Fuel from Iran is financing Yemen rebels' war, U.N. experts say

The Japan Times 

UNITED NATIONS - Fuel is being shipped illegally from Iran to Houthi Shiite rebels in Yemen to finance their war against the government, and both sides are violating international law with their military campaigns and arbitrary detention of rivals, U.N. experts said in a new report. The experts painted a grim picture of a "deeply fractured" country sliding toward "humanitarian and economic catastrophe" with no sign of victory by either side in a conflict that many view as a proxy war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran. In the 85-page report to the Security Council seen Friday by The Associated Press, the experts said the government and its coalition partners led by Saudi Arabia made "significant progress" on the ground against the Houthis in 2018 -- but their aim of restoring the government's authority throughout the country "is far from being realized." At the same time, the panel of experts monitoring U.N. sanctions against Yemen said "the Houthi leadership has continued to consolidate its hold over government and non-government institutions." In the report's only upbeat note, the experts said talks in Sweden between the government and the Houthis that led to an agreement in December on a cease-fire and withdrawal of rival forces from the key port of Hodeida "have raised hopes that a political process may quell the primary conflict in Yemen."