US sanctions come after the Biden administration lifted the “ foreign terrorist ” designation for the group.
The Houthi movement fighting in Yemen said US sanctions against two of its leaders would prolong the war and deepen the humanitarian crisis in the country.
The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions against Mansur al-Sa’adi, chief of staff of the Houthi naval forces, and Ahmad Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi, the commander of the air force and forces of Yemeni air defense aligned with the Houthis of Yemen, invoking their alleged roles. during cross-border attacks against Saudi Arabia and ships in the Red Sea.
The move comes after President Joe Biden’s administration survey a Trump-era designation of the Houthis as a “foreign terrorist organization,” which prohibited Americans from doing business with them and made it a crime to provide support or resources to the movement.
The designation was condemned by the United Nations and human rights groups, who have said it could further cripple the economy of a country already struggling with what the United States is calling the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
However, some observers said the revocation of the label had reduced too much pressure on the Houthis, who, along with the Saudi-led coalition they have been fighting since 2015, have been accused of human rights violations and war crimes.
“America condemns itself and confirms that it is not thinking of stopping the aggression … and that it supports the prolongation of the war and the exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis,” Houthi official Mohammed Abdulsalam said on Wednesday , according to Al Masirah. TV channel.
The United States has said it is stepping up pressure for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, which began when the Houthis expelled Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi from the capital Aden in 2014 and pushed at least 16 million people to the brink of starvation.
Last month, the Biden administration ad it was ending support for the Saudi coalition’s “offensive operations” in Yemen and ending sales of certain weapons in the country. The administration, however, pledged to continue supporting Riyadh’s defensive operations.
The Biden administration is also expected to use a recently declassified intelligence report, according to which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, to put pressure on Riyadh to end the conflict.
The Houthis, for their part, have continued to target Saudi Arabia with ballistic missiles and drones in recent days. The attacks come as the Saudi coalition pounded the rebels with airstrikes in an attempt to halt their advance on Marib, the government’s last stronghold in northern Yemen.