The United States needs to rethink its decision to remove the Iran-backed Al Houthi militias from the list of terror group, a designation rightly slapped by the previous US administration. The Biden administration is not doing Yemen any favours by appeasing the group and its masters in Tehran.
It is understandable that the new administration is trying to undo many of the policies taken by President Donald Trump, especially those that conflict with the declared agenda of President Joe Biden. But the US policy in Yemen shouldn’t be one of them.
Facing criticism for its hasty decision, the US said it will keep the pressure on the group. “The Houthis are malign actors,” State Department Spokesman Ned Price told reporters, noting that their actions was “reprehensible.” He was referring to the terror group’s repeated rocket attacks against civilian areas in Saudi Arabia. Price said the US was also committed to helping Riyadh defend its territory.
It will also send the wrong signal to Iran to continue its belligerent policies in the region. For the sake of the Yemeni people and peace in the region, the US should rethink its decision
All key players in the Yemen conflict, mainly the Saudi-led Arab coalition and Yemen’s internationally recognised government, are keen to end the war. Riyadh has been calling for a negotiated political settlement that would restore security and stability.
The only player that continues to sabotage all political efforts, spearheaded by the United Nations’ special envoy Martin Griffith, is Al Houthi militia, most probably under orders from its Iranian backers.
The experience of the past five years proves that Al Houthis are not interested in peace and cannot be trusted to keep a promise. Two years ago, an agreement was reached in Stockholm under the auspices of the UN to place the Hodeida port under international supervision in order to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. At the time, the Arab coalition was close to liberate the city and its port.
However, its military operation were halted to allow the UN to ensure the exit of Al Houthis fighters as per the agreement signed by the group which also included the exchange of prisoners and lifting the siege of the Taiz city.
Two years later, Al Houthis are yet to abide by the agreement. On the contrary, they have tightened their grip on the port, which they use to import arms and drones from Iran while denying the arrival of crucial humanitarian aid.
The US decision to evoke Al Houthi’s designation as a terror group will only empower the militia to intensify its aggression on the Yemeni people and escalate its terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia.
It will also send the wrong signal to Iran to continue its belligerent policies in the region. For the sake of the Yemeni people and peace in the region, the US should rethink its decision.