Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi delivers a speech via a screen display during a demonstration in Sanaa, Oct 12, 2016. (REUTERS)

February 12, 2021

The United States announced that it would not lift sanctions off the leaders of the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen.

State Department spokesman Ned Price declared on Wednesday that Houthi leaders Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim “remain designated under the UN sanctions regime and are sanctioned under a US authority, Executive Order 13611, related to acts that threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.”

“We do not intend to let up the pressure on those who are responsible for these attacks [on Saudi Arabia], who are responsible for seeking to do harm to American citizens, who are responsible for seeking to do harm to our Saudi partners,” he stressed during a press briefing.

“The Houthi leadership will find themselves sorely mistaken if they think that this administration is going to let off the pressure – is going to let them off the hook for the reprehensible conduct that they continue to undertake. They will find themselves under significant pressure, and I suspect we may have more to say about that in the coming days,” he added.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a second telephone call in less than a week with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah.

Blinken condemned the Houthi attack against Saudi Arabia’s Abha international airport on Wednesday and also discussed efforts to boost Saudi defenses against such attacks.

In a tweet, the American official said: “Saudi Arabia is an important security partner. We won’t stand by while the Houthis attack Saudi Arabia. We remain committed to bolstering Saudi Arabia’s defenses and finding a political settlement to the conflict in Yemen.”

A State Department statement, said Blinken “outlined diplomatic outreach to find a negotiated political settlement to the war in Yemen, including through the US Special Envoy to Yemen recent engagements with regional partners, humanitarian aid organizations, the UN Special Envoy, and other stakeholders.”

Price, meanwhile, noted that the Houthi attack on Abha coincided with the first visit to the region by newly appointed US envoy to Yemen, Tim Lenderking.

The envoy had visited Saudi Arabia and met with its foreign minister.

Price stressed that the US will continue to pursue diplomatic efforts to resolve the Yemeni crisis and reach out to stakeholders, including its partners in the region, humanitarian agencies and the UN envoy.

“There is no military solution when it comes to the conflict in Yemen; that only through diplomacy, only through support to the UN-led efforts through [Martin] Griffiths could we conceivably bring peace and stability to Yemen,” he stressed.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.