Tuesday, January 26, 1999 Published at 09:35 GMT
World: Middle East
King's harsh words for brother
Deposed: Prince Hassan hands over crownship to Prince Abdullah
Jordan's King Hussein has strongly criticised his brother, Crown Prince Hassan, in a letter dismissing him as heir to the throne.
The king has now appointed his eldest son, 36-year-old Prince Abdullah, as heir to the throne.
In the 14-page letter, King Hussein accused his brother of "abusing his power" while he had been abroad.
He said he had been forced to intervene from his sickbed to prevent a major army shake-up instigated by Prince Hassan.
King Hussein accused his 51-year-old brother of trying to settle scores by sending into retirement military officers whom the king said had given many years of exceptional service to the country, including the current Army Chief of Staff Field Marshal Abdul-Hafez al-Kaabneh.
"On top of my personal suffering I was for the first time pained in my life as I found myself questioning why this insistence on change in the army," the monarch said.
His brother's supporters had also instigated a smear campaign against his US born wife Queen Noor and his children, King Hussein said.
"I and my small family were hurt by the whispering, innuendo and the smearing ... against my wife and sons," he said.
The monarch singled out his favourite son, 18-year-old Prince Hamza, the eldest son of Queen Noor: "Oh, how much envy has Hamza been subjected to as a result of his closeness to me."
The king remembered how in his first battle against cancer six years ago he had even entertained the idea of abdicating the throne in favour of Prince Hassan.
"I had returned to the nation and in my mind (I had) the idea of relinquishing the throne in your favour despite some of the differences between us from time to time," he added.
Hassan 'sabotaged' plans
The king blamed his brother for sabotaging his plans to strengthen the royal family by opposing a family council that would settle disputes and have a say in the choice of a successor.
However the king praised the prince for services to Jordan over the three decades he oversaw economic planning, and said he wanted his younger brother to remain a trusted adviser and confidant.
It remains unclear what Prince Hassan's next role will be, although reports from Amman say he may be given a special role dealing with economic affairs and the Middle East peace process.