WASHINGTON (CN) – President Barack Obama ordered the Secretary of the Treasury to block all property under U.S. jurisdiction belonging to people that the Secretary of State determines threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen.
The executive order Obama issued specifically mentions military or political leaders who might try to block the implementation of an agreement that transferred power from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to a caretaker government pending agreement on a new constitution and parliamentary elections.
As the Arab Spring swept across North Africa, opponents of the notoriously corrupt Saleh government took to the streets, culminating in a backlash by security forces on March 18, 2011 that left at least 52 protestors dead. The massacre led to mass defections from the army and resignations from Saleh’s government.
In the aftermath, Saleh agreed to transfer power to his vice-president who was elected president earlier this year.
In a press briefing, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said repeatedly that no determinations had been made as to who might be trying to upset the agreement and that the president’s executive order was “a new tool that we can use if we consider that obstruction of the overall deal is going forward.”
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