San Francisco Chronicle

Allies of prince remain in detention in royal rift

- By Patrick Kingsley and Rana F. Sweis Patrick Kingsley and Rana F. Sweis are New York Times writers.

AMMAN, Jordan — Employees and associates of a Jordanian prince accused of plotting to undermine the government were still being held incommunic­ado by security forces Tuesday, their relatives said, casting doubt on earlier claims by the royal court that it had resolved an unusually public and bitter rift.

The royal court released a statement less than a day ago saying that Prince Hamzah had pledged his loyalty to King Abdullah II, his older half brother. But Hamzah’s chief of staff, Yasser Majali, and Majali’s cousin, Samir Majali, are still being held in an unknown location, according to their family, which comes from one of Jordan’s main tribes.

The two were arrested Saturday, the day that the government claimed that the prince had been involved in a plot to destabiliz­e the kingdom.

Hamzah’s whereabout­s were also unknown as of Tuesday morning. And the Jordanian government issued a gag order Tuesday that barred Jordanian news outlets and social media users from discussing the case.

The developmen­ts are the latest twists in a royal feud that exploded into public view over the weekend, upending the family’s reputation for discretion and the country’s image as a rare haven of stability in a turbulent region.

Jordan is a key partner in regional counterter­rorism missions, a base for U.S. troops and aircraft, and a major recipient of U.S. aid. Bordering Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Israeliocc­upied West Bank, it is considered an important interlocut­or in regional diplomacy — and a linchpin of any potential IsraeliPal­estinian peace negotiatio­ns.

Over the weekend, the Jordanian government arrested several of Hamzah’s staff members and associates, and accused the prince himself of working with a former senior royal aide and Cabinet minister, Bassem Awadallah, to undermine the country’s stability.

 ?? Yousef Allan / Associated Press 2001 ?? Jordan’s King Abdullah II (left) and half brother Prince Hamzah in happier days. Hamzah’s employees and associates are still being held incommunic­ado.
Yousef Allan / Associated Press 2001 Jordan’s King Abdullah II (left) and half brother Prince Hamzah in happier days. Hamzah’s employees and associates are still being held incommunic­ado.

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