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Jordanian King Fires Army Chief

July 18, 1999

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) _ Jordan’s new king dismissed the head of the armed forces Sunday, a general closely associated with the late King Hussein, the official Petra news agency said.

King Abdullah II appointed Gen. Mohammed Malkawi, the deputy chief of staff for administration, to replace Abdul Hafez Murei Kaabneh as chief of staff, the agency said.

The agency gave no reason for the dismissal of Kaabneh, who has served as chief of the armed forces since 1992.

Gen. Malkawi was a member of the team that negotiated the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. He was chief of the army until Abdullah promoted him to deputy chief of the armed forces this year.

He has conducted joint exercises with British and U.S. forces in the Jordanian desert.

Kaabneh, a close confidant of Hussein’s, was known for his role in the late king’s decision to depose his brother, Hassan, as crown prince two weeks before his death in February.

Hussein wrote an angry letter to Hassan on Jan. 24, removing him as heir and accusing him of power grabbing while the late king was being treated in the United States for cancer.

The letter hinted that Hassan had attempted to dismiss Kaabneh.

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