Obituary: King Hussein of Jordan

IN YOUR obituary of King Hussein [by Philip Mansel, 8 February], you are wrong in attributing the so-called coup of 13 April 1957 to Maan Abu Nuwar, writes Major-General James Lunt. This mistake is easily explained.

The Abu Nuwar family come from Salt and there were several branches, Maan belonging to one, his cousin Ali Abu Nuwar to another. Both were serving officers in the Arab Legion (Jordan's army in those days); Maan in the rank of colonel was commanding the infantry brigade in Zerqa.

Ali was a favourite of the young king, who had promoted him from lieutenant- colonel to major-general in a few short months and appointed him Chief of the General Staff. When fighting broke out in Zerqa, Maan asked for help from the king, who went there, taking Ali with him.

One of Maan's battalions was under orders to take part in an exercise out in the desert. It was readily assumed that this was intended to get the battalion out of the way while the coup took place, but Maan was able to show that the exercise had been planned for many weeks. On arrival at Zerqa the king was greeted enthusiastically. He had dismissed Ali and sent him back to Amman; Ali had lost his nerve.

Later Ali went into exile in Cairo with his family. It was typical of King Hussein that when, some years later, it was rumoured that Ali's life was in danger, he sent a plane to bring him back to Jordan, where he settled down as a businessman. The king never employed him again and he died a few years ago.

Maan went on to become a government minister, Chief of Police, Mayor of Amman, Minister in London, and a senator, a devoted subject of the king and highly respected.

The Independent and Philip Mansel apologise unreservedly for any distress caused by this confusion to Maan Abu Nuwar and his family.

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