The editorial staff of the Yemen Times examined reasons why their nation has been home to so many terrorists in the world. They point out forty years ago, three issues dominated their nation– poverty, illiteracy, and disease, but the ensuing decades did not witness any of them being addressed by the government. Although, oil was discovered, nothing was ever done to stimulate other industries or to transform farms into modern successful enterprises. Infrastructure needs such as roads, electricity and water were ignored even though efforts to develop these aspects of society would have created jobs and stimulated education. Of the 23 million people, only about one-fourth live in cities and the remainder are in small villages and rural areas.
“Most Yemenis are not educated, particularly the women. Their daily life rotates around the field, their children and local social activities. They have no means to education, especially beyond the basic level” and women have scant opportunities to escape the vicious cycle of poverty and ignorance. There is only a mediocre healthcare system so most people rely on traditional medical care approaches that date back hundreds of years.
The editors raise the issue as to what has happened to the oil money. Why hasn’t it been channelled back into society or addressing needs for economic development? Failure to develop a sound education system and economic opportunities result in young men who have no prospects and thus become attracted to voice of violence. Yemen is not rule, not the exception. How many hundreds of millions of Saudi Arabia money has gone into developing religious schools which don’t even teach modern science? When will Saudis awake to the reality their failure to work with nations such as Yemen is the reason why terrorism is found in the world.