US President Joe Biden’s plans to re-designate Houthis as terrorists over the bombing of an American cargo ship three years after the administration removed them from the terror list
The Biden administration is reportedly planning to put the Houthi rebel group in Yemen back on its list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The move comes after the US carried out four fresh strikes on Yemen on Tuesday targeting anti-ship ballistic missiles used by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.
The group says it has attacked the ships in response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza in the aftermath of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.
The administration is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken delisted the Houthis as both foreign terrorist organizations and as specially designated global terrorists in February 2021 as the administration sought to make it easier to get humanitarian aid into Yemen.
In its waning days, the Trump administration designated the Houthis a Foreign Terrorist Organization over the strong objections of human rights and humanitarian aid groups.
The foreign terrorist designation barred Americans and people and organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing ‘material support’ to the Houthis, which the groups said would result in an even greater humanitarian catastrophe than what was already happening in Yemen.
Shortly after the Biden administration took office, Blinken removed the designations in a step that was roundly criticized by conservative lawmakers and others but was intended to keep much-needed food, medicine, and other aid flowing to Yemen.
The specially designated global terrorists label to be reimposed on the Houthis does not include sanctions for providing ‘material support’ and it does not come with travel bans that are also imposed with the FTO label.
Asked during an exchange with reporters last week if he thought the Houthis are a terrorist group, President Joe Biden responded, ‘I think they are.’
The US military’s latest move against the Iran-aligned group is over its targeting of Red Sea shipping after it declared war on the US over its support of Israel in the war against Hamas.
The strikes came a day after the Yemeni rebels attacked a US cargo ship on Monday.
US Central Command said Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired the anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and struck the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned and operated container ship.