The UN Security Council is set to vote on a draft resolution on Monday, tabled by the UAE, calling on members to expand an arms embargo against the leaders of Yemen’s Houthis to include the Iran-backed militia as a whole, following a series of recent drone and missile attacks against the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
The draft, seen by Arab News, urges all member states to “respect and implement their obligations to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to, or for, the benefit of (the Houthis) and those acting on their behalf or at their direction in Yemen, of arms and related materiel of all types.”
It condemns “the continued supply of weapons and components to Yemen in violation of the targeted arms embargo” established by resolution 2216 which was adopted in 2015. The text calls on member states to “increase efforts to combat the smuggling of weapons and components via land and sea routes, to ensure implementation of the targeted arms embargo.”
Iran has provided the Houthis with training and a growing arsenal of sophisticated weapons and technology for anti-tank guided missiles, sea mines, explosive-laden unmanned aerial vehicles, ballistic and cruise missiles, unmanned maritime vehicles, and other weapons.
The resolution requires nine votes in favor of it, and no veto by any of the five veto-wielding permanent council members — Russia, the US, UK, France and China.
The war in Yemen has killed tens of thousands of civilians, causing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, and pushing the country to the brink of famine.
The resolution stresses that the new measures are “not intended to have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population of Yemen, nor civilian access to humanitarian assistance, commercial imports or remittances.” It excludes asset freezes which would have a severe impact on such humanitarian operations.
It is on the grounds of such humanitarian concerns from some Security Council members that the US government last year rescinded its designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization.
The recent Houthi attacks on the UAE and Saudi Arabia have prompted the latter, along with some members of the US Congress, to intensify calls for President Joe Biden to add the militia to the US list of foreign terrorist groups.
The UAE-led resolution also calls for the extension of the mandate of the UN Panel of Experts on Yemen for one additional year, ensuring the protection and safety of, and cooperation with, its members.
It calls on the panel to provide a report about “recent trends in the illicit transfer and diversion of conventional weapons, and about the commercially available components which have been used by (the Houthis) to assemble unmanned aerial vehicles, water-borne improvised explosive devices, and other weapon systems.”
The draft highlights Houthi attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen, their implementation of “a policy of sexual violence and repression against politically active and professional women,” their recruitment of children for warfare, their incitement to violence against religious groups, and their indiscriminate use of landmines.
“The Houthis have also obstructed the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Yemen, or access to, or distribution of, humanitarian assistance in Yemen,” the text said, adding that sexual violence and violence against children in armed conflicts are sanctionable acts that “threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen.”