Houthis in Yemen are using their control over the entry of oil imports through the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah to extort the war-torn country’s UN-recognized government and the international community.
The Iran-backed militia, so far, has failed to comply with commitments it made under the UN-sponsored Stockholm Agreement and has especially dodged following on its pledge of paying the salaries of civil servants living in Houthi-run areas.
While the Yemeni government works to ensure that supplies of fuel continue to flow to all parts of the war-torn country, Houthis have been stashing oil deliveries away in warehouses operated by militia leaders.
Hoarding fuel meant to reach Yemenis has become a popular strategy used by Houthis to drive up prices on the black market.
Ignoring the needs of Yemenis ailing from a crippling economic crisis and the fallout of years of war, Houthis continue to monopolize access to humanitarian aid and basic goods in areas of their control. They manipulate local prices and use money they collect from selling products on the black market to fund their war effort.
A recent government report revealed the 70% of oil shipments that arrive at Yemeni ports eventually make their way to Houthi-run areas, where they are withheld from distributors and cleared only through paying so-called Houthi customs officers any fee they request.
What is worse is that Houthis also seize a portion of incoming oil shipments under the pretext of them not fitting entry standards imposed by the militia.
Most of the stolen oil is used by the militia to back its military campaigns across the country.
On Wednesday, Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak tweeted about the government approving the docking of a number of oil shipments at the port of Hodeidah.
He noted that even though Houthis are violating the terms and conditions of the Stockholm Agreement, the government is keen on doing all it can to alleviate the suffering Yemenis.