The National quotes Rafik Hariri Center Deputy Director Danya Greenfield on an upcoming US request for sanctions against the former president of Yemen and two Houthi rebel leaders:

“Saleh’s supporters would question why he should be singled out and not others like Ali Mohsen and Hamid Al Ahmar who also could be accused of being spoilers,” said Danya Greenfield, deputy director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, referring to Mr Saleh’s political opponents. “The risk is high because Saleh still has a lot of genuine support among Yemenis and within the GPC in particular.”

The likely intent of the sanctions is to try to force Mr Saleh to leave Yemen, which, if successful, would have “a powerful psychological impact” that would bolster the prospects of forming a new government, Ms Greenfield said.

However, the sanctions appear to be too little and at too late a stage in Mr Saleh’s reassertion of power and the Houthis’ rise to have much effect, analysts said.

“As the prospect of sanctions has been dangled in front of Saleh and others multiple times, but then not wielded, the value has been degraded,” Ms Greenfield said.

Any assets that Mr Saleh has that could be frozen would likely have been hidden, she said.

“And for the Houthi movement, an asset freeze and travel ban is hardly something that would deter further aggression.”

Left with few available tools to exert influence, the US pursuit of sanctions is a “long shot”, Ms Greenfield said.

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