anger and pain. The statement on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, carried by Jordan TV, marked the first time King Abdullah II addressed the unprecedented rift in the royal family which erupted over the weekend. (Yousef Allan/The Royal Hashemite Court via AP, File)

BEIRUT – Jordan's King Abdullah II addressed the unprecedented public rift within the royal family for the first time Wednesday, portraying it as an attempted sedition involving his half-brother that had been “nipped in the bud," but caused him anger, pain and shock.

The monarch appeared to be doubling down on the allegations against Prince Hamzah, a former crown prince, while at the same time trying to reassure Jordanians that the nation was returning to business as usual. But even if the current crisis is eventually defused, major challenges loom for the Western-allied monarchy as it confronts growing internal dissent.

Wednesday's statement, presented by a newsreader on Jordan TV, dealt with the internal crisis that erupted over the weekend when Hamzah was confined to his home and accused of being part of a plot to destabilize the kingdom.

Hamzah has denied the allegations, saying he was simply calling out long-running corruption and mismanagement in the kingdom.

The king said Wednesday that he was hurt by the recent events.

“The challenge over the past few days was not the most difficult or dangerous to the stability of our nation, but to me, it was the most painful,” he said. “Sedition came from within and without our one house, and nothing compares to my shock, pain, and anger as a brother and as the head of the Hashemite family, and as a leader of this proud people.”

Abdullah also suggested that there was continued control over Hamzah's movements. The prince, who has not been seen or heard from in days, was “with his family at his palace, under my care," the statement said.

There was no sign that authorities have released up to 18 other detainees, including members of one of the powerful tribes on which the monarchy has historically relied.