Jordan King Restricts Prince Hamza's Communications, Residency, Movement, Says Brother Is in 'Delusion'
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Prince Hamza of Jordan is being kept under formal house arrest by his older half-brother, King Abdullah II, who says Hamza "exhausted all opportunities to restore himself on the right path." Abdullah said Hamza is "delusional" about taking over the throne and that "the delusion he lives in is not new."
Reports say U.S. President Joe Biden will meet soon with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Members of Congress question whether his brother, the visiting Saudi deputy defense secretary, Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman, is on a list of Saudis banned after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Egypt turns away a Russian ship loaded with grain and is thanked by Ukraine, and a rival prime minister in Libya says he will set up a government in Sirte, half-way between the disputed centers of Tripoli and Tobruk.
And news from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and More.
Jordan's King Abdullah II is putting his foot down hard on his half-brother, Prince Hamza, saying Hamza is in "delusion" about taking over the throne. The king issued a royal decree making official Hamza's house arrest, restricting his movements, and curtailing his contacts with the outside world. Hamza, once heir to Jordan's throne but removed by Abdullah, has a long-running feud with the king, his older half-brother. Their differences culminated last year when two of Hamza's supporters were arrested and given 15-year prison sentences after an alleged plot against the monarchy involving Hamza was discovered. Hamza later issued an apology, but then resumed his criticism and said he was renouncing the title of prince.
President Joe Biden is reported ready to meet with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The meeting could come as early as June, possibly in Riyadh at a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, currently chaired by Saudi Arabia. "You should count on something like this happening, it just comes down to when, not if," a former U.S. official familiar with the discussions said. Biden during his 2020 election campaign called Saudi Arabia a "pariah" and as president has refused to deal directly with the crown prince, working instead with King Salman. But high gasoline prices have caused the U.S. and other Western powers to seek more oil production from Saudi Arabia and OPEC, and the crown prince has rejected overtures.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is taking steps to unify his family support. Mohammed bin Salman, in line to succeed his 86-year-old father, King Salman, invited the eldest son of a detained royal to sit by him in a visit to the United Arab Emirates. The unexpected guest was Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdulaziz, son of Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, who is detained in Saudi Araba in one of the crown prince’s moves to keep unquestioned power. The detained prince is a brother of King Salman. “Having the son of Prince Ahmed sitting next to him in Abu Dhabi is a strong message to local and international pubic opinions, especially with the succession looming,” a source familiar with the royal family said.
Qatar’s emir expressed optimism that a nuclear deal between the United States and Iran can be achieved. Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said Qatar is ready to participate in resolving the conflict. He also confirmed plans for Qatar to start supplying liquefied natural gas to Germany in 2024.
Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid, met at the Pentagon with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Prince Khalid bin Salman, son of King Salman and younger brother of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, discussed U.S.-Saudi security ties and then met with Colin Kahl, undersecretary of defense for policy. Prince Khalid and Kahl are co-chairs of the Saudi-U.S. Joint Strategic Planning Committee.
Members of Congress asked if the visiting Saudi Prince Khalid is subject to the denial policy, the "Khashoggi ban." Rep. Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Republican of Pennsylvania, asked if Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister, Prince Khalid bin Salman, is on a list of Saudis banned from entering the United States after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Khalid is the highest-ranking Saudi official to visit Washington since the Biden administration released an intelligence report holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Khalid's older brother, responsible for Khashoggi's murder.
A Hong Kong-flagged racing sailboat was targeted with rocket-propelled grenades off the coast of Yemen, with those on board escaping into international waters. Reports said the 62-foot trimaran Lakota, a three-hulled vessel recently bought by famed French yachtsman Philippe Poupon, was attacked by militants off the coast of Hodeidah.
A U.S. Navy destroyer seized $39 million in drugs from a fishing vessel with Iranian crew members in the Gulf of Oman. The Navy said a Coast Guard interdiction team from the USS Momsen discovered the drugs, 640 kilograms of methamphetamine, after boarding the ship under international law. Crew members of the fishing boat tried to discard more than 50 bales of the drugs, and nine crewmen identified themselves as Iranian.
