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Guest Thinkers


All at once, it seems, Yemen’s neighbors have decided the whole “let it become a failed state” plan might not be in their best interests. Kuwait has agreed to float Yemen a cool $50 million loan, in the framework of the $200 million pledged to Yemen at a donors conference. The money is supposed to be used for agriculture and other development issues. This is interesting because it seems that the incredible peril Yemen is in, and what its collapse would mean for regional security, has finally trumped hard feelings over Yemen’s UN performance following the invasion of Kuwait. Yemen had been punished pretty severely for that, so it is nice to see self-interest trump grudges. Heart-warming, even.

We also saw over the weekend an uptick in potential oil-related investments. Some big companies, including ExxonMobil, Nexen and BP have shown interest in developing deals to drill in Yemen. This deal is sweetened by the government offering to increase their share. I don’t know exactly where they are going to get the money to do so, but if this can woo some capital into the country and help them develop their dwindling supplies quickly it can only be a good thing.

Yes, I know that oil is often a curse, and it is not a good long-term strategic investment, especially when you have as rapidly a finite amount as Yemen does. But “20 years down the road” is a cruel abstraction at this point- let’s survive ten years, first, and in order to do that the country needs revenue.

I’m tempted here to write a really long essay about satisfying the short-term needs without jeopardizing the future. But then what would I have to look forward to doing tonight?


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