Biden’s administration has been criticized for refusing to designate Houthi rebels as terrorist organizations in Yemen. The increased aggression by the Iran-backed group against commercial ships in the Red Sea is a result of this.
Under the Trump administration, the Houthis were designated as a terrorist group. After President Joe Biden’s election, he removed this designation. He is now under pressure to apply the label again.
Vice Admiral Brad Cooper the leader of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, which is responsible for responding to Houthi strikes on American assets in the Middle East, informed lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that it was harder to combat this terror group backed by Iran since the Biden Administration removed its designation as an international terrorist organization. This problem was made clear by a congressional delegation’s trip to the Middle East.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that Sen. Joni Ernest (R., Iowa), the leader of the bipartisan congressional delegation in the region, had asked about the Houthi attack and its designation. “When I talked to the NAVCENT command, he indicated that it would be beneficial to have them on the list of foreign terrorist organizations. “I think there has been some disagreement about that.”
The United States is working with its allies to stop a recent wave of Houthi attacks that has threatened military personnel in the region and commercial vessels. The biggest attack to date occurred on Wednesday when American and British troops shot down 21 missiles and drones fired by an Iran-armed group. Ernst says the Biden administration’s hesitation to designate the Houthis a terror organization indicates that the United States wants to avoid provoking Tehran, as its terror proxy groups, including Hamas wage war against Israel and cause chaos in the region.
The senator stated, “That’s my take on why the administration is avoiding this issue.” “I believe that the Houthis, or the Iranian leadership are taking advantage of the weakness coming from America.”
The White House removed terrorist designations to allow humanitarian aid into Yemen. In November, however, it was reported that the administration was considering reapplying this label.
John Kirby, the spokesperson for the National Security Council, told reporters at a recent news conference that the White House was “reviewing” the terrorist designation. He said that the goal is not to “contain” the Houthis but to stop attacks on commercial ships in the region.
We’re still reviewing that designation, as I’ve said. So…I won’t get ahead of it. The goal is not to contain the Houthis. We don’t like these attacks against commercial shipping and will do everything we can to defend and counter them.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby answers question about designating Houthi rebels as a terrorist group amid attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.
“We’ve got a review of that designation that we’re still conducting, so…I’m not going to get ahead of that.” pic.twitter.com/tTxPSSH7Cz
— Jeff Charles, An Awful Pundit🏴 (@jeffcharlesjr) January 11, 2024
Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, Houthis have increased their hostilities, particularly against Israeli-linked commercial tankers. The group has, however, clashed on numerous occasions with U.S. troops.