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US redesignates Houthis as terrorist organisation

The Houthis were first designated by Donald Trump towards the end of his term, but Joe Biden reversed it in 2021 when he took office over humanitarian concerns

The US has redesignated Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist organisation following months of Red Sea attacks by the militants

THE US has redesignated Yemen’s Houthis as a global terrorist organisation as the White House seeks to increase pressure on the Iran-backed militants, who have launched dozens of attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

The move follows US air strikes against Houthi targets, including one yesterday, which have not stopped the drones and missiles.

“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,” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“If the Houthis cease their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the United States will immediately re-evaluate this designation.”

The designation will take effect in 30 days’ time so appropriate humanitarian carve-outs can be put in place, Sullivan said.

“We are sending a clear message: commercial shipments into Yemeni ports on which the Yemeni people rely for food, medicine and fuel should continue and are not covered by our sanctions. This is in addition to the carveouts we include in all sanctions programmes for food, medicine, and humanitarian assistance.”

The US Office of Foreign Assets Control has already issued several general licences, including authorisations for certain transactions involving the Houthis related to ports and petroleum products. The licences go into effect on February 16.

“The Houthis must be held accountable for their actions, but it should not be at the expense of Yemeni civilians,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said.  

The militants were first designated in the final weeks of the Trump administration, but President Joe Biden reversed the decision when he took office in 2021 after warnings from aid groups and the UN that the designation would hamper humanitarian relief efforts in the war-torn country.


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