After more than five weeks and over 3000 air sorties since the start of “Operation Decisive Storm” Yemen — one of the poorest countries in the Middle East — is on the verge of total collapse as street-fighting between local groups rages in Aden, Marib, Taiz, and elsewhere.
This Brookings Institution article explores what comes next.
Whatever the military campaign has been able to achieve so far, it has done so at the expense of compounding what was already a critical economic and social situation for the vast majority of Yemenis, transforming it into a national humanitarian crisis. The country’s 24 million people have been cut off from the outside world for more than a month, with the majority of cities suffering from power cuts, blackouts, and a lack of fuel and drinking water.
Food imports are threatened in a country where decades of failed development have left it reliant on imports for up to 90 percent of basic food items. The $4-6 billion in remittances that have long kept abject poverty at bay for many have been disrupted if not diverted altogether. A further 150,000 people have been added to the 200,000 already displaced as a result of the previous wars in Saada and in the south.
Wary of a ground offensive, coalition leader Saudi Arabia has renamed the campaign “Operation Restoring Hope”.
Whatever reconstruction vision emerges the GCC should remain part of its development and implementation long term. Would it not be wonderful to see the wealthy Arab states united in the constructive challenge of turning around the fortune of what once was the heart of the Arab world?