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Stig Stenslie

Stig Stenslie  is assistant director general and head of the Asia Division of the Norwegian Defence Staff. He has held visiting fellowships at, among others, the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies in Oslo, the National University in Singapore and Columbia University in New York. He hold...
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Saudi palace intrigues, Yemeni sufferings

Stig Stenslie, 12 October 2015

By the end of September 2015 Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen had lasted for six months: the Huthi militiamen and their allies in the Yemeni army were still fighting fiercely, and Sanaa was still not recaptured. The war has from its inception carried significant political risk for King Salman and his son, Muhammad bin Salman, who has been portrayed as the mastermind behind Saudi Arabia’s strategy in Yemen. Among Saudis one can now notice that the wave of euphoric nationalism that the war initially triggered is being weakened, and criticism of Riyadh’s war is brewing, especially in social media. Far more alarming for King Salman and his son, some of the senior princes appear to be mounting a campaign to depose them. Muhammad bin Salman is particularly being criticised for his role in leading the country’s troublesome war in Yemen. King Salman and his son cannot accept anything other than Saudi-led success in the war in Yemen. The fact that the war is of existential importance for them is a powerful incentive to use disproportionate force to achieve a complete victory. This is bad news for the already suffering Yemenis. The war may result in Yemen becoming a failed state and thus a haven for terrorist organisations, with serious consequences for the security of Saudi Arabia.

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