UK, US sanction senior Houthis  

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping and stoked fears of global inflation. ..reports Asian Lite News

Britain and the United States on Thursday said they had sanctioned four senior Houthi officials for their roles in supporting or directing attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping and stoked fears of global inflation. They have also deepened concern that fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could destabilize the Middle East.

Those sanctioned were Houthi Defense Minister Mohamed Nasser Al-Atifi, Commander of Houthi Naval Forces Muhammad Fadl Abd Al-Nabi, coastal defense forces chief Muhammad Ali Al-Qadiri and Muhammed Ahmad Al-Talibi, who the two governments described as the Houthi forces director of procurement.

“The Houthis’ persistent terrorist attacks on merchant vessels and their civilian crews … threaten to disrupt international supply chains and the freedom of navigation, which is critical to global security, stability, and prosperity,” the US Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian Nelson, said in a statement.

“Today’s joint action with the United Kingdom demonstrates our collective action to leverage all authorities to stop these attacks.”

Britain said the four men were involved in acts which “threaten the peace, security and stability of Yemen.”

The US action freezes any US-based assets of those targeted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

On Monday, US and British forces carried out a new round of strikes in Yemen, targeting a Houthi underground storage site as well as missile and surveillance capabilities used by the Iran-aligned group against Red Sea shipping.

UN asks Houthis to reconsider order

Meanwhile, the United Nations has asked Yemen’s Houthi authorities to reconsider their decision to expel US and British nationals working for the world body in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, confirmed on Wednesday that the United Nations has received communications from the Houthis, which gave the world body one month for all US and British nationals to leave the areas under the control of the de facto authorities.

“What needs to be said is that any request or requirement for UN staff to leave based solely on the nationality of that staff is inconsistent with the legal framework applicable to the UN,” said Dujarric. “It also, of course, impedes our ability to deliver on the mandate to support all of the people in Yemen. And we call on all the authorities in Yemen to ensure that our staff can continue to perform their functions on behalf of the UN.”

He said UN staff serve impartially and serve the flag of the United Nations and none other.

The spokesman refused to say how many US and British nationals are working for the UN in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.

“I can find out the number of international staff. We do not give breakdowns of our staff’s own nationality,” said Dujarric.

The order of the Houthi militia came amid rising tensions between the US and British forces stationed in the Red Sea and the Houthis who have been attacking “Israeli-linked ships” in the region since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7, 2023.

The US-UK maritime coalition in the Red Sea has carried out multiple airstrikes on Houthi camps in various northern provinces of Yemen. It said these actions are aimed at preventing further Houthi attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea shipping lane.

The Houthi group vowed to continue targeting ships linked to Israel in the Red Sea until Israel ends its attacks and blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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