U.S. blacklists Yemen’s Saleh, Houthi leaders

A young supporter of Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh holds a portrait of him during a rally on Nov. 7, 2014 in Tahrir Square in the capital Sanaa.

A young supporter of Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh holds a portrait of him during a rally on Nov. 7, 2014 in Tahrir Square in the capital Sanaa.

The United States on Monday blacklisted former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and two Houthi rebels, two days after the U.N. Security Council took a similar step, accusing the trio of role in Yemen’s unrest.

The U.S. Treasury said it was blacklisting Saleh, Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim and Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi “for engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.”

Yemen, a U.S. ally that borders oil-producer Saudi Arabia, is trying to end political unrest that began with mass protests against Saleh, president for 33 years until he stepped down in 2012. Saleh has denied seeking to destabilize Yemen.

A report published by Al Arabiya News last month revealed how Saleh was “actively helping the Houthi rebels take over the country as part of his plan to return to power.”

The report gave details of a “secret” meeting between Saleh and Houthi leaders in which both parties set up plans to convince regional powers, especially Saudi Arabia, about the events in Yemen.

The Houthis reportedly asked Saleh to assign some of his aides well-known to Riyadh “to try to deceive the Saudi leadership into believing that developments in Yemen were under control and that the Houthis can be removed from power if the kingdom entrusts him [Saleh] with this role.”

The objective of this plot, according to the report, is to “shake confidence among Houthi opponents –who might be backed by Saudi Arabia – in order to create a situation that is mutually beneficial for both Saleh and the Houthis.”

 
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