Yemen

Yokel

LE
COVID-19 is going to pose a real menace to an already weakened and malnourished Yememi population, with their civil infrastructure in tatters after years of war. Is the scale of destruction actually known?

Do either the Saudis (and their allies) or the Houthis (and their Iranian backers) make any sort of humanitarian effort?
 
COVID-19 is going to pose a real menace to an already weakened and malnourished Yememi population, with their civil infrastructure in tatters after years of war. Is the scale of destruction actually known?

Do either the Saudis (and their allies) or the Houthis (and their Iranian backers) make any sort of humanitarian effort?
@Kinch could probably give you a sensible answer to the Saudi mentality on this front. My small involvement with them leads me to think that their answer is 'not really; Alhamdulillah'.
 
COVID-19 is going to pose a real menace to an already weakened and malnourished Yememi population, with their civil infrastructure in tatters after years of war. Is the scale of destruction actually known?

Do either the Saudis (and their allies) or the Houthis (and their Iranian backers) make any sort of humanitarian effort?
@Kinch could probably give you a sensible answer to the Saudi mentality on this front. My small involvement with them leads me to think that their answer is 'not really; Alhamdulillah'.
Interestingly - after the first gulf war (the Iraqis and Iranians tend to refer to it as the second gulf war because they were at each others throats earlier) - the Saudi's opened a new hospital at King Khalid Military City (KKMC) near Hafr Al Batin which was about a 40 minute drive.

To the North of the town there was a refugee camp full of Shia people who had been displaced during the comflicts. The dominant group in Saudi are of course the Sunni's and there is little love lost between them. Nevertheless, the Saudi Military hospital at KKMC provided primary care and hospital services to these Shia people who were bussed in from the camp to the base on a weekly basis using American style yellow school buses. They were treated by the hospital's multi-national medical and nursing staff and provided with free medications as required.
There is a web site at kkmch.med.sa/EN/medical.htm

S
 
Last edited:
Tempering my comment above, on the couple of engagements I had with the health service there (as a forinner in the country, but a 2nd level, white and probably Christian westerner), I was given far better service and treatment in Riyadh than I was given for the same issue (heartie) in Belfast. On the first occasion, I received the results of a check on cardiac nastiness within 30 minutes and went home without any worries; on the second I was held overnight in a fabulous private single ward in the Kingdom Hospital before being kicked out for being healthy.

One of the nurses offered to be my 'live in ...er, maid', too, which definitely didn't happen at the RVH.

That wasn't the same level of treatment given to the compound expatriates from the subcontinent who worked in our security and administration departments, though; they had the gentle ministrations of the Pakistani compound doctor, and just about all that. When one of the highly regarded superintendents died (of his god only knew what) he was whipped outside the compound and cremated quick quick.

I liked the doctor, and he and I shared a few meals in the restaurants in the city, but he was deeply incompetent, and had a view of the third-country nationals which was probably similar to that of the Saudis; meh. That 'meh' was very expressive; they weren't tribe or nation, or religion. Screw them.
 
Tempering my comment above, on the couple of engagements I had with the health service there (as a forinner in the country, but a 2nd level, white and probably Christian westerner), I was given far better service and treatment in Riyadh than I was given for the same issue (heartie) in Belfast. On the first occasion, I received the results of a check on cardiac nastiness within 30 minutes and went home without any worries; on the second I was held overnight in a fabulous private single ward in the Kingdom Hospital before being kicked out for being healthy.

One of the nurses offered to be my 'live in ...er, maid', too, which definitely didn't happen at the RVH.

That wasn't the same level of treatment given to the compound expatriates from the subcontinent who worked in our security and administration departments, though; they had the gentle ministrations of the Pakistani compound doctor, and just about all that. When one of the highly regarded superintendents died (of his god only knew what) he was whipped outside the compound and cremated quick quick.

I liked the doctor, and he and I shared a few meals in the restaurants in the city, but he was deeply incompetent, and had a view of the third-country nationals which was probably similar to that of the Saudis; meh. That 'meh' was very expressive; they weren't tribe or nation, or religion. Screw them.
That is pretty much a summery of the social order in the country that prevailed, and continues to prevail to some extent. KSA was/is a very class-concious place, a characteristic bound up with its complexity as it completes its journey from national infancy to maturity in an extrordinary short timeframe. At the time of my own arrival in the country it was a mere 14 years older than myself with a population of around 20m, over 60% of whom were children, spread over an area four times the size of GB.
With the largest economy in the Arab world and a then workforce almost all of which was expat, and somewhat naive institutions of state, it is nevertheless a bastion of stability in an otherwise volatile region........though this comes at an enormous cost in terms of what we would regard as 'acceptable norms and values.
That is about as good a 'plea in mitigation' as I can muster at 0447hrs (UK) which I believe is 'minus 1' in the grand scheme of summer time.. However, it would not do justice to the quoted post if I failed to point out that I would have had to have been seriously fcuking ill to let any of the medics I knew come anywhere near me in a professional capacity - regardless of where they came from! On the other hand, I met lots of fine people from a huge range of places, and a lot of decent Saudis too.
 
