The Risks of the U.S. Dash to Declare Houthis Terrorists in Yemen

MIN READJan 20, 2021 | 23:12 GMT

Houthi supporters hold up firearms as they protest the U.S. decision to designate the Houthi movement as a terrorist organization outside the closed American embassy on Jan. 18, 2021, in Sana'a, Yemen.

(Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images)

The former administration of U.S. President Donald Trump’s last-minute move to designate Houthi rebels as terrorists will leave its successor to manage the fallout in Yemen, which will likely include a more severe humanitarian crisis, more complicated intra-Yemeni political negotiations, and ultimately, a more entrenched civil conflict. On  Jan. 19, U.S. State Department designated the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen as a foreign terrorist organization and three of its leaders as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists.” The designations will trigger new financial sanctions that are intended to hold the Houthi movement “accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure and commercial shipping.” The State Department made clear in a Jan. 10 statement that the terrorism designation was also aimed at freeing Yemen from “Iranian interference” as part of the then-Trump administration’s firm anti-Iran strategy. ...

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