CHICAGO: Two senior Houthi militia leaders have been sanctioned by the US over their involvement in terror strikes against Yemeni civilians as well as attacks on Saudi Arabia and commercial shipping in international waters.
Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmad Ali Ahsan Al-Hamzi, both key figures in the Iran-backed Ansarallah terrorist organization, were named in sanctions issued on Tuesday by the US Treasury.
Treasury officials said that “all property and interests in property” of Al-Sa’adi and Al-Hamzi in the US, or in the possession or control of US persons, will be “blocked.”
“The US condemns the destruction of civilian sites by the Houthi militants designated today. These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” Andrea Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control, said.
She added: “The US remains committed to promoting accountability of the Houthi leadership for their actions, which have contributed to the extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people.”
Al-Sa’adi, the Houthi naval forces chief of staff, has directed lethal attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea. He has received extensive training in Iran and helped smuggle Iranian weapons into Yemen.
Al-Hamzi, who heads the militia’s air defense forces, as well as its unmanned aircraft (UAV) program, has acquired Iranian-made weapons for use in the Yemen civil war. Houthi forces under his command have carried out targeted drone strikes.
Gacki said that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) had provided military guidance and training to the Houthis since the start of the conflict.
“The Houthis, with the support of the Iranian regime, have waged a bloody war against the internationally recognized Yemeni government using ballistic missiles, explosives, naval mines and unmanned aerial vehicles to attack bases, population centers, infrastructure and nearby commercial shipping,” Gacki said in a statement.
“The Iranian regime has intensified this conflict by providing direct financial and material assistance to the Houthis, including small arms, missiles, explosives, and UAVs,” a statement from the Treasury Department said.
This support “has allowed the Houthis to threaten Yemen’s neighbors, and to conduct heinous attacks damaging civilian infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.”
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also condemned the Iranian-backed violence.
“We strongly condemn the Ansarallah’s continued assault on Marib and their attacks in the region, including a complex attack on Feb. 27, which threatened civilian areas with several UAVS and a missile attack on Riyadh. Again, on March 1, Ansarallah attacked the Saudi city of Jazan and injured five civilians,” Blinken said in a statement.
“We will ensure Saudi Arabia and our regional partners have the tools they need to defend themselves, including against threats emanating from Yemen that are carried out with weapons and support from Iran.”
Iran’s involvement in Yemen fans the flames of the conflict, threatening greater escalation, miscalculation and regional instability, Blinken said.
The Houthi militia use Iranian weapons, intelligence, training and support to conduct attacks threatening civilian targets and infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, he added.