Houthis issue warning to oil ‘looters’ as Yemen truce collapses

The rebel group warned that they could target foreign oil companies in response to “economic war”

As efforts to extend a six-month ceasefire between Yemen’s Houthi rebels and a Saudi-led military coalition failed, the Houthis warned that they could launch attacks on oil companies in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

On Sunday, the United Nations announced that talks between the Houthis (and the Saudi coalition) had ended and that the ceasefire that was due to expire on the same date would not be extended. Since April, the fragile truce was in place and allowed fighting to cease for the longest period since 2014’s civil war in Yemen.

Hans Grundberg UN representative for Yemen called on all sides to halt hostilities. “pursue every avenue for peace.”

Houthis made a similar statement one day prior and condemned the Saudi-led coalition for not improving the country’s humanitarian situation. Already the Arab world’s poorest nation, Yemen has been under blockade by the coalition since 2015, triggering widespread humanitarian crisis. While the Houthis accused the Saudis of limiting the influx of vital supplies during the ceasefire, Yemen’s Saudi-allied government accused the Houthis of blockading key road corridors inside Yemen.

Houthis stated that Saudi-led countries are part of a coalition. “transfer[red] the war to the economic field,”Oil companies keep going “looting” the country’s natural resources during the blockade. As of Sunday, the rebel group demanded that foreign oil firms from Saudi Arabia and UAE cease their operations and stop extracting crude oil in Yemen. 

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FILE PHOTO. Soldiers of People's Resistance Forces, loyal to President of Yemen Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, patrol after they recapture Kureyis region from Houthi forces in Taiz, Yemen on June 05, 2016.
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“Our armed forces are able, with God’s help, to deprive the Saudis and Emiratis of their resources if they insist on depriving our Yemeni people of their resources,” a spokesman for the group’s military branch declared on Sunday. 

Over several years prior to the April truce being signed, Houthis targeted numerous oil plants, vessels, and airports throughout Saudi Arabia and UAE. Although it claimed the Houthi targets were military, coalition airstrikes intensified on their behalf. Schools and hospitals were also allegedly part of those targeted. A strike in January on Saada’s prison killed 80 people.

According to UN estimates, around 400,000 people have died in Yemen since 2015, when the Saudi-led coalition launched a military campaign with the objective of restoring President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power after he was ousted by the Houthis. The ground fighting was intense, resulting in the displacement of millions. Riyadh claims that Shia Muslim Houthis have been proxies to Iran. Tehran denies this claim.



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