UN Security Council Slaps Harsher Arms Embargo on Yemen's Houthi Rebels

The embargo, which targets the military capabilities of the entire Iran-backed group, would 'push toward stopping their escalation in Yemen,' UAE says

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Houthi leader Muhammad Ali al-Houthi talks to reporters at the site of a Saudi-led airstrike on a road in Sanaa, Yemen, December.
Houthi leader Muhammad Ali al-Houthi talks to reporters at the site of a Saudi-led airstrike on a road in Sanaa, Yemen, December.Credit: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

The United Nations Security Council on Monday imposed an arms embargo on Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthis after the group claimed several drone and missile assaults on the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia this year.

The measure, proposed by the UAE, expands a targeted UN arms embargo on several Houthi leaders to the whole group. It received 11 votes in favor, while the remaining four council members – Ireland, Mexico, Brazil and Norway – abstained.

The UAE mission to the United Nations said the resolution would curtail the Houthis' military capabilities and "push toward stopping their escalation in Yemen & the region".

A Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for seven years in a conflict largely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. The war has killed tens of thousands of people and caused a dire humanitarian crisis.

The coalition, the United States and UN sanctions monitors have accused Iran of supplying the Houthis with arms, which both Tehran and the group deny.

Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, head of the Houthi supreme revolutionary committee, criticized the decision for ignoring "crimes" by the coalition and said in a Twitter post that any arms embargo that does not apply to the Western-backed alliance "had no value".

The war has seen a major escalation this year with coalition warplanes strafing Houthi-held areas after the group ramped up cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and extended them to the UAE, where three people were killed in a strike in January.

Air strikes in Yemen killed some 100 civilians that month in operations the coalition said targeted Houthi military systems.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 after the Houthis ousted the government from the capital Sanaa. The group says it is fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

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