US Treasury Sanctions Suspected Houthi Weapons Suppliers

The Treasury Department sanctioned multiple individuals and entities suspected in sending weapons components and aid to the Houthis.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced new sanctions on Monday targeting two individuals and five business entities suspected of funneling weapons components and aid to the Houthis in Yemen as they continue to target commercial ships with drone and missile attacks.

The sanctions come as the United States has been battling to stop the Houthis from launching drone and missile attacks disrupting international shipping through the Red Sea and its surrounding waterways.

The Houthis, also known as Ansar Allah, are a Zaidi Shiite Islamic faction in Yemen that the Biden administration recently listed as a specially designated global terrorist (SDGT) group. The Houthi movement has fought with the internationally recognized Yemeni government for years but has more recently turned its attention to the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip. The Houthi movement has claimed solidarity with the Palestinian people and has launched attacks on merchant ships it claims are suspected of associating with Israeli interests and Israel’s allies and partners.

The United States maintains that the Houthis are aligned with the government of Iran and are receiving Iranian military assistance. In a statement, on June 17 the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) laid out a network of suspected smuggling activity connecting the Houthis to weapons suppliers within the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and other international partners.

OFAC sanctioned Ali Abd-al-Wahhab Muhammad al-Wazir, his PRC-based company Guangzhou Tasneem Trading Company Limited (Guangzhou Tasneem), and the Hong Kong-based parent company Tasneem Trading Company Limited. OFAC alleged Mr. al-Wazir and the Chinese companies have “procured materials that enable Houthi forces to manufacture advanced conventional weapons inside Yemen.”

OFAC designated two more PRC-based entities, Ningbo Beilun Saige Machine Co., Ltd. and Dongguan Yuze Machining Tools Company Limited, for sanctions. The Treasury Department office said Ningbo Beilun Saige company has procured materials for manufacturing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other weapons the Houthis have used to target vessels. OFAC said Houthi-affiliated actors have relied on the Dongguan Yuze company to source tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment for weapons production efforts inside Yemen.

Related Stories

US Forces Destroy Houthi Radars, Drones Following Attacks on Commercial Ships in Red Sea
Houthis Severely Damage Cargo Ship in Red Sea Attack Using Explosive Drone Boat

The new sanctions also target the United Arab Emirates-based Stellar Wave Marine L.L.C. OFAC said Cameroon-flagged merchant ship M/V Otaria, a crude oil tanker owned by Stellar Wave, loaded and carried unspecified commodities to Singapore on behalf of Sa’id al-Jamal, a suspected Houthi financier previously sanctioned by the United States. OFAC announced it would also sanction Otaria’s captain, Vyacheslav Salyga, for his role in transporting the cargo.

The sanctions authorize U.S. authorities to seize any assets within the United States or in the possession or control of a U.S. person belonging to Mr. al-Wazir, Mr. Salyga, or any of the five listed entities. Individuals and financial institutions that provide funds, goods, or services to these sanctioned individuals and entities may also face sanctions.

Red Sea Standoff Continues

The new Treasury Department actions come as losses mount in the ongoing Red Sea standoff.

The Houthis severely damaged the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier M/V Tutor in a June 12 attack using an explosive-laden remote-controlled boat known as an unmanned surface vessel (USV).

A day later, Houthis again landed a blow against the Palauan-flagged, Ukrainian-owned, Polish-operated bulk cargo carrier M/V Verbena.

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby announced at a June 17 White House press briefing that last week’s attacks killed a Filipino crewmember on the Tutor and critically wounded a Sri Lankan crew member aboard the Verbena.

Mr. Kirby went on to denounce the Houthi claims that its actions are in solidarity with the Palestinian people. He insisted the crews of the Tutor and the Verbena weren’t taking weapons to Israel or in any other way taking a side in the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“They were just manning their posts aboard ship trying to earn a paycheck and keep global commerce moving,” Mr. Kirby said.

Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Houthi group patrol the waters as demonstrators march in the Red Sea port of Hodeida in solidarity with the people of Gaza on Jan. 4, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)
Yemeni Coast Guard affiliated with the Houthi group patrol the waters as demonstrators march in the Red Sea port of Hodeida in solidarity with the people of Gaza on Jan. 4, 2024. (AFP via Getty Images)

The White House official said the Houthis had struck other non-combatant vessels in past attacks, including ships carrying humanitarian supplies to Sudan as well as to Yemen.

“The Houthis are causing needless suffering across the entire region, for Gazans, for the Sudanese, for the Yemenis themselves, and as they said, this is pure terrorism,” Mr. Kirby said. “There’s simply no other word for it. The Houthi claim of supporting Gazans is meritless.”

The U.S. government has flip-flopped on whether to consider the Houthis a terrorist group in recent years.

Beginning in 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration began providing military logistical and targeting support for a Saudi Arabian-led military coalition backing the internationally recognized Yemeni government in its fight with the Houthis.

President Donald Trump’s administration continued U.S. support for the Saudi-led counter-Houthi coalition throughout his presidency and, in his final days in office, moved to designate the Houthis as a specially designated global terrorist group and as a foreign terrorist organization. President Joe Biden’s administration reversed the terror designations in his first days in office.

In January, the Biden administration put the Houthis back on the specially designated global terrorist group list as the group escalated attacks in the Red Sea. At the time, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States “will reevaluate this designation” if the attacks are halted.

The U.S. military and its partners and allies have intercepted some of the Houthi drone and missile attacks and launched dozens of their own strikes in Yemen, targeting suspected Houthi launch sites.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced that U.S. forces in the region had destroyed a Houthi patrol boat last Thursday following the attack on the Verbena. On Friday, CENTCOM reported U.S. forces also destroyed seven radar sites in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen suspected of helping the Yemeni faction to “target maritime vessels and endanger commercial shipping” in the region.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

Running For Office? Conservative Campaign Consulting – Election Day Strategies!