US sanctions network said to be financing Houthi rebels

AFP , Thursday 7 Dec 2023

The United States on Thursday levelled sanctions on 13 individuals and entities accused of providing funds to Yemen's Houthi rebels, currently engaged in firing missiles at Israel and targeting Israeli-linked commercial ships in the Red Sea.

Yemenis brandishing their guns and waving Palestinian flags chant slogans during a march in solidari
Yemenis brandishing their guns and waving Palestinian flags chant slogans during a march in solidarity with the people of Gaza, in the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa on December 2, 2023. AFP


The sanctions targeted people and companies that allegedly provided "tens of millions of dollars' worth of foreign currency" to the Houthis, generated from the sale and shipment of Iranian commodities "backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps," the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

The announcement described "a complex network of exchange houses and companies in multiple jurisdictions," which "serve as an important conduit through which Iranian money reaches the country's militant partners in Yemen."

Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian Nelson said the Houthis continue to receive funding and support from Iran.

"And the result is unsurprising: unprovoked attacks on civilian infrastructure and commercial shipping, disrupting maritime security and threatening international commercial trade," Nelson said.

The Iran-backed rebels, who control much of Yemen, have avowed solidarity with Palestinians during the Gaza war triggered by the Hamas operation of October 7, and have said they will "continue to carry out their military operations" in the Red Sea "until the aggression against our brothers in Gaza stops."

In addition to targeting Israeli-linked commercial ships, including seizing a cargo vessel, the Houthis have launched a series of missiles at Israel.

The Treasury also said that "US warships operating in international waters have had to respond in self-defence" to Houthi missile attacks.

"Such actions further regional instability and risk broadening the conflict between Israel and Hamas."

Those targeted for sanctions were part of a network facilitated by alleged Houthi and Revolutionary Guard financier Sa'id al-Jamal, an Iran-based man already under US sanctions.

The financing network involved entities including a jewellery store and money exchange in Istanbul and a trading company in Dubai, the Treasury said.

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