Iran seized a foreign ship trying to smuggle 550,000 liters of fuel out of the country. Iranian authorities did not identify the ship, but said it was seized in Gulf waters and escorted to harbor in the southern province of Hormozgan, where it will be investigated. Iran has halted a number of ships recently for smuggling.
Ukraine's foreign minister thanked Egypt for turning away a Russian ship loaded with grain he said was stolen from Ukraine. An Egyptian minister said Russia had allowed the ship to sail, but that it was turned away from Egypt because it didn't have proper paperwork. Earlier, Ukraine officials had accused Russia of stealing "several hundred thousand tons" of grain.
Protesters in Libya fired at an oil tanker but failed to stop its loading of a million barrels of crude oil bound for Britain. Shots were fired outside the Hariga port after the British Ridgebury docked, but the tanker was not hit in a crossfire. The incident came a day after a Libyan prime-minister-designate tried to enter Tripoli in a failed attempt to take over the Libyan government from a rival prime minister.
One of Libya's two rival prime ministers said he will set up his government in the central city of Sirte. Fathi Bashagha said he chose Sirte, on Libya's coast, as half-way between Tobruk, where the parliament that chose Bashagha sits, and the capital of Tripoli, where interim prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah's government is located. Bashagha had tried to bring his cabinet to Tripoli, but clashes forced him to abort his attempt.
Saudi Arabia's wealth fund bought a stake in Nintendo. The $600 billion fund, chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has taken a 5.01% share in Nintendo Co. Ltd, a leader in the Japanese video gaming industry. A filing said the purchase was made as an investment, and it comes after the fund, the Public Investment Fund, took stakes in other video game companies including Nexon, Capcom, and Koei Techmo.
Iranian security forces fired live rounds and tear gas into crowds protesting rising food prices. Protests continued this week in a number of provinces, and at least six people were reported killed and dozens injured. In Farsan, in central Iran, riot police fired live rounds at demonstrators, and in Shahr-e Kord and Hafshejan, security forces used tear gas and clubs to disperse protesters.
Iran said it's reviewing a request from Sweden to postpone the execution of an Iranian-born Swedish doctor. The case of Ahmadreza Jalali has drawn widespread international condemnation, spotlighting Iran's pattern of arresting dual nationals on spurious charges. Jalali was accused of espionage, and an Iranian official said earlier that his death sentence is "final."
The United States sanctioned a Lebanese businessman and his companies for helping finance Hezbollah. The U.S. Treasury Department placed Ahmad Jalal Reda Abdallah on its sanctions list, along with five of his associates and eight of his companies.
"The streets are about to boil over in Iraq," the United Nations envoy to Iraq said, as she urged politicians to end a deadlock that has kept parliament from forming a government for more than seven months. "We cannot afford to go back to a situation that we observed in October 2018," Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert said, referring to deadly protests which shook the country four years ago. Iraqi institutions have been at a standstill since elections in 2021, with the newly-elected parliament unable to name a president.
U.S. prosecutors said Thomas Barrack, a longtime friend of Donald Trump, tried to get hundreds of millions of dollars in investments from the United Arab Emirates while illegally lobbying the Trump administration for the UAE. A superseding indictment filed in New York federal court said Barrack, who was chairman of Trump's 2017 inaugural committee, had sought the investments, and the Justice Department added two new charges accusing Barrack of making false statements to investigators.
MORE: Egypt's central bank hikes interest rates by 200 bps, Reuters... Morocco has wheat reserves sufficient for around 4 months - spokesperson, Financial Post... Egypt's strategic wheat reserves cover 4 months: cabinet, Ahram... Tunisia: Protests mean a rise in the price of poultry, eggs, Poultry World... Sudan arrests Communist party figures as thousands protest coup, AFP... UAE set to become major global player in gas, Insurance Business... Bahrain forces escorted Queen at Jubilee horse show after MPs urged her to disinvite king, Middle East Eye.
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