Last edited:

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
The wars in the Middle East aren't shutting down just because the rest of the world is in the middle of a pandemic. I posted a news story on the main COVID-19 thread which said that wars there may in fact ramp up now that the rest of the world is too busy to pay much attention.
So long as they kill each other, clearing some population from the globe, maybe we shouldn't be too worried.
Edited to add - certainly not worried enough to waste any more British military lives out there. They wanted Independence, they have it.
 
So long as they kill each other, clearing some population from the globe, maybe we shouldn't be too worried.
Edited to add - certainly not worried enough to waste any more British military lives out there. They wanted Independence, they have it.
I for one would not wish to deny them their sovereign right to kill one another, but we do have to be concerned if and when it interferes with oil supplies and Suez Canal access.
 

Yokel

LE
I for one would not wish to deny them their sovereign right to kill one another, but we do have to be concerned if and when it interferes with oil supplies and Suez Canal access.
Yes. The Houthis have used Iranian anti ship missiles as well as things like explosive laden boats. Yemen based terrorists have mounted suicide boat attacks.

A failed state becomes a fertile breeding ground for both terrorism and disease. The humanitarian disaster should concern us all.

Surely any conflict add to global instability?
 
Last edited:

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
I for one would not wish to deny them their sovereign right to kill one another, but we do have to be concerned if and when it interferes with oil supplies and Suez Canal access.
Isn't that what led to numerous soldiers, airmen, wives and children lying in Silent Valley already?

I don't disagree with the principle you suggest, but we have tried this before. We left them with schools, hospitals, roads, irrigation and Independence after they killed many people fighting for it.

They have fucked up massively and will do again. It's Allah's will.
 

Yokel

LE
Isn't that what led to numerous soldiers, airmen, wives and children lying in Silent Valley already?

I don't disagree with the principle you suggest, but we have tried this before. We left them with schools, hospitals, roads, irrigation and Independence after they killed many people fighting for it.

They have fucked up massively and will do again. It's Allah's will.
We did the same with Malaysia, also an Islamic nation, and they seem to be doing rather well. Yemen is a hostage to geography as well as conflict related to the Cold War and the Saudi/Iranian tension.

The oil shipping from the Gulf passes by, as does shipping to and from the Far East, and naval forces transiting to or fro the Arabian/Persian Gulf.
 
We did the same with Malaysia, also an Islamic nation, and they seem to be doing rather well. Yemen is a hostage to geography as well as conflict related to the Cold War and the Saudi/Iranian tension.

The oil shipping from the Gulf passes by, as does shipping to and from the Far East, and naval forces transiting to or fro the Arabian/Persian Gulf.
Years ago it was predicted that it would only be a matter of time before Yemen melted down. They are a mountainous arid country with a limited water supply, only minor oil resources, a poorly educated and backward society, almost totally dependent upon agriculture for their domestic economy, and with a very high population growth rate.

That combination is not compatible with long term survival. They hit water supply limits just before war broke out. I don't see a viable solution without massive social change, something they are very resistant to. They make wonderful neighbours for people like the Saudis.
 
Isn't that what led to numerous soldiers, airmen, wives and children lying in Silent Valley already?

I don't disagree with the principle you suggest, but we have tried this before. We left them with schools, hospitals, roads, irrigation and Independence after they killed many people fighting for it.

They have fucked up massively and will do again. It's Allah's will.
If you're talking about Aden and Yemen in general, they're actually much lower on my own list of concerns as so long as they have limited access to anti-shipping missiles their ability to cause direct trouble for the West is limited.

Iraq on the other hand could be poised for another general melt down, and they're right in the middle of the world's major oil producing region. The West made a complete mess of the region during the early 2000s invasion and conquest. My own country stayed out of that adventure and I certainly don't recommend a repeat of it for anyone else.

However, we have to be realistic and admit that so long as our society is run on oil rather than sunshine and windmills the Middle East is a region that will exert an influence on us, and not necessarily a positive one.

What we can do is to keep our goals realistic and limited to ensuring that the oil continues to flow onto world markets. Peace, democracy, and human rights are something that the local people will have to sort out for themselves in their own way.
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
We did the same with Malaysia, also an Islamic nation, and they seem to be doing rather well. Yemen is a hostage to geography as well as conflict related to the Cold War and the Saudi/Iranian tension.

The oil shipping from the Gulf passes by, as does shipping to and from the Far East, and naval forces transiting to or fro the Arabian/Persian Gulf.
Malaysia has problems with anyone not of the correct faith, bit like Catholics here until the last 100 years or so, but otherwise seems ok. Singaporeans think they could run it better though, and many Malays work in Singapore. ;-)

Yemen is a basket case. The minute we left they started fighting one another and have been in chaos since. It was a key shipping port, benefitting from its location, but no longer. Again, look at Singapore, independent at the same time.
 

