Biden Admin To Remove ‘Terrorist’ Designation For Iran-Backed Militia Group In Yemen

The administration of Democratic President Joe Biden has moved to drop the “terrorist” designation for the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen — reversing another policy of the former Trump administration — despite the organization’s record of treating the US an enemy, getting Iranian funding and attacking civilians.

“After a comprehensive review, we can confirm that [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] intends to revoke the Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist designations of Ansarullah,” the State Department saidFriday.

“We have formally notified Congress of the Secretary’s intent to revoke these designations and will share more details in the coming days,” the statement added, citing “humanitarian consequences.”

The State Department noted that the move is “due entirely to the humanitarian consequences” calling it a “last-minute designation”  which had “accelerated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

“This decision has nothing to do with our view of the Houthis and their reprehensible conduct, including attacks against civilians and the kidnapping of American citizens,” a department spokesperson said.

The announcement came as National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan also said the US will be ending its support for Saudi’s fight in Yemen on behalf of the country’s legitimate government.

The US has been backing Saudi in the Yemen conflict and the former administration imposed sanctions on the Iranian-backed Houthis and designated them a “foreign terrorist organization” in a move to isolate Iran from the conflict and support Saudi, an ally of the US.

In January, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the designation was “simply [to] recognized reality.”

“The Houthi forces are terrorists, underwritten by the theocracy, the kleptocracy that runs the Islamic Republic of Iran. That regime is funding a missile program, funding capabilities inside of Yemen that put Europe at risk, and put the Middle East at risk,” Pompeo said then.

Critics slammed Biden’s move to drop the terrorist designation for the Houthi rebels describing the militia as a “jihadist organization whose slogan is ‘God Is Great, Death to America, Death to Israel, a Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.’” The group launched the war in 2014 and the conflict has led to the death of at least 112,000 people and food insecurity to 13.5 million more.

Biden admin appeasing Iran

Republican Senator Tom Cotton called out the Biden administration’s move to drop the Houti’s terrorist designation and said the move is meant to “appease” Iran as the UN recently reported there was “growing” evidence  that Iran is sending weapons to the Houthis.

In a series of tweets, the Arkansas senator said the US government should not give relief to terrorists.

“The Houthis are armed & trained by Iran’s overseas terror corps, the IRGC & Hezbollah.They fire missiles at civilians and American sailors while chanting ‘Death to America.’ And they’ve plunged Yemen into a protracted war that has immiserated the Yemeni people. If that’s not terrorism, I don’t know what is,” he said in a statement.

“President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken may foolishly believe that a gesture of goodwill toward the Houthis will lead to peace, but the rebels have ignored the peace process for years while refusing to honor ceasefires. The Biden administration is repeating the deadly errors of the Obama administration by appeasing Iran and refusing to call terrorists by their name.”

“The Houthi’s slogan is ‘Allah is greater, Death to America, Death to Israel, Curse on the Jews, Victory to Islam.’ The Biden administration just said they’re not terrorists.”

“Houthis have used Iran’s missiles not just to disrupt international commerce, but also to attack food shipments to Yemenis.”

“The administration should be seeking justice for Americans, not sanctions relief for terrorists,” Cotton added.

The former Obama administration has also backed the Saudis in the war — but Democrats began criticizing America’s support once former President Trump pursued the effort and started improving relations with Saudi.

Steeve Strange

Steeve is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Scoop.

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