UN Security Council to vote on Houthi arms embargo

The measure would expand a targeted UN arms embargo on several Houthi leaders to the whole group.

 HOUTHI OFFICIALS gather around surface-to-air missiles on display, during an exhibition in an unidentified location in Yemen, in this undated photo released by the Houthi Media Office in Feb. 2020. (photo credit: HOUTHI MEDIA OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
HOUTHI OFFICIALS gather around surface-to-air missiles on display, during an exhibition in an unidentified location in Yemen, in this undated photo released by the Houthi Media Office in Feb. 2020.
(photo credit: HOUTHI MEDIA OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The United Nations Security Council is due to vote Monday on a proposal by the United Arab Emirates to impose an arms embargo on Yemen's Houthis after the group claimed several drone and missile assaults on the country this year.

The measure would expand a targeted UN arms embargo on several Houthi leaders to the whole group. The measure needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by Russia, the United States, Britain, France or China.

A Saudi-led coalition, including the UAE, intervened in Yemen in 2015 after the Iran-aligned Houthis ousted the internationally recognized government from Sanaa. The Houthis say they are fighting a corrupt system and foreign aggression.

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.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people and caused a humanitarian crisis, pushing Yemen to the brink of famine.

Newly recruited Houthi soldiers march during the funeral of Houthi fighters killed during recent fighting against government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen, December 6, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH)Newly recruited Houthi soldiers march during the funeral of Houthi fighters killed during recent fighting against government forces, in Sanaa, Yemen, December 6, 2021. (credit: REUTERS/KHALED ABDULLAH)

A senior Security Council diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the proposed arms embargo on the Houthi group does not include an asset freeze so there would be "no impact on humanitarian aid or commercial shipping, which was a concern" among some council members.

A year ago, President Joe Biden's administration revoked a US designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization over concerns that it would worsen Yemen's humanitarian crisis. Former President Donald Trump's administration had blacklisted the Houthis one day before Biden took office in January 2021.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and some American lawmakers are pressing the White House to return the Houthi movement to the US list of foreign terrorist groups over the recent Houthi attacks on the UAE and Saudi Arabia.