Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
Yemenis have always considered Saudi Arabia as their second home. Relations between the people of Saudi Arabia and Yemen have always been very strong. Yemenis have always lived in peace and harmony with Saudis. And that is why many analysts who are unaware of the depth of relations between the two peoples were surprised when a few months ago Saudi authorities corrected the status of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, who were living and working in Saudi Arabia without legal status. At the same time, there are millions of Yemenis who live, work or travel to and from the Kingdom and enjoy the available health care and education. In other words Saudis have nothing against Yemen or the Yemenis. And every Saudi has deep sympathy for them. Saudi Arabia led the coalition operation only after Yemen’s legitimate government asked for it. At the same time, Saudi Arabia can’t afford to see lawless militias controlling a country with 30 million people and thousands of miles of common border with the Kingdom. These militias — mostly the Houthis — have a huge stockpile of weapons that pose a direct threat to Saudi Arabia. The coalition forces are continuing their military operations in Yemen to end the conflict once and for all. There is a humanitarian crisis in Yemen due to tens of years of internal conflicts. Yemen had always been suffering from instability and internal fighting. The country lacks water resources, reliable infrastructure, proper health care and education system and many other things necessary for a decent living. In the past, Saudi Arabia had provided tens of billions of dollars in direct financial aid and tens of billions of dollars for improving their infrastructure and building hospitals, schools, roads and airports. Saudi Arabia had always stood by Yemen in difficult times. In addition to government-to-government relations, investments were made by Saudi businessmen in Yemen. Now, Yemenis have a difficult task to correct the situation in their country because it is only the Yemenis who can rebuild Yemen and bring back stability. It is time for all Yemenis to lay down their arms and accept the legitimate government. This will free Yemen from all outside interventions especially from Iran. We, the Saudi people, have the highest respect for Yemen and the Yemenis. They are very intelligent and hardworking people who have the talent and ability to take back their country from the Houthis and rebuild Yemen after many years of instability and destruction. Saudi Arabia and its people will stand by all the Yemenis if they show signs of serious steps to live in peace among themselves. Women and children in Yemen are suffering from this never-ending chaos. The world is seeing tired women and starving children and again, it is only the Yemenis who can sit together and put the interest of Yemen ahead of their own personal interests. Yemen has the potential to rise again and become a contributing member to the stability and prosperity of the area. We in the Kingdom want to see a prosperous Yemen. For the time being, the millions of Yemenis living and working in Saudi Arabia can do more for their country by showing the Yemenis in Yemen that Saudi Arabia has a very strategic interest in seeing a stable Yemen. Yemenis residing in Saudi Arabia are one of the biggest assets for their country. Their contribution of billions of dollars in remittances to their country can rebuild Yemen in a very short time. Yemenis in Saudi Arabia had played a big part in strengthening their economy. The Houthis are also part of the Yemeni society and can be a part in building Yemen, but, not a force to destroy Yemen or by playing into the hands of Iran. Written by Abdulateef Al-Mulhim. Yemenis in Kingdom reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al-Mulhim.