Yemen: $audi Influence Explained

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

The influence of Yemen's rich and powerful neighbor on it's internal affairs is no secret. Saudi Arabia's interference has been felt among Yemenis for decades yet it's extent became more evident during the 2011 revolution, especially in what is known as the controversial GCC deal.

Many Yemenis had been speculating about politicians and sheikhs being on Saudi payroll, yet it was a bit of a shock for netizens to see the names and figures in black and white when a local newspaper ‘El Sharae’ printed on June 3rd the first part of a list of 2,700 tribal, political and military personalities, claiming they received a total of 56 million Saudi Riyals in monthly salaries from Saudi Arabia, of which SR 40m allegedly went to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. The report which was called “Saudi's special committee queue” was reposted on Yemenpress online version, yet Saleh's name did not appear on that list.

Al Share news paper's front page on June 3rd

Al Share news paper's front page on June 3rd

Freelance journalist Adam Baron tweeted:

@adammbaron extent of saudi hand in #yemen is known: IMO, most shocking thing is that it only took $15 million to (ostensibly) buy 2700 ppl off.

@adammbaron: names of yemeni notables getting monthly $ from saudi really covers full spectrum politically, regionally, tribally, etc. #yemen

He also tweeted another link to the list which also did not include Saleh's name:

@adammbaron: newspaper in ‪#yemen‬ set to release names of pols, tribal leaders, etc who are getting $$ from saudi. part one (AR):

Farea Al-Muslimi tweeted:

@almuslimi: @A4Mai @NoonArabia @ahYemen @alguneid @amelscript @Nefermaat @CarvajalF It is not only Sheikhs; army, politicians..everyone.

@almuslimi: 15 million dollars every month goes 4 thugs; 2 years salaries could over-go the catastrophic humanitarian crisis ‪#Yemen‬ is going through.

Ibrahim Mothana tweeted:

@imothanaYemen: Heated debate in #Yemen after Al-Shaera newspaper started publishing names of 2700 political/tribal figures getting paid by Saudi Arabia

@imothanaYemen: According to Al-Sharea report, Islah party gets 2 billion YR from Saudi annually. Wondering how much Houthis get from Iran? ‪#Yemen‬

@imothanaYemen: ‪#Yemen‬ for Sale! Buy a Politician and get another for FREE!

@imothanaYemen: @NoonArabia @Macoombs @JustLuai This is the first page of the printed version. Saleh, Sadeq (Sheik Sadeq Al-Ahmar) and Ali Mohsin top the list

Luai Ahmed tweeted his disappointment:

@JustLuai: @imothanaYemen @NoonArabia @Macoombs amazing how all these faces contributed GREATLY to Yemen's current state of misery..

And so did Yemen_Updates:

@yemen_updates: The shocking part of the ‪#YemeniPoliticians4Sale‬ news is that there are people who unfortunately we used to respect. ‪#Yemen‬ ‪#FF‬

The General People's Congress [ar], headed by former president Saleh issued a statement denying that he had been receiving any monthly payments and so did Al-Islah [ar], which denied that any of it's members were receiving payments from Saudi Arabia and described the report as “allegations and defamation”.

The newspaper was due to release the second and third part of the list but failed to do so due to “problems”.
@JustLuai tweeted the reason why it stopped publishing the rest of the list:

@NoonArabia @CarvajalF @Macoombs are you talking about AlShare’ newspaper? If so, their Editor in Chief, Ali Al-Saqqaf is being sued.

Many wondered why the newspaper decided to publish this list now? It certainly succeeded in causing a stir.

According to CNNarabic, members of parliament demanded in their first session on Saturday June 9th, an explanation from Prime Minister Mohammed Bassenduwah and urged the government to release any data it possesses regarding this matter.

Saudi Arabia has long considered Yemen as it's backyard and many Yemenis feel it has recently sabotaged their revolution through the GCC deal as an attempt to stop democracy from landing on it's front door. “Keep Yemen weak” is what King Faisal is quoted to have said to his sons on his death bed, and they have done a good job at that, keeping many Yemeni government officials, tribal leaders on their payroll and funding internal conflicts. Yet Saudi is not the only culprit here, but also those who chose to sell themselves and their country.

Omar Mash angrily tweeted:

@OmarMash: #YemeniPoliticians4Sale: Each of the 2700 individuals should be tried for treason against the Republic.

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.


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