Armed Houthi fighters in Sanaa, November 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Houthis re-designated on US global terrorist list


Wed, 17-01-2024 07:45 PM, Aden

Aden (South24)

The United States (US) announced today that it has re-designated the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization in response to the attacks by the Iranian-backed Yemeni militia on commercial ships and US forces in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

The White House issued an official press statement saying: “Over the past months, Yemen-based Houthi militants have engaged in unprecedented attacks against United States military forces and international maritime vessels operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. These attacks fit the textbook definition of terrorism".

"In response to these continuing threats and attacks, the United States announced the designation of Ansarallah, also known as the Houthis, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist," the statement added.

The White House said that the measure will go into effect after 30 days, "to allow us to ensure robust humanitarian carve-outs are in place so our action targets the Houthis and not the people of Yemen." The statement assured that these measures, aimed at obstructing the financing of the Houthis and holding them accountable, will not cover shipments of food, medicine, and fuel to Yemeni ports.

The statement said: "If the Houthis cease their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the United States will immediately reevaluate this designation."

The internationally recognized government of Yemen issued a statement declaring that it welcomes the US decision, according to Yemeni news agency Saba.

The statement, as reported by the state-run news agency, said: “We welcome the US decision, which is consistent with our designation of the Houthi group as a terrorist organization. Peace requires that the Houthi militias abandon their terrorist approach and dependence on the Iranian regime.”

Yemeni Foreign Minister Ahmed bin Mubarak described the decision as a "major setback for the Houthis" in a television statement to Al-Arabiya TV.

In response to the US move, Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam told Al Jazeera TV: “Washington’s decision regarding our designation has no effectiveness on the ground, and we will not back down from our position in support of the Palestinian people. There are no Iranian supply lines to Yemen and what is being said about that is not true.”

This is not the first time the US has made such a designation concerning the Houthis. On February 16, 2021, the newly-appointed Biden administration removed the Houthi group from the USA’s list of global terrorist organizations after the previous Trump administration designated it a “foreign terrorist organization” on January 10 of the same year.

On December 12, US diplomats told British newspaper The Guardian that the classification of the Houthis as a terrorist organization by the US would make it impossible to open ports or airports in areas under their control. 

The diplomats pointed out that a designation would stall the beginning of the negotiated three-phase peace plan, and block salaries due to be paid into banks of civil servants as part of the first phase, which was a key Houthi demand agreed upon with Saudi Arabia and officially announced by UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg on December 23.

On January 12, the President of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) member, Aidrous Al-Zubaidi, described the US-UK strikes against the Houthis as insufficient. During an interview with The Guardian, he called for arming and supporting the internationally recognized government to confront the Houthis on the ground.

South24 Center

YemenRed SeaUSSanctionsHouthis