Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Mansur al-Sa'adi: Mastermind of Houthi naval attacks

Monday 10/January/2022 - 03:35 PM
The Reference
Ahmed Adel

The official spokesman for the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen, Brigadier General Turki al-Maliki, stressed on Saturday, January 8, the importance of the Bab al-Mandab Strait for trade and the global economy, indicating that the Houthi militia's targeting of the Rawabi ship is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and laws related to sea.

Maliki mentioned the names of the participants in the piracy operation of the commercial cargo ship: Mansur al-Sa'adi, Ahmed Ahmed Halas, Munther Ahmed Yahya Hassan, Shakib Khaled Ahmed Alawi, Ali Abdullah Yahya Doom, Naji Salem Ahmed Batili, Salem Ahmed Abdullah Shariji, Thabet Ali Ahmad Mosali, Sinan Muhammad Ahmad Halas, and Bajash Salem Yahya Laban, all of whom hold Yemeni citizenship.


Who is Mansur al-Sa'adi?

Mansour Ahmed al-Sa'adi, who is given the rank of brigadier general by the Houthi militia and takes his nom de guerre from Abu Sajjad from the militia stronghold of Maran in Saada Governorate in far northern Yemen, is one of the extremist military leaders.

Sa’adi is considered one of the few Houthi leaders whom the Iranian Revolutionary Guards trained in their camps in Tehran at an early stage, and he also received military courses at the hands of Hezbollah terrorist militia officers in the Lebanese Bekaa before returning to Yemen as an arm of Iran to spread terrorism in the Red Sea.

In May 2021, the US administration imposed sanctions on Sa’adi, as he is responsible for the Houthi naval militias and mastermind the naval attacks, but these sanctions did not directly affect his terrorist role.

He became notorious after working with the Houthi leader Nayef Abu Kharfashah, who is related to the militia leader, during the invasion of Hodeidah Governorate days after the fall of Sanaa in late 2014.

Sa’adi dismantled the Yemeni navy and coastal defense forces, especially in Hodeidah Governorate in the west of the country.

He led campaigns of kidnappings, repression and brutal abuse against Yemeni navy officers and Naval College students until he tightened his grip on all the joints of this force, in which he holds the position of staff of the militia's naval forces.

Sa’adi is the number one militia leader in the Naval and Coastal Defense Forces, which he built under the direct supervision and training of experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and the terrorist Hezbollah on the ruins of the former Yemeni forces.

He opened several training camps for his militia, including in buildings on the coasts of Al-Salif and Al-Kuthaib, and looted all the weapons of the navy and coastal defense.

Sa’adi also randomly planted primitive naval mines and Iranian-made shells in the territorial waters and in vital ports, and then ordered, under direct Iranian direction, dozens of attacks against cargo ships.

He is also a member of the Houthi militia team in the Redeployment Committee in Hodeidah, chaired by the United Nations under the Stockholm Agreement, while the militias’ violations of this agreement have exceeded 30,000 violations. The Houthis took advantage of the Stockholm Agreement to officially legitimize their stay in Yemen's western gateway.

The Houthis thwarted any application on the ground of this agreement, including a blatant performance run by Sa’adi and another named al-Moayad through a fictitious withdrawal in May 2019 in front of the eyes of the United Nations from the three ports of Hodeidah while the armed elements wore the uniform of the Coast Guard and claimed to be a security force.

Sa’adi took advantage of the Stockholm Agreement to build naval militias and transform small boats and ships provided by Arab and international countries as aid to secure the port of Hodeidah into armed roving patrols in the Red Sea.

These naval militias, led by Sa’adi, practice piracy, plant sea mines, and launch remote-controlled boats that are rigged with explosives in the manufacturing workshops of Iranian and Lebanese experts who use civilian farms on the northern side of Hodeidah as dens for their terrorist activities.

Sa’adi oversaw the smuggling of Iranian weapons and drones through the ports of Hodeidah, Al-Salif and Al-Luhayyah using fishermen's boats carrying weapons shipments from the depth of the sea from Iranian ships, the most famous of which are Saviz and Bahshad.

He plays these roles alongside senior Houthi military leaders, most notably Major General Yusuf al-Madani, who is the mastermind, as well as Major General Ali al-Mushki, head of the militia delegation in the UN-led Redeployment Committee in Hodeidah.

Sa’adi is being tried by the Yemeni judiciary on charges of overthrowing legitimacy and establishing an armed terrorist entity with the support of Iran and the terrorist Hezbollah. Among the long list, his name comes No. 98 on the wanted list for impersonating the staff of the navy.