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US sanctions trafficking network helping Houthi rebels

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June 11 (UPI) – The Biden administration has blacklisted a smuggling ring accusing it of aiding the elites of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in war-torn Yemen.

Treasury said in a statement that this network led by Iran-based Houthi financier Sa’id al-Jamal generates tens of millions of dollars in sales by selling goods such as Iranian oil to those who circumvent sanctions through international shell companies, brokers and exchange houses.

“The financial support of this network enables the Houthis miserable attacks that threaten civilian and critical infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” said Andrea Gacki, director of the Treasury Control Office at the Treasury. “These attacks undermine efforts to end the conflict and, more tragically, starve tens of millions of innocent civilians.”

The United Nations has called Yemen “the worst humanitarian crisis in the world” because of the war that erupted between the Houthi rebels and the internationally recognized Yemeni government and Saudi-led coalition forces in 2014, resulting in about 80% of 31 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including about 5 million facing hunger and 4 million internally displaced, according to United Nations Agency for Human Refugees.

Treasury said that since the conflict began, the Houthis had relied on the IRGC to fund its war campaign. The rebels have recently escalated its military campaign in Governor Marib that UN Special Envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said last month was resulting in “an extraordinary loss of life” over the past year, despite diplomatic efforts calling for a ceasefire. .

Together with al-Jamal, the Treasury sanctioned a group of seven businessmen and four companies, freezing their property and assets and blocking American citizens from doing business with them.

Turkey-based Abdi Nasir Ali Mahamud and Adoon General Trading FZE, Adoon General Trading LLC and Adoon General Trading Gida Sanayi Ve Ticaret Anonymous Sirketi were blacklisted by the Treasury after accusing Ali Mahamud of using his companies to transfer millions -Jamal dollars.

UAE-based Indian national Manoj Sabharwal, Yemen based Turkey Hani ‘Abd-al-Majid Muhammad As’ad, Somali businessman’ Jami ” Ali Muhammad, Syrian Taliban ‘Ali Husayn Al-Ahmad al-Rawi and Syria Greece-based Abdul Jalil Mallah was also sanctioned for being away from the smuggling network.

Swaid and Sons, a Yemeni-based exchange house, was also blacklisted after facilitating multimillion-dollar transactions for al-Rawi and Mallah under al-Jamal.

“Ending the suffering of millions of Yemenis is a major concern for the United States,” the Treasury said, “and we will continue to hold those responsible for widespread misery accountable and deny them access to the global financial system.” .

Less than a month into the presidency, President Joe Biden announced in early February that he was ending US support for offensive military operations in the Middle East, declaring “this war must end.”

He intercepted Tim Lenderking, deputy assistant secretary of state for Iran, Iraq and regional affairs, to lead the effort to end the war.

Late last week, Lending is back from meeting with Middle East allies with whom he discussed the need for a comprehensive ceasefire.

Thursday’s sanctions follow those imposed last month against two senior Houthi leaders responsible for launching attacks in Marib that threaten to worsen the situation where the Treasury said it was a beacon of stability for millions in the midst of the war.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Houthis ‘ongoing offensive in Marib is contrary to the United States’ intent to resolve the conflict in Yemen.

“It is time for the Houthis to accept a ceasefire and for all parties to resume political talks,” Blinken said. a statement. “Only a comprehensive, nationwide ceasefire can bring the urgent relief needed for Yemenis, and only a peace agreement can resolve the humanitarian crisis.”

The top US diplomat also said he lifted sanctions on three former Iranian government officials and two companies previously involved in trading Iranian petrochemical products “as a result of a verified change in statues or behavior.”

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