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Hadi’s Stupid and Destructive Decree

Hadi's decision to replace Yemen's central bank is a stupid and destructive act that will inflict great harm on millions of people and will probably fail on its own terms.
Hadi’s Stupid and Destructive Decree

The exiled Hadi government wants to kick Yemen into the abyss:

In Yemen’s war of attrition, the Saudi-backed exiled government has now decided that the central bank is an easier target than the capital, shielded from its troops by 60 kilometers (40 miles) of daunting mountains teeming with fighters.

A decree this month to cut the bank off from the outside world is aimed at using economic pressure to vanquish the Houthi fighters of the Zaydi branch of Shi’ite Islam, who have ruled the capital and most of northern Yemen for nearly two years.

It means the Houthis may struggle to pay state employees, including teachers, doctors and the soldiers from an army that mostly fights on their side in the civil war.

But it also means that millions of people in territory controlled by both sides will become poorer [bold mine-DL], and a country that imports 90 percent of its food may have no way to feed itself.

Hadi’s decision is typical of the stupid and cruel way that Yemen’s internationally recognized government has treated its country. Even if the maneuver does harm Hadi’s enemies as much as he hopes, it will do enormous damage to the civilian population in the process. Yemen’s civilian population has already been battered by seventeen months of bombing and starved by the Saudi-led blockade, and this would needlessly add to their suffering. If he and his Saudi backers wanted to annihilate whatever little political credibility Hadi had at home, they could scarcely have devised a better way to do it.

The report continues:

“We have seen senseless attempts to delegitimize the central bank governor,” a senior Western diplomat said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of criticizing an exiled government that foreign states still recognize.

“Why would a truly patriotic government do something like this?” the diplomat said.

The diplomat said the government should put the interests of Yemen’s citizens before its war aims: “This is even more valid given how poor Yemen is and the humanitarian situation.”

Yemen was already suffering from one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world before this decision, and if this has its desired effect the humanitarian catastrophe that already exists will get much worse. On top of all that, the decision is likely to backfire on the exiled government, which will receive and deserve the blame for the economic problems that follow. If the goal is to undermine the position of the Houthis and their allies, this move may have the opposite effect by making Hadi’s government and his Saudi backers even more hated than they already were. All in all, it is a stupid and destructive act that will inflict great harm on millions of people and will probably fail on its own terms.

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