DUBAI: Houthis have directly contributed to the humanitarian disaster in Yemen by preventing aid from reaching vulnerable members of the population, Yemen’s ambassador to the US said in a recently-penned opinion editorial published in Newsweek.
Ambassador Ahmed Awad BinMubarak raises the question of why “thousands have lost their lives and tens of thousands more have lost their homes and livelihoods” when these communities live nearby one of Yemen’s major aid delivery gateways – Hodeidah port.
“One would presume that these communities would be flushed with aid goods, but regrettably, this has not been the case,” he wrote in the editorial titled “How the Houthis Have Provoked a Human Disaster in Yemen” published Monday.
“There is a reason for this absurdity: The Hodeidah port is still under the control of the Houthis,” BinMubarak wrote.
The ambassador goes on to detail how the Houthis create revenue streams from “illegitimate” customs and taxes imposed on incoming goods.
“Additionally, the Houthis have worked on deconstructing Yemen’s economy and financial system, creating profitable black markets for their own economic gain, which has become a key funding source for their war efforts,” he added.
The ambassador highlights a statement released by the Norwegian Refugee Council on February 20, 2017, in which they detail how six aid workers were detained by Houthis for a week because the products they were distributing had Saudi markings.
“This sort of detention unmistakably demonstrates how the Houthis are undermining relief efforts,” BinMubarak wrote.
The ambassador is, however, also concerned about the “continued arbitrary arrests and forced disappearances are going unchecked in Hodeidah, Taiz and elsewhere.”
In the opinion piece, he states that “recapturing Hodeidah is necessary to bring back stability to Yemen’s west coast,” adding that this is a necessary because the Houthis have targeted maritime navigation and shipping routes and there is a risk, according to the US Office of Naval Intelligence, that the Houthis could places sea mines in the strategic Bab Al-Mandeb strait.
“Subsequently,” the ambassador wrote, “government forces have started to target Houthi armed positions in the outskirts of Hodeidah.”
BinMubarak insists, however, that “reaching a peaceful resolution is our government’s ultimate objective.
“Our country has been put through extraordinary conditions, and we are keen to rebuild our country for the sake of our people and the generations to come,” he wrote.