Saudi Arabia’s aid donation to ‘make up’ for the conflict in Yemen


In early April, reports from Geneva raised scepticism about Saudi Arabia’s approach in Yemen. Antonio Guterres the United Nations Secretary-General applauded and welcomed the ‘record-breaking pledge’ of $930 million dollars, which was presented in New York on the 27th of March. The donation will be put into aid funding that will be distributed by UN agencies, Guterres also added in his comments that the donation should follow peace talks, showing that he is aware that Saudi Arabia’s involvement during the conflict in Yemen has been one of damage and civilian death, and while they offer monetary support for aid they continue in the warring conflict.

Al Jazeera reported the crisis in Yemen is one of the worst seen in fifty years. The country has experienced three years of war between Houthi rebels and Saudi-backed backing exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The people in Yemen are facing starvation through food shortages and experiencing one of the biggest outbreaks of Cholera the world has ever seen, with over 1 million being diagnosed. As of November, last year the Human Rights Watch reported 5,292 civilians had been killed since 2014.  In 2017 HRW reported they were involved in six attacks killing 55 civilians. Aid is needed to prevent the humanitarian crisis worsening, but the threat of conflict and death also needs to be addressed at the same, particularly the role Saudi Arabi play in the conflict zone.

This is not the first time Saudi has invested money in Yemen; in January 2018 CNCB reported that Saudi put two billion dollars into Yemen’s Central Bank to support the economy which is in economic crisis due to the conflict. The intention of this donation was that through a stable economy the Yemeni government could establish stability. And while the economic position is particularly important to reach this goal, the money needs to be supported alongside a long term political solution that promote peace and decline of armed conflict. Without a follow through in goals of such donations and resolution; the money given in aid or added into the economy will only depreciate further while the fighting continues.

Saudis donation is the biggest the world has ever seen, but the power and angelic tendencies that come with the appreciation of such a donation need to be understood completely and taken with peaceful guidance and advice. States often find ‘throwing money at problems’ an easy solution, to conflict when the state relations and political resolutions are the things that really matter in reaching a solution in war-stricken countries.

Saudis actions as an international actor, particularly in the war zone in Yemen need to be reduced and resolved properly too. Emphasising that money and funding cannot ‘make up’ for the killing and in-humane action they are involved in and therefore suggesting that they take part in peace talks with the United Nations to take the resolution goals in Yemen further and ensure that the appreciated investment and funding they have given can make a difference. United nations will ‘re launch’ their peace talks with for Yemen in two months, so here is a opportunity for all actors including Iran, Saudi and Yemen to cooperate alongside the global governance for a fix that is peaceful and long term for the Yemeni crisis and people.