SMA NEWS – WASHINGTON
The Biden administration has moved to put the Iran-backed Houthi group back on the list of “global terrorists.” The Houthi have launched dozens of attacks on vessels in the Red Sea.
The US has redesignated the Houthi militant group as a global terrorist organization. The designation will lead to stringent financial sanctions on the Iran-backed group.
The move comes after escalating tensions in the Red Sea that have seen the Houthis launch dozens of attacks on commercial vessels in the vital shipping area.
US and UK warplanes, ships and submarines last week launched dozens of airstrikes against the Houthis.
US officials said the move was aimed at cutting off their funding and weapons.
“The United States will designate… the Houthis as a specially designated global terrorist,” a senior US administration official told journalists, noting that the designation does not take effect for 30 days and that it could also be lifted “if the Houthis cease their attacks.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had delisted the group as both foreign terrorist organization and global terrorists in February 2021.
Ian Ralby, a non-resident Senior fellow at the Centre for Maritime Strategy, told DW that it “doesn’t take a whole lot to disrupt shipping” and the Houthis “have the capacity to be a thorn in the side of shipping indefinitely because a low-tech version of this could be a very disruptive approach.”
He added that the internationally-recognized government of Yemen needed more support in dealing with the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
“Part of that requires labeling the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization and supporting the government of Yemen in re-engaging and taking back some of the areas that are being controlled by the Houthis and allowing them to launch these attacks.”