Yemen and the business of war

Peter Salisbury says some are profiting from prolonging the conflict

The World Today
4 minute READ

Peter Salisbury

Former Senior Consulting Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme

Yemenis are masters of making do, and the civil war there has done little to dent their capacity for innovation. Sana’a, the capital, now has the greenest energy supply in the world, residents claim, because so much of its electricity is produced by solar panels. The country has all but run out of foreign currency but networks of Yemeni businessmen have been able to jerry-rig a surprisingly effective hawala or informal money transfer system that has allowed workers outside the country to send cash back home, for a fee.

Until recently traders and transport firms had to contend with tribal roadblocks, armed gangs and Al-Qaeda. But now, because so many of the militias earn income from taxing trade, security along the country’s roads is actually as good as it has ever been – as long as you aren’t a combatant involved in the wider conflict.

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