Biden Reestablishes Houthis As Terror Group After Attacks

President Biden is set to reclassify, after undoing former President Donald Trump’s initial classification, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization. This action is in response to a series of attacks on shipping vessels in the Red Sea.

Furthermore, senior administration officials have announced that the Houthis will be added to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) list. This inclusion will activate sanctions aimed at preventing future attacks on international trade in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

A senior administration official said, “These attacks are a clear example of terrorism and a violation of international law and a major threat to life, global commerce and they jeopardize the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

The decision comes in light of the fact that the Houthis have carried out numerous attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea. The group has stated that these attacks are a response to Israel’s military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. On Tuesday, Houthi fighters launched anti-ship ballistic missiles from Yemen into the Red Sea.

The official continued, “We’ve taken this action to pressure the Houthis to cease their terrorist activities, including missile and drone attacks against international shipping. The ultimate goal of sanctions is to convince the Houthis to de-escalate and bring about a positive change in behavior.”

The terrorist classification is scheduled to become effective in 30 days. Authorities stressed that humanitarian shipments of food, medicine and fuel to Yemeni ports will remain unaffected to ensure that essential aid reaches the Yemeni population amidst the ongoing civil conflict between the Houthis and the internationally recognized, Saudi-backed government of the country.

In February 2021, Secretary of State Antony Blinken removed the designation of the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization and as specially designated global terrorists. This action was part of the Biden administration’s efforts to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Yemen.

This action marked a reversal of the prior decision made by former President Trump, who had added the Houthis to the Foreign Terrorist Organizations list despite significant opposition from human rights and humanitarian aid organizations during the final days of his presidency.

The foreign terrorist designation prohibited Americans and individuals and entities under U.S. jurisdiction from offering material support to the Houthis. Concerns were raised by these groups that this designation could exacerbate the existing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The SDGT designation will result in the freezing of Houthi assets, but unlike the Foreign Terrorist Organizations designation, it will not enforce immigration restrictions on its members. Additionally, the SDGT sanctions will not affect individuals and entities that offer material support to the Houthis.

According to authorities, the SDGT designation is a component of a more comprehensive strategy aimed at deterring Houthi attacks, which includes military measures.