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
Years ago it was predicted that it would only be a matter of time before Yemen melted down. They are a mountainous arid country with a limited water supply, only minor oil resources, a poorly educated and backward society, almost totally dependent upon agriculture for their domestic economy, and with a very high population growth rate.

That combination is not compatible with long term survival. They hit water supply limits just before war broke out. I don't see a viable solution without massive social change, something they are very resistant to. They make wonderful neighbours for people like the Saudis.
How come the population has got so big in a country which cannot sustain it due to climate?
 
How come the population has got so big in a country which cannot sustain it due to climate?
Recent population growth in Yemen has been due to a combination of sociological and technological factors allowing larger family sizes, but not accompanied by the sort of countervailing sociological factors which have limited family size in other counties.

In short, modern diesel and electric pump technology allowed for greatly increased pumping of ground water, increasing agricultural output and incomes. However, that was unsustainable, as the rate of pumping of ground water was far greater than the rate of replenishment. They were basically "mining" their water supply.

Coupled with that was income derived from Yemenis working in neighbouring oil producing countries. They could now save money, buy a small farm (irrigated with non-renewable ground water), set up their own household, and start a (large) family.

The water started running out, and low oil prices reduced the opportunities for unskilled labour in neighbouring oil producing countries. As things went into decline in Yemen, so did the government's ability to bribe the populace into remaining quiet, and people started fighting over a shrinking pie. That in turn exacerbated the underlying problems in society and we now see the present result.

Many of the "Syrian refugees" in Turkey and Lebanon are actually Yemenis trying to get to Europe.

We shouldn't be surprised to see something similar happen in other parts of the Middle East when the oil starts running out, or when the rest of the world no longer needs it. Their only way to avoid it will be to modernise their societies to permit them to have economies based on manufacturing, services, and trade. Some countries are making the effort. Some like Yemen didn't even really try.
 
Tempering my comment above, on the couple of engagements I had with the health service there (as a forinner in the country, but a 2nd level, white and probably Christian westerner), I was given far better service and treatment in Riyadh than I was given for the same issue (heartie) in Belfast. On the first occasion, I received the results of a check on cardiac nastiness within 30 minutes and went home without any worries; on the second I was held overnight in a fabulous private single ward in the Kingdom Hospital before being kicked out for being healthy.

One of the nurses offered to be my 'live in ...er, maid', too, which definitely didn't happen at the RVH.

That wasn't the same level of treatment given to the compound expatriates from the subcontinent who worked in our security and administration departments, though; they had the gentle ministrations of the Pakistani compound doctor, and just about all that. When one of the highly regarded superintendents died (of his god only knew what) he was whipped outside the compound and cremated quick quick.

I liked the doctor, and he and I shared a few meals in the restaurants in the city, but he was deeply incompetent, and had a view of the third-country nationals which was probably similar to that of the Saudis; meh. That 'meh' was very expressive; they weren't tribe or nation, or religion. Screw them.
Might have posted this before, dunno.

I had four weeks in a Saudi military hospital following a climbing accident. First night, once they'd called the surgeon in to confirm it was life threatening and could therefore admit me, I'm wheeled into theatre and look round. I know all of the staff barring the surgeon who is a Saudi. The anesthetist who is getting ready to give me an epidural is a Swiss who is also an alcoholic sid head of the finest kind. My mate's Mrs is the staff nurse, she leans forward and whispers in her lovely Dublin accent; "Grac...get the feck out of here as soon as you can." And I slid under as the alchy did his stuff.

The whole experience was surreal from start to finish but I can't fault the surgeon who did a good job. Can't say the same for the company Dr who was ex army but that's another story. I had my fill of chicken and rice though.
 
Last edited:
Recent population growth in Yemen has been due to a combination of sociological and technological factors allowing larger family sizes, but not accompanied by the sort of countervailing sociological factors which have limited family size in other counties.

In short, modern diesel and electric pump technology allowed for greatly increased pumping of ground water, increasing agricultural output and incomes. However, that was unsustainable, as the rate of pumping of ground water was far greater than the rate of replenishment. They were basically "mining" their water supply.

Coupled with that was income derived from Yemenis working in neighbouring oil producing countries. They could now save money, buy a small farm (irrigated with non-renewable ground water), set up their own household, and start a (large) family.

The water started running out, and low oil prices reduced the opportunities for unskilled labour in neighbouring oil producing countries. As things went into decline in Yemen, so did the government's ability to bribe the populace into remaining quiet, and people started fighting over a shrinking pie. That in turn exacerbated the underlying problems in society and we now see the present result.

Many of the "Syrian refugees" in Turkey and Lebanon are actually Yemenis trying to get to Europe.

We shouldn't be surprised to see something similar happen in other parts of the Middle East when the oil starts running out, or when the rest of the world no longer needs it. Their only way to avoid it will be to modernise their societies to permit them to have economies based on manufacturing, services, and trade. Some countries are making the effort. Some like Yemen didn't even really try.
Yemen was trying but it has had it's big brother to the North interfering since "forever"
 

Latest Threads

Top