Prince Hamzah and Jordan’s Protesters

The New York Times reported about the support that Prince Hamzah has among some of the protesters in Jordan. According to the article, activists from the opposition movement Hirak are planning to hold up pictures of Prince Hamzah at upcoming demonstrations. Prince Hamzah was said to be King Hussein’s favorite, and he insisted that King Abdullah name him Crown Prince when he assumed the throne. He did so, but in 2004 removed him, replacing him with his own son, Prince Hussein, saying that replacing him as Crown Prince enabled him to perform other duties.

Many of the supporters of Prince Hamzah are from the tribal base which the monarchy has relied upon for support. Many of the protesters arrested for chanting against the King came from areas which would traditionally be considered to be supportive of the monarchy, and they have been especially angered over the government’s recent decision on fuel subsidies. At the same time, their anger is not one-dimensional, as they are upset about the fuel subsidies but are also upset – despite being the traditional base of support for the monarchy – at the lack of political reform despite repeated promises even as they oppose the fuel price increase. In politics, nothing is ever simple.

As these same people remember King Hussein fondly, support for Prince Hamzah becomes an attractive alternative to King Abdullah, whom they view as corrupt. It is also worth noting – as this article points out – that Queen Rania has not been spared their anger either.

As of now, Prince Hamzah has said nothing, and many of the demonstrators chanting against the King have called for a republic, but Prince Hamzah’s role as an additional factor is too important to overlook. Stay tuned.

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