Yes, in the midst of deaths and deep recession there may be someting good that may come from this pandemic. Saudi Arabia’s leaders have announced a cease fire in Yemen after five years of war, one also accepted by its ally, the recognized government there. Unfortunately so far the Houthi enemies of the Saudis and the recognized government have not so far accepted this proposed cease fire, and in fact it is not the first time the Saudis have called for one, with the previous efforts having failed.
However, this time maybe it will stick. So far there are no officially recognized cases of covid-19 in Yemen. But tens of thousands of Yemenis are returning home from KSA, thrown out as low oil prices have strained the Saudi economy, with the numerous Yemeni guest workers taking the hit, Yemenis being the only non-Saudis allowed to come and go without getting visas, so easy come and easy go. In KSA there are now over 3,000 recognized cases while in Yemen more than half the health infrastructure has been destroyed by the Saudis in the war. Yemen is facing a potentially disastrous situation.
A further aspect of this on the Saudi side is that 150 members of the Saudi royal family have apparently become infected. Most of these are in the lesser branches, with the family now ridiculously large at about 15,000, of whom about 2,000 are “core.” But in fact some serious “senior” members have fallen ill, with perhaps the most prominent (and seriously ill) is the powerful governor of Riyadh province, which contains the capital city, Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulaziz, a nephew of King Salman, who is reportedly hiding on an island in the Red Sea, with de factoo ruler Crown Prince MbS also in seclusion somewhere. This seems to have spooked the Saudi leadership so that even if the Houthis do not like what is being offered, the Saudis may simply stand down.
The virus may be bringing about peace in a long-suffering nation. Let us hope so.