AL-MUKALLA: The Houthis on Sunday threatened to mount more drone and missile strikes on “unexpected” locations in the Arab coalition countries in response to the latest US sanctions on the militia’s leaders.
Mohammed Ali Al-Houthis, the president of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, said his movement would escalate attacks on “aggressor countries” if the US continued sanctioning military and political leaders. “Sanctions do not scare the mujahideen,” he tweeted.
Last week, the US imposed sanctions on two Houthi military leaders who are commanding the current offensive on the central city of Marib despite calls from the UN, the US and other countries for the group to halt its assault and engage positively with peace initiatives.
Despite heavy casualties and failing to make major advances in Marib province, the Houthis pushed ahead and attacked government-controlled areas outside Marib city, military officials said.
Some analysts believed that the US resorted to blacklisting Houthi military leaders in order to force the rebels to embrace the US special envoy’s efforts to end the war.
“The Houthis’ insistence to seize control of Marib has embarrassed the Americans and disrupted their desire for a peaceful political role to end this bloody war,” tweeted Maged Al-Madhaji, the executive director of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies. He predicted tougher measures from the US if the Houthis continued to ignore the calls for peace.
Others, such as Najeeb Ghallab who is undersecretary at Yemen’s Information Ministry, argued that sanctions on individual rebels would not push the movement into changing its behavior.
“Yes, it is a clear message from America that more sanctions would be imposed in future,” Ghallab told Arab News, saying the targeted officials had no bank accounts overseas and rarely traveled abroad. “But the sanctions would not have any impact on the ground. The US should look for the active Houthi leaders who supply the movement with weapons and money. The decision to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization was correct since it dealt with the Houthis as an integrated organization. Taking actions against individuals would not have any impact.”
During a special telephone briefing on May 20, the US Special Envoy for Yemen Timothy Lenderking told reporters that his government would keep monitoring Houthi behavior and would take punitive or rewarding measures accordingly.
“We constantly and continually assess Houthi behavior and Houthi actions and are prepared to take whatever steps are appropriate in response to Houthi behavior,” he said. “And let me also say that (the) Houthi willingness to engage with the UN envoy and show a commitment to peace is something that would also be responded to positively by the US.”