UN reportedly set to sanction Saleh and Houthis

UN reportedly set to sanction Saleh and Houthis
Yemen's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Houthi rebel leader Abdelmalik al-Houthi likely to face the ire of the United Nations Security Council, diplomats say.
3 min read
21 October, 2014

Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi leader Abdelmalik al-Houthi are likely to be placed under UN Security Council sanctions, according to diplomats speaking to Al Jazeera.

The pair, alongside Saleh's son, Ahmed, and two other leading Houthis - Abdelmalik's brother Abdelkhaliq and military commander Abu Ali al-Hakim - are accused of obstructing Yemen's political transition. The UNSC tasked a team of investigators in February with establishing a list of figures reponsible for preventing the country from moving ahead with its transition following Saleh's removal from power in 2011.

Saleh is believed to have been repeatedly warned in private by the international community that he could have sanctions coming his way should he continue to undermine his successor, Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

Saleh is rumoured to have had a part to play in the Houthi takeover of Sanaa on September 21, with the Houthis leaving Saleh's properties alone, while damaging the homes of other leaders.

Disrupting dynasty

Saleh's son, Ahmed, was for years seen as his father's likely successor, although the uprising against Saleh's 33-year rule in 2011 seems to have quashed public support for a dynastic succession.

     Saleh is believed to have been repeatedly warned in private by the international community that he could have sanctions coming his way.

Ahmed was subsequently removed from his position as head of the Republican Guards, and installed as Yemen's ambassador to the United Arab Emirates. His diplomatic position may prevent sanctions being imposed upon him for now, though he may yet be removed from his position.

The Houthis named have been among the leaders of the movement since it began its armed struggle against the Yemeni state in 2004. By 2011, the group had taken control of the province they emerged from, Sadah, and advanced into neighbouring Amran this year - before taking Sanaa and continuing their advance across the country.

The Houthis have left Hadi as president of the country, but he currently appears to have little power to prevent the Houthis from carrying on their expansion.

New government

The largely unhindered entrance of the Houthi into the capital has necessitated the naming of a new government, after Hadi complied with Abdelmalik al-Houthi's demand for the removal of former prime minister Muhammed Salim Basindwa and his cabinet. Yemen's UN envoy, Khaled Bahah, was eventually named as prime minister on October 13, but has yet to name his cabinet.

A possible new cabinet for Yemen?

Defence, finance, interior and foreign ministries: To be directly appointed by Hadi
General People's Congress: Nine ministries
Joint Meeting Parties: Nine ministries
Houthis: Six ministries
Herak movement: Six ministries

Sources close to the president have told al-Araby al-Jadeed that nine ministerial positions are expected to be awarded to the General People's Congress (GPC), Saleh and Hadi's party, with the same number being allocated to the Joint Meeting Parties, a coalition that includes the Islamist Islah Party, and the Socialist Party. The same source said that the Houthis and the southern Herak movement would be allocated six ministries each.

Hadi is expected to directly appoint the ministers of defence, interior, foreign affairs, and finance.

Houthi - al-Qaeda clashes continue

The latest reports come as clashes continue in central Yemen between the Houthis and al-Qaeda, as well as local tribesmen opposed to the Houthis. The Houthis have faced little resistance in much of Yemen, but 60 people were killed in Ibb and al-Bayda provinces as Houthi fighters came up against stiff opposition on Monday.

A suicide bomber killed 15 people, including children, when he detonated his explosive-laden car near a Houthi checkpoint in the town of Rada, south of Sanaa, witnesses reported.

Another car bombing killed 20 Houthis in a building where they had gathered and in subsequent clashes, tribal and security forces told AFP. A further 12 Houthi rebels were also reportedly captured by al-Qaeda.