US May Blacklist Houthis, Oman Says
Oman’s Foreign Minister Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi on Saturday claimed the United States was considering slapping Yemen’s Houthi movement with sanctions, as part of Washington’s continuing efforts to cripple Iran and stymie its influence in the Middle East. Al Busaidi said during the Bahrain security summit that the issue was raised by the head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the State Department, David Schenker, during a recent discussion. Last month, Reuters quoted two sources within President Donald Trump’s administration who threatened to blacklist the Houthi rebels that have been battling a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen ever since their overthrow of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in 2014. The Shi’ite movement is aligned with Tehran, and has in recent weeks ratcheted up its assaults on Saudi oil facilities and ships. Yet the Omani diplomat seemed skeptical of American sanctions, saying: “is that decision going to resolve the Yemeni conflict given that this group is a key player? … Or is it better to really support what the United Nations envoy is trying to do by inviting everyone including that group to the table?” The conflict in Yemen has led to the deaths of over 112,000 people and displaced more than three million. It is considered the world’s worst humanitarian crisis today.