In a remarkable display of hypocrisy disguised as good will, Saudi Arabia transferred $2 billion to the Yemeni central bank to stave off the economic crisis in the country — that Saudi Arabia itself helped create.
Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher begged the Gulf kingdom on Tuesday for financial aid to save the country’s currency, which is on the verge of collapse.
"Now, and not tomorrow, to save the Yemeni people from definite hunger," he tweeted.
In an interview with CNN, bin Dagher said the Yemeni riyal had already lost half of its value. In 2015, the currency traded at 250 riyals to the U.S. dollar. Now it has gone down to 530 riyals in the black market.
In fact, in just this month, the Yemeni riyal had lost 18 percent of its spending power.
The Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information said the move would hlep Yemen's financial and economic situation while bolstering the Yemeni riyal.
However, they failed to mention the role of Saudi Arabia in causing the economic crisis and impending famine in Yemen.
The Gulf kingdom has been heavily involved in the crippling civil war in Yemen leading a coalition against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia has faced a lot in international censure for not attempting to avoid casualties and even, exacerbating the misery of the people by increasing its blockade of Yemen, which cut off, among other things, food supplies to Yemeni civilians.
The United Nations estimates 8.4 million people in Yemen are on the threshold of famine. Since Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in 2015, over 10,000 civilians have died and 1 million people are threatened by cholera. More than 152 fishermen have been killed and 250 fishing boats have been destroyed or damaged by coalition helicopters and warships in the Red Sea, according to a report by the Guardian.
The Yemeni fishing industry has become even more vital for the country after Saudi Arabia’s blockade on Nov. 6. Restrictions were eased slightly, allowing aid for 20 million Yemenis suffering the crisis.
However, the Yemen Data Project recorded 356 air strikes targeting farms, 174 targeting market places and 61 air strikes on food warehouses from March 2015 and September 2017, led by Saudi coalitions, which did not help matters.
The Saudi-imposed trade restrictions, plus the rapidly deteriorating currency, means food has become unaffordable for many.
To make matters worse, government employees have not been paid since August 2016 and 55 percent of the workforce has also been fired. As a result, millions of Yemenis can no longer buy food and have become part of the 75 percent of population in dire need of humanitarian help.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS