YE­MEN CON­FLICT: WILL THE GCC PAY AN ECO­NOMIC TOLL?

Will Saudi-led mil­i­tary ac­tion against Houthi rebels in Ye­men have a ma­jor im­pact on oil prices and GCC economies as a whole?

Gulf Business - - YEMEN BRIEFING - BY AARTI NA­GRAJ

THE CON­FLICT IN Ye­men has snow­balled into a ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions, with an es­ti­mated 1,820 peo­ple killed and 7,330 in­jured since March 19. Ac­tual fig­ures are an­tic­i­pated to be much higher.

More than 545,000 peo­ple have also been dis­placed in Ye­men since March 26, when Saudi Ara­bia along with a coali­tion of re­gional part­ners launched Op­er­a­tion De­ci­sive Storm in or­der to help the Ye­meni gov­ern­ment com­bat the Houthis.

The Arab state first erupted into chaos af­ter Iran-al­lied Houthi rebels cap­tured the cap­i­tal Sana’a in Septem­ber, forc­ing Pres­i­dent Abd-Rabbu Man­sour Hadi to flee to Saudi Ara­bia. The en­su­ing vi­o­lence, which broke out be­tween the Houthis and forces loyal to the gov­ern­ment, alarmed neigh­bour­ing Saudi Ara­bia.

The King­dom, along with its al­lies from the GCC – UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar and the wider MEA re­gion – Jor­dan, Egypt, Morocco and Su­dan be­gan the op­er­a­tion by con­duct­ing air strikes.

Since then the blood­shed has con­tin­ued. Although a five-day cease­fire for hu­man­i­tar­ian re­lief was held in May, hopes to pro­long it were dashed with both sides re­sum­ing at­tacks soon af­ter the truce ended.

The UN agreed to spon­sor peace­ful po­lit­i­cal dia­logue be­tween the Ye­meni par­ties in Geneva on May 28, but the talks have now been post­poned.

Saudi’s King Sal­man bin Ab­du­laziz, how­ever, vowed that ac­tion against the rebels would con­tinue un­til the coun­try was “sta­ble and safe” and the gov­ern­ment un­der Hadi was re­stored to power.

“The ex­cru­ci­at­ing re­al­ity of ter­ror­ism, in­ter­nal con­flicts and blood­shed ex­pe­ri­enced by a num­ber of Arab coun­tries are only the in­evitable re­sult

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