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Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region

The Plot against the King of Jordan

Filed under: Jordan

The Plot against the King of Jordan
King Abdullah of Jordan and his guards. (King Abdullah II profile)1

King Abdullah II of Jordan confirmed that a plot aimed at undermining his rule failed. Apparently, the plot was in anticipation of Trump’s “deal of the century.”

The Jordanian army fully supports the king. After the plot was uncovered, the king dismissed a senior director of the Jordanian secret service and some of his senior advisers.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas revealed on April 18, 2019, the conspiracy to destabilize Jordan in the run-up to the publication of President Trump’s “deal of the century.” Less than two weeks later, King Abdullah started to take action to flush the conspirators out of the royal palace and the Jordanian Mukhabarat (secret service).

On May 1, 2019, the Jordanian news agency Petra reported that King Abdullah ordered the retirement of General Adnan al-Jundi, director of the Jordanian security service. The king appointed General Ahmad Husni Hassan in his place.

A few days earlier, several senior advisers at the royal palace submitted their resignations to King Abdullah. The background for the resignations is the alleged conspiracy. The king appointed two new advisers to the royal office. Bashar al-Khasawneh is the most prominent of these new appointments; he is considered a brilliant diplomat.

In a statement issued by the Petra news agency, King Abdullah indirectly confirmed that an attempt to destabilize his regime was made and failed. He said: “There are several factions that do not want things to be good for us here. They are working to harm Jordan’s security and stability.”

The King also confirmed that there were problems within the Jordanian security services and said, “Personal preferences had been placed above the general good. This forced us to take immediate action to correct the situation.”

The Conspiracy that Failed

Al-Qabas reported the conspiracy on April 18, 2019. It cited its source as well-known Jordanian security and political figures and announced the exposure of a dangerous plan to destabilize the Hashemite Kingdom and to incite riots among the Jordanian public.

According to the report, the plot was hatched by several people. Among them are a businessman convicted of corruption and married to King Abdullah’s aunt, a senior member of the security services, and members of the parliament and the media.

The plan involved several elements. One goal was to weaken Prime Minister Omar al-Razaz. Another was to stir up public opinion with false reports regarding appointments in the civil service. The leaders of the conspiracy also wanted to encourage unemployed Bedouin tribe members to demonstrate in front of the royal palace, thus weakening the popularity of the regime.

The conspirators also tried to reach out to the Muslim Brotherhood movement to recruit its activists to join the demonstrations against the regime. The plan was to carry out these steps while King Abdullah was abroad.

The King Is Working to Strengthen his Position

Jordan’s fragility in the face of President Trump’s “deal of the century” was revealed by the conspiracy. The deal, yet unpublicized, threatens the stability of the Hashemite Kingdom. It already exposed that there are senior officials who are attempting to exploit the situation for their personal gain.

King Abdullah stressed, “The security services managed to confront everyone who tried to tamper with the principles of the Jordanian constitution. They dealt with those who exploited the difficult situations that we are going through.”

It appears that King Abdullah is upholding the Jordanian constitution to preserve the monarchy’s status. Recent months have made apparent the harsh internal criticism against him and his heir, voiced by the Jordanian Bedouin tribe members.

Members of the Jordanian army
Members of the Jordanian army (Royal Hashemite Court/Twitter)

“Protecting the Jordanian Constitution” will become the new slogan of the Jordanian General Security Service. This slogan aims to protect King Abdullah from his critics. He is already preparing the Jordanian public for it.

General Ahmad Husni, the new director of the General Security Service, wrote in a letter he published after his appointment that he would “protect human rights but also use determination to defend the principles of the Jordanian constitution.”

The Jordanian army chief of staff, Field Marshal Mahmoud Farihat, reported to King Abdullah on May 2, 2019, that the Jordanian army, security services, and all national institutions will not “accept dictates and threats” about President Trump’s “deal of the century.”

“These are vague proposals. Their details, goals, and implications are unknown,” warned Farihat.

 King Abdullah II participates in a parachute training
“His Majesty King Abdullah II, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, participates in a parachute training exercise,” April 30, 2019 (Royal Hashemite Court, Twitter2)

The Jordanian chief of staff’s announcement was intended to convey to King Abdullah’s opponents and conspirators that he has the full support of the army. He warns that all those who dream of upsetting his regime and overthrowing him on account of Trump’s “bargain of the century” will encounter resistance from the Jordanian army.

The Qatari newspaper Al-Arab reported on May 1, 2019, that the new appointments in the royal office were intended to bring young blood into the system and prepare Jordan for the next stage, adding that the king would soon appoint another head of the royal office.

King Abdullah is replacing the horses in his stable with new horses who will be loyal to him before the publication of Trump’s “deal of the century.” He is preparing for a difficult situation, both politically and security-wise, that is expected to erupt in the Middle East with the publication of the new American peace plan. These events are taking place while Jordan is still faltering and having no success in overcoming its economic difficulties.

The Jordanian king is apprehensive that the end of the month of Ramadan will bring a renewal of the demonstrations against the difficult economic situation and heavy taxes. The government headed by Omar al-Razaz has not succeeded in overcoming the economic difficulties, and the king will have to seek a new scapegoat so that the popular rage will not be directed against him.

Palestinians who recently returned from Jordan to the West Bank say the economic situation is unbearable, the marketplace is empty and deserted, and the pervading feeling is one of austerity. Cash is in short supply. They claim that there is tension in the air, the harbinger of an eruption that is waiting to occur as soon as the month of Ramadan is over. 

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