Biden Administration Relists Houthis As Terrorist Group

After two months of attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea, the Biden administration relisted the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity on Wednesday. The Houthis were initially placed on the list by former President Donald Trump and removed shortly after President Joe Biden took office.

“These attacks are a clear example of terrorism and a violation of international law and a major threat to life, global commerce, and they jeopardize the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” a senior administration official told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’ve taken this action to pressure the Houthis to cease their terrorist activities, including missile and drone attacks against international shipping. The ultimate goal of sanctions is to convince the Houthis to de-escalate and bring about a positive change in behavior,” the official continued.

Since November 19, just over a month after the start of the Israel-Hamas War, Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen began launching attacks on commercial shipping vessels in the Red Sea. The group claimed its assaults were meant as a protest of the war.

The SDGT designation, set to take effect in 30 days, is an important step in stopping other groups from funding the Houthis while also freezing the assets the group currently has.

One of the final actions taken by former President Donald Trump’s administration was to place the Houthis on both the SDGT list and the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list before Biden took office. In February 2021, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken removed the group from both lists.

Unlike the Trump administration, the Biden administration will not designate the group an FTO which means, “it will not impose immigration restrictions on members, according to the State Department. The SDGT sanctions also will not touch people and organizations who provide ‘material support’ to the Houthis.”

Last week, American and British troops conducted strikes against the Houthis in areas of Yemen that the group controls. The strikes did not, however, deter the group from attacking a U.S. cargo ship and striking it with a ballistic missile off the coast of Yemen this week.

“The United States will not hesitate to take further actions to protect our people and the free flow of international commerce,” said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

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