US Hits Houthis With First Sanctions
The White House on Tuesday signaled a change of course of sorts, blacklisting two top Houthi officials for “worsening the suffering of the Yemeni people” and advancing “the Iranian regime’s destabilizing agenda.” The two military leaders, Houthi naval forces chief of staff Mansur Al-Sa’adi and air force and air defense forces commander Ahmad Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi, are accused by the United States of training in Iran and smuggling advanced weapons from the Islamic Republic into Yemen. Tuesday’s announcement comes just over a month after President Joe Biden’s decision to remove the terror designation from the entire Houthi organization, put in place by his predecessor on his last day in office. While Washington explained the reversal was meant to prevent a humanitarian calamity and enable Yemenis to receive aid and food from global donators, the Iran-backed group, in control of most of Yemen, continued its hostile activities against civilian sites and neighboring Saudi Arabia, bombing ships and even Riyadh itself. The deadly seven-year-long civil war, waged between the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition backing the internationally recognized government, has claimed the lives of a quarter of a million people.