On Monday, the US Treasury blacklisted Saleh, Abd al-Khaliq al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim “for engaging in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen.”
The Treasury said the three men “have, using violence and other means, undermined the political process in Yemen and obstructed the implementation of its political transition, outlined by the agreement of November 23, 2011… which provides for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen.”
The US sanctions were slapped days after the UN Security Council imposed its own sanctions against the three.
The move led to the sacking of President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi from Saleh’s General People’s Congress party after he was accused of soliciting UN sanctions.
The party and the Houthis also rejected the newly formed government, urging a reshuffle of the lineup.
On November 5, Saleh’s political party said that Matthew H. Tueller, the US ambassador to Yemen, told its officials that the former ruler had to leave Yemen before 5:00 p.m. November 7, otherwise “sanctions will be imposed against him”.
“This is a blatant intervention in Yemen’s internal affairs,” the party said. “It’s rejected and unacceptable.”
Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, also angrily dismissed the alleged US demand. “The man has not been created or given birth by his mother yet to tell Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave his country,” Saleh wrote on his Facebook page.
He was a close ally of the United States for decades and enjoyed Washington’s support in his crackdown on dissent in 2011.
Saleh stepped down in February 2012 under a US-backed power transfer deal in return for immunity, after a year of mass street demonstrations demanding his ouster.
His vice president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, replaced him on February 25, 2012 following a single-candidate presidential election backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia.