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U.S. tightens sanctions net around Yemen’s Houthi rebels behind Red Sea shipping attacks – MarketWatch

 The U.S. has sought to clip the wings of the Houthi rebel group as it has launched attacks against international shipping passing through the Red Sea to the Suze Canal. Sayed Hassan/Getty Images
The move comes a day after the U.S. and its allies bombed several Houthi targets in effort to stem attacks on international shipping passing through the Red Sea. The U.S. has sought to clip the wings of the Houthi rebel group as it has launched attacks against international shipping passing through the Red Sea to the Suez Canal. (Sayed Hassan/Getty)

Lukas I. Alpert, MarketWatch

EnergiesNet.co m 01 12 2024

The U.S. Treasury Department said Friday that it has expanded sanctions against a key-financier of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group to include a network of ships used to raise money.

The move was the latest in an effort by the U.S. and its allies to stem a series of attacks the Iranian-backed rebel group has launched against ships passing along vital routes in the Red Sea on their way to the Suez Canal.  

The expanded sanctions come a day after the U.S. and others launched a series of strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. The rebel group, which says it has been attacking ships as an expression of solidarity with Palestinians fighting with Israel, has vowed to retaliate.

The attacks have raised the specter that the war between Israel and Hamas could expand more broadly in the Middle East, drawing in Western powers and Iran more directly.

In its announcement, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, said it had designated two companies in Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, plus four ships that they own as sanctioned entities, barring any U.S. company or bank from doing business with them. 

OFAC said that the companies, Hong Kong’s Cielo Maritime, Ltd., and UAE’s Global Tech Marine Services, Inc., had transported Iranian commodities which were sold to generate revenue for a network run by Sa’id al-Jamal, an Iranian-backed financier of the Houthi rebels.

“The United States continues to take action against the illicit Iranian financial networks that fund the Houthis and facilitate their attacks,” said Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. “Together with our allies and partners, we will take all available measures to stop the destabilizing activities of the Houthis and their threats to global commerce.”

Al-Jamal had previously been the target of U.S. sanctions for his alleged role in financing the Houthis.

The agency said that the ships had used forged documents to enable them to transport Iranian products overseas. Iranian oil shipments have long been sanctioned by the U.S., although Iran has managed for years to evade such restrictions through the use of foreign-registered ships, doctored manifests and other maneuvers. 

Earlier this week, Iran’s navy seized an oil tanker off its shores that had previously been confiscated by U.S. authorities after its owners pleaded guilty to transporting Iranian oil.  

marketwatch.com 01 12 2024

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