Jordanian King Sacks Intel Chief, Senior Officials Amid Reports of Plot

King Abdullah says move to replace his intelligence chief was prompted by complaints of shortcomings in the intelligence system

Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman.
Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

Jordanian King Abdullah II fired several senior officials over the past week following reports of a plot to destabilize the kingdom, including the general intelligence chief, the king’s adviser on policy and information and several other senior advisers.

The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas reported that several senior and influential Jordanian figures had conspired to hold a mass protest outside the royal palace in Amman to demonstrate a lack of public confidence in Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz and to create instability in the kingdom. The newspaper cited sources that it described as reliable.

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One of the major changes Abdullah made was the replacement of the director of the General Intelligence Department, General Adnan al-Jundi, who held one of the most influential positions in the country. The palace issued a statement saying the king had decided to retire Jundi and to replace him with General Ahmed Husni, who has served in several senior intelligence posts.

The king said his move was prompted by complaints of shortcomings in running the intelligence system and a finding that some people were using their status and positions to advance personal interests at the expense of those of the kingdom. Several days before Jundi was ousted, the king replaced several officials in his bureau, including the head of policy and information.

Jordanian media reported that changes had also been made in the defense establishment and police force and that new commanders have been appointed in some regions. Jordanian officials said they expect additional changes to take place at the palace and in defense-related positions.

In addition, the officials, who are also grappling with poor economic conditions, are worried about the repercussions of the Middle East peace proposal that the Trump administration is gearing up to present. The concern is that the plan could destabilize the kingdom and undermine its relations with the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and other Arab countries.

Abdullah has said on a number of occasions that he has been subject to heavy pressure in the course of preparations to release the plan. Jordan, he said, will not compromise on issues of principle such as the Palestinian right to establish an independent state based on the 1967 borders, as well as the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.

Jordanian officials have firmly denied reports that the kingdom will grant citizenship to more than a million Palestinian refugees in exchange for generous economic assistance, estimated at tens of billions of dollars, as part of the peace plan.

A senior Jordanian official told Haaretz on Thursday that King Abdullah has set clear red lines and would not surrender to dictates that infringe on the Palestinians’ basic rights. Jordan would not become an alternative to a Palestinian state, the official added.