What to Know:
In response to continued attacks against commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea, the United States has re-designated the Houthis as a terrorism organization.
In a statement, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan announced that the United States announced the designation of the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, stating that “Over the past months, Yemen-based Houthi militants have engaged in unprecedented attacks against United States military forces and international maritime vessels operating in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.”
“These attacks fit the textbook definition of terrorism.”
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 – Jake Sullivan, U.S. National Security Advisorhttps://t.co/D5d8MylujK pic.twitter.com/pSFUzCR7qk
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) January 17, 2024
Sullivan stated that the attacks “have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized global trade, and threatened freedom of navigation,” adding that “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.”
“We are rolling out unprecedented carve outs and licenses to help prevent adverse impacts on the Yemeni people. The people of Yemen should not pay the price for the actions of the Houthis. 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 programs for food, medicine, and humanitarian assistance,” Sullivan concluded.
The Houthi movement was previously de-listed as a terrorist group by the Biden administration in February 2021, reversing a designation made by the outgoing Trump administration just a month prior.
At the time, US officials said that the terrorist designation impacted humanitarian aid deliveries to the region and prevented political negotiations regarding the ongoing civil war, citing concerns from international aid groups and the UN. However, the State Department said that it was still “clear-eyed about [the Houthis’] malign actions and aggression.”
Last month, the United States began a review on whether the Houthis in Yemen should be reclassified as a terrorist organization. Despite warnings and strikes by American forces, the Houthis have continued attacks, which they say will only stop when IDF operations in Gaza cease.
The Houthis said the designation will not impact their operations or “deter us from our support for Palestine.”