Photo Credit: US Government
King Abdullah II of Jordan

The son of the second-most-powerful tribe in Jordan has delivered an ultimatum: he is threatening to shake the country to the ground unless the government releases a prominent opposition figure who was arrested on Saturday.

Fares al-Fayez, a well-known academic, was arrested and taken into custody once a video clip of a speech he made last week in which he criticized King Abdullah II, calling for political change, went viral on social media.

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“We want to change the political formula. We will not accept you [King Abdullah] as a king, prime minister, defence minister, police chief and governor. You are everything. You became a demigod, according to this constitution, and we are slaves,” al-Fayez said in his speech. “This our country and our land. You came from the Hijaz, you, your father and your grandfather. My father welcomed your grandfather. You owe us, we do not owe you… You caused us injustice in our country. Leave us.” Al-Fayez also called King Abdullah a “gambler” and Queen Ranier, “Satan.”

The Hashemite tribe of King Abdullah II, his father King Hussein, and his grandfather, King Abdullah I, came from the al-Hijaz region of the Arabian Peninsula; what is today Saudi Arabia. They were appointed as rulers with British military and political support.

The son of al-Fayez told media at a news conference in Madaba late Sunday that members of the Beni Sakhr tribe would disrupt flights from the main Jordanian airport and block the main road between Amman and Madabak unless his father was freed.

The Beni Sakhr tribe is the second largest tribe in Jordan after the Beni Hassan. Fares al-Fayez, a member of the Beni Sakhr, was arrested on charges of seeking to overthrow the regime. He is being held in the Marka Prison in Amman.

“We would shake the pillars of the Jordanian state,” he said, according to Middle East Eye. If 10 prominent figures accused of corruption were also arrested, however, the younger al-Fayez said he would then accept the arrest of his father.

The threat now being faced by the Hashemite Kingdom is every bit as dangerous as that from the attempted coup led by Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) guerrillas in September 1970 — a period known as “Black September” — squelched by the late Jordanian King Hussein, with assistance from Israel. (The Palestinian Authority terrorist group “Black September” was named in honor of this attempted coup.)

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