US issues new sanctions against alleged Houthi funding network | Conflict News

The US has imposed new sanctions on suspected members of an illicit network funding Yemen’s Houthi rebels, citing the group’s involvement in the ongoing war in Yemen and recent drone and missile attacks on allies from Washington to the Gulf.

In one declaration On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department said the network “transferred tens of millions of dollars to Yemen through a complex international web of intermediaries to support Houthi attacks.”

The new sanctions target suspected front companies and vessels that the United States says worked with an offshoot of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to smuggle oil and other commodities into the Middle East. East, Asia and Africa to help fund the Houthis.

“Despite calls to negotiate an end to this devastating conflict, Houthi leaders continue to launch missile and unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against Yemen’s neighbours, killing innocent civilians, while millions of Yemeni civilians remain displaced and hungry,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury Brian E Nelson. in the statement.

Houthi rebels have stepped up missile and drone attacks on Saudi Arabia and started directly targeting the United Arab Emirates in recent weeks, but sanctions appeared to fall short of tougher measures than the Saudis and Emiratis, strategic partners United States keys, had been researched. of the Biden administration.

US officials are in talks with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as the crisis in Ukraine exacerbates high oil prices and a global supply shortfall.

President Joe Biden said last month that the United States was considering relabeling Houthi and Houthi leaders as “terrorists,” a move that typically carries stiff US government penalties for those who do business with them.

Rights groups and aid organizations, however, have warned against blacklisting the Houthis, saying such a move would aggravate the humanitarian crisis in the country, where millions face a worsening of hunger and poverty.

On Wednesday, a group of US senators led by Chris Murphy urged (PDF) the Biden administration not to rename the rebels, saying such a move would “precipitate economic collapse, significantly worsen the country’s grave humanitarian crisis and could undermine the prospects for peace in Yemen.”

The Trump administration imposed the “terrorist” designation on the Houthis in its dying days. The Biden administration lifted it as one of its first acts, as aid groups said the sanctions would scare off commercial food suppliers and humanitarian efforts. An estimated 80% of Yemenis live in territory under Houthi control.

Last year, the Biden administration sanctioned a man it accused of being the Houthis’ top financier, Sa’id al Jamal, along with other suspected members of the smuggling ring. Wednesday’s sanctions name other people and companies it says were part of al Jamal’s network.

The measures, which the United States says were imposed in “coordination and collaboration” with its Gulf partners, also targeted merchants and money changers based in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and other countries. other countries.

Later Wednesday, the United Arab Emirates announced it was blacklisting one individual and five entities that had been sanctioned by the United States, including businessman Abdo Abdulla Dael Ahmed.

A Saudi-led and US-backed coalition, which included the United Arab Emirates, intervened in Yemen in 2015 to repel the Houthis, who had taken control of most of the country, including the capital. Sanaa, and to restore the Gulf-backed Yemeni government. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The war has brought Yemen to the brink of famine, triggering what the United Nations has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The coalition accuses the rebels of being proxies for Iran – a charge the Houthis and Tehran deny.

Last year, the Houthis rejected a US-backed Saudi proposal for a ceasefire, insisting that lifting the blockade on Yemen, including the reopening of Sanaa airport, is a prerequisite for the end of the war.

On Wednesday, Washington accused the Houthis of prolonging the conflict and urged them to “negotiate in good faith without preconditions” to end the war.

“We continue to work closely with our regional partners to act decisively against those who seek to prolong this war for their own ends,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“The United States remains firmly committed to helping Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates defend itself and the tens of thousands of American citizens living in the Gulf from these Houthi attacks.

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