The United States has designated two Houthi militia leaders linked to actions that are perpetuating the conflict in Yemen, posing a dire threat to civilians, and exacerbating the horrendous humanitarian crisis there.
The war in Yemen began in 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthis seized the capital, Sana’a, from the internationally-recognized government and drove Yemen’s president into exile. The ensuing fighting has resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, and the country is once again on the brink of famine. At least 20 million people rely on some form of humanitarian assistance to survive.
The two leaders, designated by the United States on May 20, are both involved in the Houthi offensive against the government-held region of Marib. Muhammad Abd Al-Karim al-Ghamari recently took charge of the offensive; Yusuf al-Madani, who had been commander in four separate governorates in Yemen, is now assigned to the offensive that is targeting Marib.
In a written statement announcing the designations, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, “The Marib offensive is exacerbating Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, as it puts approximately one million vulnerable internally displaced persons at risk of being displaced once again, threatens to overwhelm an already stretched humanitarian response, and is triggering broader escalation.”
The designations mean that all property and interests in property within the United States of those designated are blocked; and, in general, all transactions by U.S. persons that involve such designated persons or property are prohibited.
Secretary of State Blinken noted that Houthi actions are having a dire impact on civilians and are occurring “despite unprecedented consensus among the international community and regional actors on the need for an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of peace talks.”
He said, “We call on the Houthis to immediately cease all attacks and military offensives, especially their offensive against Marib, which only causes more suffering for the Yemeni people. We urge them to refrain from destabilizing actions and to engage in UN Special Envoy’s efforts to achieve peace.”
Secretary Blinken added, “It is time to end this conflict.”