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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia Gives Yemeni Gov't $10bn to Rebuild – President

FILE PHOTO © Naif Rahma / Reuters

Yemen has received $10 billion from Saudi Arabia to rebuild the war-torn country, the Riyadh-backed Yemeni president said.

“Saudi Arabia has provided Yemen with $10 billion,” Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi said, as cited by Al Arabiya, during a meeting of his Aden-based government on Wednesday.

A total of $8 billion from the sum will be spent on the reconstruction of government-held areas, with another $2 billion to be used to support Yemen’s National Bank, he explained.

According to the president, restoring normal functioning of electricity and the water supply, health, education and communications are among the “urgent priorities” for his government.

Yemen is going through a massive humanitarian crisis as a result of the conflict between the Sunni Muslim government of Hadi and the Shia Houthi rebels united with forces loyal to ex-president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

This is widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran as the latter backs the Houthis in an attempt to spread its influence throughout the region. 

The wisdom of spending billions rebuilding while the war is still in progress escapes me, but if it alleviates some of the incredible suffering of the people, then God bless it. If it's just an exercise in easing Saudi consciences or trying to look good to the world, that would be unfortunate.

There has so far been no official confirmation of $10 financial aid to Yemen by Saudi officials.

Saudi Arabia's numerous war crimes with USA & UK complicit

Saudi Arabia has contributed to the current state of affairs in Yemen as it has headed an international coalition against the Houthis since March 2015.

The coalition has imposed a blockade of the country and launched an air campaign to return Hadi to power.

Riyadh and its allies have been accused of war crimes by humanitarian groups after their airstrikes hit residential areas and public gatherings on numerous occasions.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in October that the Saudi coalition, “with direct military support from the US and assistance from the UK,” conducted at least 58 “unlawful airstrikes.”

Earlier this week, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick, said that around 10,000 have been killed in the country since Saudi Arabia intervened, with 7 million people close to starvation.

According to World Health Organization figures, more than 7,400 people have been killed, with around 1,400 of them being children.

In August, the UN said that it holds the action of the Saudi-led coalition as the reason for the majority of deaths among civilians and devastation.

Despite some military gains made by the government in recent months, the conflict in Yemen is far from being over as the Houthis remain in control of capital Sanaa, most of the central and northern highlands and the coast around Hodeida.

Hadi’s presidency is contested by the 10-member presidential council headed by Saleh Ali al-Sammad, which was established by the Houthis last year.