Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—The UN Security Council said on Tuesday it was considering imposing sanctions on individuals and movements involved “in armed conflicts to obstruct the political transition in Yemen,” amid worsening violence between the rebel Houthi movement and the Yemeni government.
Intense clashes broke out between Houthi rebels and the Yemeni military, backed by allied tribesmen, in and around the capital Sana’a on Tuesday, resulting in the death of at least 12 people with dozens more reported injured.
The latest clashes between the Shi’ite Houthis and the central government represent an escalation of weeks of protests that have engulfed the capital after Houthis took to the streets to protest the cutting of fuel subsidies.
Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has offered to appoint a new government and partially roll back the subsidy cuts, but the Houthis continue to insist that subsidies be fully restored, and on a bigger role in government.
Reuters reported that at least 22 people were killed over Monday and Tuesday in fighting between Houthi fighters and allied government forces in the Al-Jawf province, northeast of Sana’a. Local sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that the conflict spread to the village of Al-Qabil, in Sana’a’s northern suburbs. Eyewitnesses reported that medium weaponry was used in the fighting, with heavy explosions being also reported.
The skirmish between Houthi rebels and allied government forces reportedly broke out after Houthi fighters advanced into Al-Qabil, taking control of the village’s entry points and exits. The Houthi fighters also reportedly attacked a military convoy in the region.
Elsewhere in Yemen, Houthi fighters advanced into Yemen’s Western Al-Hudaydah province seeking to gain control of the strategic port of Midi, local sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
In a statement on Tuesday, the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Committee said: “Committee members expressed their readiness, with a sense of urgency, to consider proposals for the designation of individuals or entities as subject to the targeted sanctions measures.”
Although the committee’s Panel of Experts are scheduled to present their final report in February 2015, due to “the pace of developments on the ground,” the panel in its second phase of work would focus on “specific lines of inquiry and focused case-studies in relation to individuals or entities engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability in Yemen.”
The panel’s first phase of work had focused on “the violence and armed conflict in the north of the country, including the fighting in and around Amran city, and the activities of the Houthis, Islah, the tribes, and other factions involved in the conflict,” the statement added.
Saudi Arabia on Tuesday confirmed its full support for President Hadi, and his efforts to “foster Yemeni security, stability and unity.”
In a statement from Riyadh, Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz stressed Riyadh’s ongoing commitment to Yemen’s national security.