To control wealth.. Al-Houthi tightens his grip on the private sector in Yemen

English - Sunday 10 September 2023 الساعة 09:42 am
Sanaa, Newsyemen, Walid Muhammad:

A number of companies and commercial establishments that were established decades ago in Sana'a have been subjected to major harassment and extortion by the Houthi militia - Iran's arm in Yemen, as part of a scheme to control the private sector in its areas of control.

An organized and systematic bulldozing operation carried out by the militias against what remained of the private sector and businessmen. With the aim of strengthening a parallel sector led by prominent Houthi leaders with the aim of controlling the national economy.

Imposing strict restrictions and procedures, leading to doubling levies and royalties under the name of taxes and customs; Not to mention the incidents of fires, targeting, looting, and disruption to which merchants and businessmen are exposed. In addition to assassinations, kidnappings, and the issuance of unfair judicial rulings for the purpose of accessing merchants’ money and balances through illegal means.

With every passing year, Iran's arm increases its control over the private sector to strengthen the Houthi sector, which has become a major financial force that fuels the war and finances terrorist attacks inside and outside Yemen.

Explosions and fires

In the most recent of these incidents, a gas trailer exploded inside the Al-Najah station belonging to the businessman “Al-Mafzar” near Jawlat Aya, north of Sanaa, which led to the outbreak of a massive fire that spread to two houses and a mosque, causing the displacement of dozens of families and the theft of a number of citizens’ homes.

The sources were conflicted about the cause of the explosion, while some say that it was caused by an electrical fault that occurred in the yard of the "Yemen Gas" company, and caused a huge fire, which led to the explosion of the trailer, others said that it was caused by an unknown perpetrator.

The incident was preceded by a massive fire in the "Al-Aqil Light Food Production" factory in central Sana'a, which led to huge material losses that caused the factory to stop working, without the causes of the fire becoming clear until this moment.

Continuous levies

The Houthi militia launched a massive campaign against private hospitals and companies that sell medicines and medical supplies in Sana'a, during which it imposed an amount of one million riyals on the latter, under the pretext of supporting the so-called "Mawlid al-Nabawi" activities.

These new levies come days after a campaign of levies launched by the Houthi militia on a large scale, targeting merchants, owners of small and medium shops, and the private sector to fund the same event.

The militias are accustomed to exploiting their sectarian celebrations and events and turning them into a financial resource and a whip to flog merchants, plunder citizens, and blackmail them in light of the difficult living conditions.

The terrorist Houthi militias also continued to detain refrigerators for exporting agricultural products and pomegranate fruits at their military points on the road linking Saada and Al-Jawf Governorate in the context of imposing additional taxes and illegal levies on the export of pomegranates and agricultural products to Saudi Arabia and monopolizing commercial businesses by companies affiliated with militia leaders.

Iran's arm is also holding hundreds of heavy and commercial transport trucks at the Nehm and Al-Jawf ports (two new ports), due to their drivers' refusal of a decision by the hypothetical tax authority under the Houthis, which requires an increase in customs and tax duties by 100%.

In addition, more than 300 trucks were detained at one of the collection points that it established south of Al-Salif Port in Al-Hudaydah Governorate.

Commercial sources confirmed that the militia refused to allow commercial trucks to pass, and imposed fines on their owners amounting to 11,500 riyals per ton, while the transportation rent amounts to only 3,000 riyals per ton under the pretext of what it called “al-mayazin” fees, which it introduced in several governorates to impose illegal taxes and royalties. .

Drivers complain that members of the Houthi militia deployed in the security points, ports, and newly created squares are blackmailing them unjustifiably, detaining them for long days and weeks, without any justification, and imposing large financial levies. They also carry out the inspection process illegally, which exposes the loaded goods to the risk of damage and theft.

Confiscation and ban from the profession

The militia used the authority of the judiciary under its administration in its fierce war against the private sector, targeting companies and commercial establishments and their owners, who have become under the hammer of the Houthi courts.

The "Bait Qaten" company, one of the commercial houses known in Sana'a, a court under the control of the Houthi militia issued a ruling banning five people from practicing the trade profession permanently, at a time when the group seized the "Bait Qaten" commercial family company.

The Houthi "Saba" version stated that the West Amanat Court approved the confiscation of machinery and equipment of the Qatin Trade and Industry Company in Amanat Al-Asimah and claimed to transfer them to the "Cancer Commission."

It added that the decision stipulated preventing “Fuad Taha Qaten, Taha Ahmed Qaten, Abdullah Ahmed Al-Saadi, Ali Ahmed Qaten, and Muhammad Taha Qaten” from practicing trade forever.

The decision also imprisoned the five for periods ranging from seven to two years, under the pretext of convicting them of producing and selling contaminated goods that did not meet specifications, she said.

Control the Chamber of Commerce

The Houthi militias continued their plan to target the private sector after storming the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Sanaa at the end of last May, and declared their control over the chamber and its documents and seals unlawfully, despite judicial rulings issued invalidating the Houthi movements. The militias appointed a new council and members for their administrations from their influential figures, headed by the leader Ali Al-Hadi, replacing the well-known businessman Hassan Al-Kabbous.

The D-Yement Organization for Rights and Development documented about 2,000 violations against the private sector in Sanaa since the terrorist militia invaded it in 2014, in light of the militia’s continuation of these violations and launching continuous campaigns against the commercial sector, calling on the owners of the companies, institutions, and looted funds to establish a human rights entity to prosecute the leaders. Houthi militia internally and internationally.

The organization warned of the danger of the Houthi systematic bulldozing of the private sector, including plundering, confiscation, judicial prosecutions, preventing merchants from practicing the profession, and extrajudicial killings.

Observers believe that Iran's arm aims to transform Sana'a into its own feudal fiefdom and follow it by empowering the commercial influence of new risers in the world of wealth and war, according to a plan of replacement and replacement in the private sector and long-established commercial houses for the benefit of its new merchants, in a future plan to ensure control and empowerment after the war.

The private sector is exposed to widespread harassment and several violations by the Houthi militia, which established an economic system parallel to homes and commercial families in Yemen under a parallel systematic plan that targeted banks, the banking sector and importers, criminalized imports through the port of Aden, prevented trucks and goods from entering the northern regions of Yemen, and obligated merchants to import Through the port of Hodeidah and by transport companies owned by Houthi leaders.