On March 2, the United States sanctioned two Houthi rebel commanders, Mansur al Saadi and Ahmad Ali Ahsan al Hamzi, for orchestrating attacks “impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters.” Al Saadi and al Hamzi “command forces that worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki said.
The Houthis, also known as Ansarallah (“Supporters of God”), are Shiite rebels in Yemen allegedly supported by Iran. The Houthis took over the capital Sanaa in 2014 and seized control over much of north Yemen by 2016. “Iran’s involvement in Yemen fans the flames of the conflict, threatening greater escalation, miscalculation, and regional instability,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on March 2. Tehran has provided direct financial and material financial and materiel assistance to the Houthis, including small arms, missiles, explosives, and UAVs, according to the U.S. Treasury.
In January 2021, the Trump administration designated the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization for attacking Saudi Arabia’s civilians, infrastructure and shipping. But in February 2021, the Biden administration revoked the designation out of concern that the listing could impede aid efforts. The new administration, however, retained sanctions on three Houthi leaders sanctioned under President Trump. The following is a statement from the Treasury Department on the latest Houthi sanctions.
Treasury Sanctions Key Military Leaders of the Ansarallah Militia in Yemen
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two key militants of the Iranian-backed Ansarallah, sometimes referred to as the Houthis, whose actions have prolonged Yemen’s civil war and exacerbated the country’s humanitarian crisis. Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmad ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi are responsible for orchestrating attacks by Houthi forces impacting Yemeni civilians, bordering nations, and commercial vessels in international waters. These actions, which were done to advance the Iranian regime’s destabilizing agenda, have fueled the Yemeni conflict, displacing more than one million people and pushing Yemen to the brink of famine.
“The United States condemns the destruction of civilian sites by the Houthi militants designated today. These individuals command forces that are worsening the humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” said Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control Andrea M. Gacki. “The United States remains committed to promoting accountability of Houthi leadership for their actions, which have contributed to the extraordinary suffering of the Yemeni people.”
Today’s action is being taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13611, an authority aimed at blocking property of persons threatening the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.
Since the onset of the conflict in Yemen, the Houthis, with the support of the Iranian regime, have waged a bloody war against the internationally recognized Yemeni government using ballistic missiles, explosives, naval mines, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to attack bases, population centers, infrastructure, and nearby commercial shipping.
The Iranian regime has intensified this conflict by providing direct financial and materiel assistance to the Houthis, including small arms, missiles, explosives, and UAVs. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)–Qods Force has provided military guidance and training to the Houthis. This support has allowed the Houthis to threaten Yemen’s neighbors and to conduct heinous attacks damaging civilian infrastructure in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Iranian support of the Houthis has only prolonged Yemen’s civil war and contributed to the widespread suffering of millions of Yemenis in a humanitarian crisis the United Nations called “the worst in the world.”
Mansur Al-Sa’adi and Ahmad al-Hamzi
Mansur Al-Sa’adi, who serves as the Houthi Naval Forces Chief of Staff, has masterminded lethal attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea. The Houthi Naval Forces have repeatedly dispersed naval mines, which strike vessels irrespective of their civilian or military character. According to international human rights organizations, the use of naval mines in the Yemen civil war poses a risk to commercial, fishing, and humanitarian aid vessels.
Mansur Al-Sa’adi, who has received extensive training in Iran, has also helped smuggle Iranian weapons into Yemen.
Ahmad ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi, the commander of Yemen’s Houthi-aligned Yemeni Air Force and Air Defense Forces, as well as its UAV program, has acquired Iranian-made weapons for use in the Yemen civil war. Houthi military forces under Major General Ahmad ‘Ali al-Hamzi’s command have carried out targeted UAV strikes. Like Al-Sa’adi, al-Hamzi has received training in Iran.
Bases for Designation
Mansur Al-Sa’adi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13611 for having engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen, such as acts that obstruct the implementation of the agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, or that obstruct the political process in Yemen.
Ahmad ‘Ali Ahsan al-Hamzi is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13611 for being a political or military leader of an entity that has engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen, such as acts that obstruct the implementation of the agreement of November 23, 2011, between the Government of Yemen and those in opposition to it, which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, or that obstruct the political process in Yemen.
As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the persons above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or otherwise exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
View identifying information on the individuals designated today.