US To Relist Yemen's Houthis As Designated Global Terrorists After Biden Removed Them In 2021

It's about time? Late in the day Tuesday the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Biden administration is belatedly moving to put Yemen's Houthi rebels back on the terrorist list.

Ironically it was Biden that removed the Houthis in the first place, as WSJ highlights: "The designation as a foreign terrorist organization, which the U.S. plans to formally announce on Wednesday, reverses a decision taken early in President Biden’s term to remove the Houthis from the list over concerns it hurt the prospects for peace talks and further crippled the economy of an impoverished nation at risk of famine."

The Houthis were removed from the list in 2021 after they were first designated previously under the Trump administration, also given they have long been armed and backed financially by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Anadolu via Getty Images

Since last week, the US and UK-led coalition which also includes Australia, Bahrain, Canada and the Netherlands have conducted several rounds of airstrikes and missile attacks against Houthi positions in Yemen.

The repeat Houthi attacks, which are now almost daily, have threatened to completely shut out commercial vessels from the vital Red Sea transitway

The Houthis have claimed this is all part of the war against Palestinians, and their military operations are meant as retaliation against Israel and its most powerful backer the US. 

"The international coalition that America announced under the pretext of protecting maritime navigation in the Red Sea is an alliance to protect the Israeli entity and to protect Israeli ships. It is an integral part of the aggression against the Palestinian people, Gaza, and the Arab and Islamic nations," the group previously said in a statement.

The Saudi-UAE-US coalition has waged a brutal air war against Yemen and the rebel Houthis going back to 2015, unleashing a dire humanitarian crisis. It was during that time, especially when Washington was more deeply involved in helping Saudi pilots with targeting information, that the Houthis were first placed on the US terror list.

In light of everything that has happened over the past couple months regarding Houthi attacks on civilian vessels, it's interesting to revisit Secretary of State Antony Blinken's words in February of 2021:

Effective February 16, I am revoking the designations of Ansarallah, sometimes referred to as the Houthis, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended.

This decision is a recognition of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen. We have listened to warnings from the United Nations, humanitarian groups, and bipartisan members of Congress, among others, that the designations could have a devastating impact on Yemenis’ access to basic commodities like food and fuel.

If the fresh WSJ reporting is confirmed, this will mark a somewhat unprecedented reversal which will see the same group go from a terror listing to being de-listed to being listed againall within a matter of a few years.

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