A Serious U.S. Measure: Yemen's Houthis Redesignated as a "Terrorist Group"

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-01-17 09:17 PM


The United States government has designated Yemen's Ansar Allah (Houthi) group as a "terrorist" organization, and this decision will take effect within 30 days.

Washington has taken multiple measures since the Houthi group began attacking Israeli-linked ships in the Red Sea in November, causing serious challenges for global shipping companies. Redesignating the Houthi group as a terror organization is the latest U.S. procedure in a bid to force the group to stop attacking warships and commercial vessels in the Red Sea.

The White House said in a statement, "Today, 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. This designation is an important tool to impede terrorist funding to the Houthis, further restrict their access to financial markets, and hold them accountable for their actions."

The statement indicated that the Houthi attacks have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and U.S. partners, jeopardized global trade, and threatened freedom of navigation.

Since November 19, the Houthi group has launched nearly 30 attacks on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, saying that their operations are in support of the Palestinians in Gaza, which Israel has bombed since October last year.

The U.S. has taken so far three types of measures to punish the Houthi group for attacking shipping lanes in the Red Sea. It imposed sanctions on a group of money exchange services from Yemen and Turkey that provided financial support to the Houthis.

On Friday, the U.S. and U.K. began launching strikes on Houthi military sites in North Yemen. Today, Washington has redesignated the Houthis as a terrorist group. The procedures are part of Washington's strategy to put pressure on the Houthis to cease their assaults.

In 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden's administration overthrew Donald Trump's designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group with the aim of pushing for a peaceful solution to the conflict in Yemen. So far, diplomacy has failed to bring lasting peace in Yemen.

 Now, the Houthis have a 30-day deadline to change their behavior before they are called again a terrorist group. The White House's statement said. "If the Houthis cease their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the United States will immediately reevaluate this designation."

However, the Houthis are still defiant, saying that their attacks are intended to support the Palestinian people against the Israeli aggression in Gaza.

Mohammed Abdulsalam, the spokesperson of the Houthi group, downplayed the impact of the U.S. resolution to designate his group as a terrorist movement.

He said Washington's decision would not affect the Houthi group on the ground, asserting that this American move would not stop them from continuing their operations.

He added, "We will not back down from our position in support of the Palestinian people. The recent American decision will only make us more committed to supporting the Palestinians."

The Yemeni government welcomed the U.S. designation of the  Houthi group as a terror organization. The government said in a statement that the decision is consistent with the Yemeni government's classification of the Houthis as a "terrorist organization".

According to Yemen's government statement,  peace will be established in Yemen when the Houthi group abandons "its terrorist approach and its dependence on the Iranian regime and renounces violence." The U.S. decision will complicate peace efforts in Yemen and render a peace agreement with the Houthis unattainable.