Saudi Yemen deepens economic frustration



On top of the war and the coronavirus pandemic, Yemen is facing a financial crisis that has left Saudi Arabia as its main beneficiary, withholding payments, and draining state coffins.


Saudi Arabia spearheaded a five-year military intervention against Iran-linked Houthi rebels, giving billions of dollars in humanitarian aid, fuel subsidies, and cash to its ailing central bank.

The double whammy of low oil prices and virus closure triggers severe austerity at home, with observers saying that Saudi Arabia is now unable to support the same level of strengthening state military spending on Yemen.

After a costly intervention in Yemen and the launching of a bitter power struggle between anti-Houthi allies, Saudi Arabia may re-recognize its role as some of the obvious benefits of what observers call a "regional ATM." Complicates his efforts.

A Saudi official in Yemen, a state-run Saudi official, told AFP: "Saudi does not have access to unlimited quotes and billions."

Observers say Riyadh is Yemen's biggest leader and its support has the biggest impact.

Analysts predict that Yemeni Rial will fall sharply this year as the central bank deposit of $ 2 billion from Saudi Arabia is almost exhausted in 2018, a scenario that will reduce purchasing power and enable millions to buy basic food items.

According to ACAPS, a voluntary nonprofit project, including the Norwegian Refugee Council, cut that amount to $ 200 million in May.

“Yemen is financially weak,” ACAPS said in a report, warning that the suspension of Saudi monetary support could lead to “rapid devaluation” of the local currency.

- Withdraw donor -

A donors' conference in Riyadh earlier this month has hit more than half of its $ 2.4 billion targets, with the United Nations warning of a shortage of funding to shut down aid programs as a spike in coronavirus cases.

Yemen is already in the grip of what the United Nations calls the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, killing tens of thousands and displacing four million people from war.

The World Bank says that three-quarters of the population lives in poverty, and the United Nations estimates last year that 80 percent of Yemen's people suffer from hunger and disease.

In the midst of the economic dysfunction is the country's central bank, which is divided into two rival factions controlled by Yemen's main warring parties.

Resolving the Crisis The "war in the war" that targets the southern separatists against the Yemeni government - both against the Houthis.

Various sources say the separatists have declared self-rule in the original capital, Aden.

A spokesman for the separatist Southern Transitional Council defended the currency, telling the AFP to prevent the currency from moving further.

The government-controlled central bank now has almost no cash.

The Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies said that "feudal conditions have created a climate of discouragement for Saudi Arabia from regaining its foreign reserve support."

"Yemen's northern neighbor is also in its major budget cuts and other international donors are not interested in replacing Riyadh and moving forward," it wrote in a recent report.

- Pests -

Charities, including Oxfam, also warn of an "unprecedented decrease" in remittances to Yemen - important lifeblood for millions as the government struggles to pay salaries.

Oxfam said money transfer providers saw payments of up to 80 percent between January and April in Yemen's six orders.

There are 1.6 million Yemen in Saudi Arabia, where migrant workers face widespread losses and wage cuts amid the worst economic crisis in decades.

Any economic disruption in Saudi Arabia has huge consequences for Yemen, particularly in Yemen, where Oxfam policy adviser Abdulwasia Mohammed has relieved millions of Yemen from the Gulf countries.

"Without sending money to family members for basic things like food and rent, more families will have to run into debt or give up food."

Saudi officials did not respond to AFP's request for comment.

Despite the economic pressure, the state is unlikely to reduce military spending in Yemen - estimated at $ 200 million a day - and see Houthi as an existential threat linked to Iran.

Just days after the Riyadh austerity measures were unveiled in May, Boeing received a $ 2.6 billion contract to supply 1,000 air-to-surface and anti-ship missiles, US officials said.

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