Sanctions against key Houthi military leaders come shortly after the United States removed the rebel movement from the “terrorism” list.
The United States imposed sanctions on two Houthi rebel leaders in Yemen, citing their purchase of weapons from Iran for use in “complex” cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia and ships in the Red Sea.
“Today the United States is taking action to respond to this behavior,” the State Department said in a statement Tuesday, using the name “Ansarallah” to refer to the Houthi movement. “The United States has made it clear its commitment to promote accountability for Ansarallah’s malicious and aggressive actions, which include the escalation of the conflict in Yemen.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price on February 28 condemned a cross-border attack on Saudi Arabia allegedly carried out by the Houthis.
The two sanctioned are the Commander of the Houthi Air Force, Ahmad al-Hamzi, and the Commander of the Yemen Naval and Coastal Defense Forces, Mansur al-Saadi, whom the US Treasury claims to be “responsible for.” orchestration of attacks ”.
The war in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Houthis took over large swathes of the country, including the capital, Sana’a. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates entered the war in 2015, bringing together a US-backed military coalition to restore the internationally recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been accused of supporting groups that engage in human rights abuses, including contributing to the famine that threatens millions with famine.
The administration of President Joe Biden aimed to reset the relationship between Riyadh and Washington, which was warm under former President Donald Trump.
This decision contrasts with the Biden administration’s warning about Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemen war and the stripping of the Designation “terrorist” placed on the Houthi rebels by the Trump administration.
Blinken said, after the designation was removed in February, Washington was monitoring the activities of the Houthi movement and identifying new targets for sanctions, particularly those responsible for attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia.
“We will continue to closely monitor the activities of Ansarallah and its leadership and actively identify additional targets for the designation,” Blinken said at the time.
We condemn Ansarallah’s aggressive actions, including attacks threatening civilians in Saudi Arabia and Marib. Today we appoint two other militant leaders, Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmad Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi, for the continued surveillance of the attacks and the purchase of weapons from Iran.
– Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 2, 2021
War in Yemen has resumed in recent months, especially in the last northern stronghold of Hadi Marib, which the Houthis hope to control.