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Will the GCC embrace Yemen? Part II

Will the GCC embrace Yemen? Part II

Yemen's political and home security issues have isolated the nation in the past; but GCC nations are beginning to invite Yemen into their political fold. Part II

July 20, 2009 7:20 by

New relations

Next door, GCC countries worry that Yemen’s converging problems will bleed across its borders. “They’re very concerned,” says Nicole Stracke, a researcher in the Security and Terrorism Department at the Gulf Research Center, a Dubai-based think tank. “The problem in Yemen is the government basically fights three conflicts – the south, the north and terrorism – and the resources they have are limited,” she adds. “Now with the oil price going down and the recession, their resources are going to be even more stretched.”

Yemen’s resource gap means President Saleh, who has governed the country since 1978, is unable to crack down on many of the criminals who use the country’s ungoverned areas for nefarious ends. Yet al-Qaeda’s local leadership has not just threatened the government in Sana’a, but Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. “Yemen’s lack of capacity makes it the problem of the next country down the road. In this case, the GCC,” Boucek says. “The concern is, ‘how do we absorb what’s happening there?'”

One way is by throwing money at Yemen’s problems. At a donors’ conference held three years ago in London, the Gulf states pledged $2.5 billion to help bolster Saleh’s government (with Saudi Arabia making the largest donation promise by far). But Sana’a has only received a $12 million of the promised cash, according to the World Bank, mainly because of rampant corruption. Yemen ranked 141 out of 180 countries on Transparency International’s latest corruption index. So once the money leaves donors’ hands there are no guarantees as to how it will actually be spent.

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