Jordan’s "warrior king" and crown prince have returned to the scene, with newer guns, better cars and stunt moves worthy of a James Bond film.
King Abdullah II of Jordan and his son, Crown Prince Hussein, celebrated the latter's 24th birthday this week in classic Hashemite style: practicing combat drills.
In a video shared on Facebook by the king's wife, Queen Rania, the pair are seen firing live rounds, hiding behind blocks and bursting through entries together. In one shot, Prince Hussein is seen clambering into a car, while King Abdullah lies on the roof of the car and continues shooting as Hussein drives. He then gets back into the car.
Both King Abdullah and Prince Hussein attended the prestigious Sandhurst Military Academy in England, and both became helicopter pilots.
Last month, Hussein shared a video of himself on Instagram receiving a soggy surprise after completing his first solo flight in a helicopter: he had multiple buckets of water poured over him. Crown Prince Hussein's technical savviness and youthfulness have placed him at the center of Hashemite public life. He has 1.5 million followers on Instagram.
Jordanian military prowess has been particularly important to Abdullah's public image, not least because his position as king is a fragile one among the population.
More recently, the Jordanians have been on the frontline of the fight against the Islamic State group, which has been operating on Jordan’s doorstep in Syria and Iraq.
The immolation of a Jordanian pilot in a cage by ISIS in 2015 sent shock waves throughout the country, and King Abdullah's strong response – dressing in his military pilot's uniform and leading a bombing campaign against the Islamist group – helped to rally the people behind him.
However, the Jordanian royals also like to show their softer side: Abdullah is an avid "Star Trek" fan, even appearing as an extra in "Star Trek: Voyager." Crown Prince Hussein was recently snapped relaxing and watching England play Panama in the World Cup alongside Britain's Prince William during his official tour of Jordan, Israel and the West Bank.
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