Houthi militants man a checkpoint in the Yemeni capital Sana’a on December 2, 2017. (AFP)

November 19, 2021

The US Treasury Department said on Thursday it sanctioned Saleh Mesfer Alshaer, a senior military officer of the Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen and commander of the Houthi-controlled military logistics support organization.

“Alshaer has overseen the Houthis’ seizure of property in Yemen valued at greater than $100 million, using a variety of unlawful tactics, including extortion”, the Treasury Department said in a statement.

“This campaign of extortion, which was used to fund the Houthi military effort, is yet another example of Houthi actions fueling instability and increasing the already extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people. Like the continuing Houthi offensive against Marib, where millions of Yemenis displaced by years of war have fled for refuge, these actions contribute to the severity of the humanitarian situation in Yemen.”

“Saleh Mesfer Alshaer is the principal Houthi military officer responsible for pilfering assets from Yemeni citizens and directing a campaign of seizures that further prolongs the ongoing conflict in Yemen by obstructing its resolution,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “The United States remains committed to exposing those who seek to exacerbate the crisis in Yemen by denying them access to the global financial system.”

“Alshaer, a close ally of Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, serves as both the commander of the Houthi-controlled military logistics support organization, where he assisted the Houthis in acquiring smuggled weapons, as well as the officer responsible for managing all assets and funds confiscated by the Houthis.”

“Alshaer has confiscated assets from Yemeni citizens by extorting and detaining those who do not comply. He has unlawfully forced banks, companies, and money exchange businesses to perform actions such as withdrawals and identification of customer assets. Those who have defied Alshaer have been detained and held indefinitely by the Houthi-controlled “National Security Bureau” and have been falsely labeled as spies.”

“During the first seven months of 2019, Alshaer oversaw the seizure of dozens of companies affiliated with anti-Houthi figures residing abroad, with assets valued at more than 100 million dollars. He oversaw the diversion and confiscation of funds from 35 Yemeni parliamentarians who were not aligned with the Houthis, which was ordered by the Houthi-controlled Specialized Criminal Court on September 14, 2019. These confiscated funds included revenues from projects funded by international organizations inside Yemen. ”

“Alshaer’s cronies have also intervened in multiple hospitals in the capital, Sanaa, replacing directors and staff, and appropriating more than half of those revenues. This pattern of coercion and extortion is intended to benefit only one group — the Houthis — and it demonstrates that they are engaged in the same types of activities they blame on their opponents.”

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.