The United States sided with Abdullah, a close Western ally in the volatile region. Jordan is bordered by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the occupied West Bank.
Jordanian authorities said Sunday they had prevented a “malicious conspiracy” Hamzah had committed with foreign aid. Hamzah has denied any role and says he aims to speak out against corruption and mismanagement.
“The chief of the army’s general staff addressed me and made threats on behalf of the heads of security agencies,” Hamzah said in the recording. “I recorded his comments and distributed them to my acquaintances abroad, as well as to his family in case something happened.”
“I don’t want to escalate now, but of course I won’t abide by when he tells me‘ you can’t go out, tweet or connect with people and you can only see family members, ’he said.’ When the Army Chief of Staff says that, it’s something which I think is unacceptable. “
The authenticity of the recording was confirmed by a person close to the prince, speaking on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The individual said the footage was several days old and was made after the army chief threatened the prince.
Jordanian Army Chief of Staff General Yousef Huneiti said Monday that the country’s armed forces and security agencies “have the power and experience” to deal with any events that could happen within or in the region.
He made his comments by participating in the “Shield of the Nation” exercise, which included several brigades, special forces, border guards and the Royal Air Force in the eastern part of the kingdom, the state news agency Petra said.
The exercise does not appear to be related to weekend incidents, as such exercises are planned in advance.
Huneiti said the troops would oppose anyone who “tries to endanger national security, intimidate its citizens and threaten the security and stability of the kingdom.”
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Sunday that the prince had recorded the talks and forwarded them to foreign sources. He did not provide details about the alleged conspiracy nor did he say which other countries they were allegedly involved in. But he said about 14-16 of Hamzah’s associates were arrested, along with Bassem Awadallah, a former government minister and former head of the royal court, and Sharif Hassan bin Zaid, a member of the royal family.
The move by the U.S. and Arab governments to quickly side with Abdullah reflected the strategic importance of Jordan. Domestic, unprecedented criticism of Hamzah’s ruling class – without the appointment of a king – could support growing complaints of mismanagement and human rights abuses in Jordan.
Both Abdullah and Hamzah are the sons of King Hussein, who remains a beloved figure for two decades after his death. After ascending the throne in 1999. Abdullah appointed Hamza heir to the throne, only to revoke the title five years later.
Although the two are said to be generally on good terms, Hamzah has sometimes spoken out against government policy, and has recently established ties with powerful tribal leaders in a move seen as a threat to the king.
Associated Press writers Sarah El Deeb of Beirut and Joseph Krauss of Jerusalem contributed.
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