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It’s the Economy, Stupid

I saw a similar story earlier today on al-Tagheer, which I now can’t find thanks to more warnings about Sa’dah, but I can link to this story from Mareb Press. To all my Yemeni diplomat friends: I’m sorry you can’t travel to conferences and the like anymore. (Maybe it really isn’t appropriate to joke?)

But it does seem as though the global financial crisis, which some in Yemen had suggested that the country was immune from, is now making itself felt at home. This is bad on a number of levels. First, government power will now be receding as the government closes a number of offices in governorates across the country, which will open up more space for bad people to operate. Second, as the country’s single largest employer, government cut-backs will mean a higher unemployment rate, and more unemployed youth is not good for anyone. Third, Yemen doesn’t use government money in the way other governments do, but rather to ensure the stability of a number of patronage systems, and as bad as that is I don’t think anyone wants to see what happens when those systems fly apart due to a lack of money. Not good, not good.

And finally, the spat between Prime Minister Ali Mujawir and Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and International Planning and Cooperation Abd al-Karim al-Arhabi is not a good sign. Sure, a new cabinet is widely believed to be in the making, but public fights in front of the big boss, as al-Qarni calls him, is not a good sign.


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