Treasury blacklists Houthi military leaders in Yemen

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The Treasury Department has sanctioned two leaders of the Iran-backed Houthi rebel group in Yemen, citing actions that have “prolonged Yemen’s civil war and exacerbated the country’s humanitarian crisis.” 

The agency announced the new sanctions in a press release Tuesday, writing that Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmad ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi were “responsible for orchestrating attacks by Houthi forces impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.”

“These actions, which were done to advance the Iranian regime’s destabilizing agenda, have fueled the Yemeni conflict, displacing more than one million people and pushing Yemen to the brink of famine,” the Treasury Department added. 

According to the press release, the sanctions block “all property and interests in property” of the two military leaders that are in the U.S., as well as “any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons.” 

The sanctions also prohibit any transactions involving any contribution, funds, goods or services between the U.S. and the military leaders. 

Treasury wrote that the sanctions were being implemented in accordance with an Obama-era executive order that grants the authority to block “property of persons threatening the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.” 

The United States condemns the destruction of civilian sites by the Houthi militants designated today,” Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea Gacki said in a statement along with the press release.

“These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” Gacki added. “The United States remains committed to promoting accountability of Houthi leadership for their actions, which have contributed to the extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people.”

The new sanctions come nearly a month after President Biden announced the end to U.S. support for offensive operations in the Saudi Arabia-led military campaign in Yemen. 

“This war has to end,” Biden said during an address at the State Department at the time. “And to underscore our commitment, we are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales.”

Biden at the time also appointed veteran diplomat Timothy Lenderking to serve as special envoy to Yemen to work with the United Nations and “all parties to the conflict to push for a diplomatic resolution.”

The six-year conflict between the Saudi-backed forces and the Iran-supported Houthi militants has largely been considered a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. 

Biden’s decision to withdraw support in the war came as part of his efforts to deliver on a campaign promise to review the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia. Biden at one point described Saudi Arabia a “pariah” state.

The policies mark a shift from former President Trump, who promoted multiple arms sales to Saudi Arabia, including one for $8.1 billion in 2019, bypassing congressional opposition by invoking “emergency” authorities, citing alleged threats by Iran.

Tags biden administration Donald Trump Houthi Houthi movement Houthi rebels humanitarian crisis Iran Joe Biden military leaders Saudi Arabia Treasury Department Yemen
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