Black markets enriching Houthis

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The black markets that Houthis run in the capital Sana'a and other parts of north Yemen have turned the Shia Islamist warlords into rich businessmen, economists and observers are saying.

The rebels have been restricting the supply of various fuel products  from cooking gas to petrol to the black markets which they run from behind the scenes.

While Yemenis especially public servicemen in the Houthi-held territories are more than one year behind their pay and the residents of Sana'a city are restoring to timber and cardboard to cook their food, the rebels garner YR 120 billion a month from these black markets, economists say.

One economic source told al-Quds Al-Arabi daily that the de facto rulers of Sana'a use part of these illicit gains and the public revenues to cover the war expenses and save another part in their bank accounts.

The economic source said that while the YR 120 billion suffices to cover two months' salary for all Yemen's public servicemen the rebels are not even paying salaries to the employees in their held provinces.

Government officials say the Shia Islamist militants control 25% of the Yemeni land but 70% of Yemen's resources. Much of the revenues come from fuel black markets, the telecommunications sector, the revenuesof Red Sea port of Hodeidah in the west and illegal taxes and levies.

Some of the Houthi warlords have now significant investments including companies and real estate abroad, the economists say. They have inherited the former regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh in looting the Yemeni wealth.

 

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