Turkey freezes assets of senior Houthi militia leaders

The ensuing conflict due to the Houthi uprising has killed around 10,000 Yemenis, according to the World Health Organization. (AFP)
Updated 18 April 2019
0

Turkey freezes assets of senior Houthi militia leaders

  • Ankara has in the past targeted assets of then Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his son
  • The new sanctions targeted Houthi leader Abdulmalek Al-Houthi and two military commanders

ANKARA: Turkey has frozen the assets of three senior Houthi leaders in line with UN Security Council sanctions, the country’s official gazette said Thursday.

The decision is valid until Feb. 26, 2020, and affects Abdulmalek Al-Houthi, Abd Al-Khaliq Al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya Al-Hakim.

The Iran-backed Houthi leadership and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh were sanctioned and blacklisted by the UN in 2014 for obstructing peace, security and stability in the country.

Ankara temporarily froze the assets of Saleh and his son in Turkish banks and other financial institutions, including safes, about two years ago. It has extended the duration of this freeze.

Saleh amassed between $32 billion and $60 billion through corruption and stashed assets in at least 20 countries during his 33 years in power, according to a UN report.

Experts are divided about Ankara’s real intention. 

Selim Sazak, an analyst and doctoral researcher at Brown University, said Ankara should have carried out these actions years ago.

“I think this is an effort to remove one of the problems in the relationship while Ankara is trying to negotiate a face-saving solution for the S-400s, while ensuring some arrangement in northern Syria that would perhaps permit Turkish troops into YPG-controlled territory,” he told Arab News.

Sazak said a senior minister was in the US capital last week to meet officials and that the decision to freeze assets might be connected to that visit.

“It is known that the US Treasury hasn’t been happy about Turkey’s inaction on Yemen sanctions. I would be surprised if it didn’t come up in the diplomatic meetings. So, they’re probably patching up that rift.”

For others, the move would contribute to the further isolation of the Houthis by blocking financial resources.

Oubai Shahbandar, a Turkey-based defense analyst, said the sanctions were an important message to the Houthis.

“Until they renounce terrorism and accept a peace process with the Yemeni government, the Houthis will continue to be viewed as pariahs by the international community. This latest measure adds more pressure as Houthi resources dry up,” he told Arab News.

Earlier, the UN Security Council expressed “grave concern” that agreements reached four months ago between the warring parties in Yemen had not been carried out and called for their implementation “without delay.”

The warring parties could start withdrawing forces from Hodeidah within weeks, a move needed to pave the way for political negotiations to end the war, the UN special envoy said on Thursday. 

Martin Griffiths said he had received on Sunday the formal acceptance of the government and the Houthis to implement a first phase of troop redeployments, while discussions were still underway for the second phase.


Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

Updated 43 min 48 sec ago
0

Turkey launches air strike on Iraqi Kurdistan after killing of diplomat

  • Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil
  • Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is suspected to be involved in the killing

ANKARA: Turkey on Thursday launched an air attack on Iraqi Kurdistan in response to the killing of a Turkish diplomat in the region, the country’s defense minister said.
The Turkish vice consul to Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region was shot dead Wednesday in the local capital Irbil. Police sources said two other people were also killed.
There was no claim of responsibility for the shooting, but many Iraqi experts have pointed to the probability that the Turkish separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Ankara considers a terrorist group, was behind the attack.
“Following the evil attack in Irbil, we have launched the most comprehensive air operation on Qandil and dealt a heavy blow to the (PKK) terror organization,” defense minister Hulusi Akar said in a statement.
Targets such as “armaments positions, lodgings, shelters and caves belonging to terrorists” were destroyed.
“Our fight against terror will continue with increasing determination until the last terrorist is neutralized and the blood of our martyrs will be avenged,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), which now leads the regional government, enjoys good political and trade relations with Turkey.
But Turkey has been conducting a ground offensive and bombing campaign since May in the mountainous northern region to root out the PKK which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
Earlier this month, the PKK announced that one of those raids killed senior PKK leader Diyar Gharib Mohammed along with two other fighters.
A spokesman for the PKK’s armed branch denied the group was involved in Wednesday’s shooting.