U.S Names Houthis As Terrorist Group


The U.S has labelled the Houthis as a “specially designated global terrorist.”

The US previously designated the Houthis as a “foreign terrorist organisation” under former President Donald Trump’s administration despite strong objections from human rights and humanitarian aid groups.

In February 2021 under current President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken delisted the Houthis as both a “foreign terrorist organisation” and as “specially designated global terrorists” as the Biden administration sought to make it easier to get humanitarian aid into Yemen.

A statement from the White House’s National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, asserted 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,” the statement read, adding, “They have endangered US. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized global trade, and threatened freedom of navigation.”

As such, “the 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.”

Nonetheless, he added, “If the Houthis cease their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the United States will immediately reevaluate this designation.”

The designation requires U.S financial institutions to freeze Houthi funds and its members will be banned from the country.

Sullivan also noted in the statement that the designation will take effect 30 days from now to allow the US to “ensure robust humanitarian carve outs are in place” so that its action target the Iran-backed militant group and not the people of Yemen.

“The people of Yemen should not pay the price for the actions of the Houthis,” he said.

He said the designation was “sending a clear message” that commercial shipments into Yemeni ports on which the Yemeni people rely for food, medicine and fuel should continue and are not covered by US sanctions.

“The United States will not hesitate to take further actions to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce,” the statement added.

WTO Chief Warns Instability On Red Sea Is A Concern For Global Trade
Earlier, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Chief, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that instability in the crucial waterway, where the Houthis have been targeting Israel-linked vessels, is a major source of concern for global trade.

As a result of the disruption, the WTO would have to revise down its forecast of 3.3 percent growth for the year.

The Red Sea turbulence could have a particularly harsh impact on Italian maritime traders, which rely on the waterway for some 40 percent of their business.

Giampaolo Botta, director general of Genoa’s shipping agents’ association, told Reuters news agency that logistics operators would likely have to “rethink supply cycles” as no solution appears to be on the horizon.

Also, Maersk, one of the world’s largest shipping firms, predicted that the disruptions in the strategic Red Sea would continue for “at least a few months”, as Yemen’s Houthi fighters keep waging attacks on passing vessels.

“For or us this will mean longer transit times and probably disruptions of the supply chain”, Maersk’s CEO, Vincent Clerk, stated.

Maersk is among more than a dozen large shipping firms that have re-routed their vessels away from the Red Sea in recent months, fearing attacks.

The Houthis have said they will keep targeting Israel-linked ships passing through the waters, in what they say is solidarity with Gaza, despite the presence of a US-led naval coalition meant to counter them.

Meanwhile, a government source disclosed to a news agency that India is trying to shield its exporters from the impact of the Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

Indian Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar held talks in Iran on Monday which, he said, had touched on the Red Sea situation.

“The defence ministry has improved surveillance [in the region] and the ministry of external affairs is diplomatically negotiating this very well,” said the source, who requested anonymity.


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