A handout picture released by the Saudi Royal Palace shows Saudi Air Force officers standing at attention in front of an advanced F-15SA fighter jet during a ceremony. (Photos by AFP)
Saudi Arabia has increased its air force pilots’ salary by up to 60 percent shortly after its bombing campaign against Yemen enters its third year.
According to the Saudi Press Agency on Monday, the kingdom’s cabinet amended regulations pertaining to a 35-percent increase in basic salaries of all air force pilots and weapons operators. It added that officers who fly fighter jets or operate their weapons systems will be receiving a 60-percent pay increase.
No explanation was given for the move by the Saudi cabinet, which has over the last few months been implementing austerity measures.
Riyadh is currently dealing with economic struggles brought on by a budget deficit of nearly $100 billion caused by a sharp slump in oil prices as well as Riyadh’s rising army expenditure, a large amount of which is being funneled into its military campaign against Yemen.
Saudi Arabia — backed by a number of African and Persian Gulf Arab state — launched a massive aerial aggression against neighboring Yemen on March 26, 2015, in an attempt to reinstate former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a close ally of the despotic kingdom, and to crush the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. The offensive has so far left over 12,000 Yemeni civilians dead, according to the latest tallies.
EU: Yemen becoming a forgotten war
While addressing an EU ministerial meeting on Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned that the situation in Yemen is on the brink of becoming a “forgotten conflict.”
“This is definitely not the case for the European Union so we will focus on that not only from the humanitarian perspective but also from the political perspective,” she added. “This can have very serious humanitarian consequences but also security consequences that are very serious for the entire region.”
Mogherini made the remarks just one day after Yemen wrote a letter to the European Union, calling on the 28-nation bloc to pressure Saudi Arabia into ending its deadly military intervention and inhumane blockade of the impoverished nation.
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