Saudis cut funding to allies in Yemen

Drop in funds allocated to former President Hadi and armed militias fighting against the Houthis. Members of the "Conference of Riyadh" abandoned or arrested. The warlords withdraw proceeds from the sale of gas and oil from Central Bank (transferred to Aden). The situation favors the Shiite rebels, the lead on the various war fronts.


Riyadh (AsiaNews) - Saudi Arabia, which has been monetarily supporting  conflicts in the Middle East – such as Syria, Bahrain, Yemen - has decided to withdraw funding to former Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansur Hadi and his government.

The abrupt and unexpected measure, also applies to the armed pro-Saudi militias in the struggle against the Shiite Houthi rebels and the Yemen War lords in exile in Saudi Arabia. Many analysts and experts believe that the decision confirms the serious economic crisis that has also hit Riyadh.

Former President Hadi returned to Aden in recent days, after attending the UN General Assembly in New York in late September. However, issues "related to security" - these are the terms used by his entourage - prevented him from reaching the set destination.

Authoritative sources in Riyadh, behind anonymity, reported that the Saudi Kingdom is considering the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčabandoning the members of the so-called "Riyadh Conference", which is experiencing a period of great difficulty in the Saudi capital.

Many members of the Yemeni opposition close to Riyadh, until recently, clearly visible in the foyer of the most luxurious hotels in the capital, are now without livelihoods. And they do not even have the legal documents to stay in the Kingdom which, once,  came with a small budget or "hospitality fund."

Several members of the Yemeni opposition, welcomed at the beginning of the conflict and housed by the Saudi royal family itself, which meant to legitimize the war and military intervention along with the "allies" of the Arab coalition, are now in prison. Others are forced to pay heavy fines in cash, for an amount almost equal to the amounts received over the years for their alliance with Saudi Arabia.

The political leader Salah Al Yemeni Sayadi, secretary general of the Popular Democratic Party, wrote on his Facebook page: "What the members of the Riyadh conference are being subjected to is humiliation and ingratitude for the role they played in support of their allies".

The war in Yemen, fueled by Riyadh has gone beyond the Kingdom’s worst predictions, especially after the Yemeni troops who oppose Hadi - and the intervention of the coalition - managed to push the fighting up into Saudi territory . The war has now engulfed the city of Jizan and Najran in the south-west of the country, and also recorded the shelling of border areas with long-range missiles. These are weapons available to the rebel militias that control Sana'a, and with which they manage to hit military bases inside Saudi Arabia.

The government led by former President Hadi is locked up in the corridors of power in Aden, as it was forced to return to Yemen after pressure from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. It has not, however, managed to impose its authority, after warlords filled the power vacuum and appropriated all the revenue from public goods. The local authorities in Hadramot, Al Mahra and Maareb have rejected Hadi’s request to pay the amount due to the state coffers of the Central Bank, recently moved - again at the request of the Saudis and the Emirates – to Aden.

Sheikh Hashem Al Ahmar, from Maareb province, has justified the refusal to pay the tax to the state - two billion Rials per month - with the fact that these sums are used to "cover up the war effort of the forces in favor of reform." With this justification the warlords in areas controlled by former president pro-Saudi Hadi continue to appropriate the revenue from oil and gas. Sums which, in reality, should be paid into the coffers of the central bank in Aden.

This situation, combined with the interruption of Saudi funding, means President Hadi cannot ensure the salaries of civil servants (75 billion Rials per month) or the tens of thousands of pensions (of which only 36 thousand in Aden).

He will now face the wrath of more than 1.2 million employees without pay, pensioners without pensions and pressures from warlords. A scenario which, combined with the abandonment of the Saudis, points to a Houthi advantage on almost all war fronts. (PB)