The Biden administration plans to put the Houthi rebel group in Yemen back on its list of foreign terrorists organizations, a source told DailyMail.com.
The move comes after the US carried out four fresh strikes on Yemen on Tuesday targeting anti-ship ballistic missiles used by the Houthi rebels in the Red Sea.
The group says it has attacked the ships in response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza in the aftermath of Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.
The administration is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken delisted the Houthis as both foreign terrorist organizations and as specially designated global terrorists in February 2021 as the administration sought to make it easier to get humanitarian aid into Yemen.
The Biden administration plans to put the Houthi rebel group in Yemen back on its list of foreign terrorists organizations, a source told DailyMail.com
In its waning days, the Trump administration designated the Houthis a Foreign Terrorist Organization over the strong objections of human rights and humanitarian aid groups.
The foreign terrorist designation barred Americans and people and organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing ‘material support’ to the Houthis, which the groups said would result in an even greater humanitarian catastrophe than what was already happening in Yemen.
Shortly after the Biden administration took office, Blinken removed the designations in a step that was roundly criticized by conservative lawmakers and others but was intended to keep much-needed food, medicine and other aid flowing to Yemen.
The specially designated global terrorists label to be reimposed on the Houthis does not include sanctions for providing ‘material support’ and it does not come with travel bans that are also imposed with the FTO label.
Thus, it may not pose a substantial impediment to providing aid to Yemeni civilians.
The redesignation is not not wholly unexpected. Asked during an exchange with reporters last week if he thought the Houthis are a terrorist group, President Joe Biden responded, ‘I think they are.’
The US military’s latest move against the Iran-aligned group is over its targeting of Red Sea shipping after it declared war on the US over its support of Israel in the war against Hamas.
The strikes came a day after the Yemeni rebels attacked a US cargo ship on Monday.
The administration is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday
Secretary of State Antony Blinken delisted the Houthis as both foreign terrorist organizations and as specially designated global terrorists in February 2021 as the administration sought to make it easier to get humanitarian aid into Yemen
The foreign terrorist designation barred Americans and people and organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing ‘material support’ to the Houthis, which the groups said would result in an even greater humanitarian catastrophe than what was already happening in Yemen
US Central command said Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired the anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and struck the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S.-owned and operated container ship.
Shell announced on Tuesday it would be suspending all its Red Sea shipments following the attack.
A tanker chartered by Shell carrying Indian jet fuel was last month targeted by the jihadists. The vessel was attacked by a drone and harassed by rebel boats.
Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping have continued even after the US and Britain last week launched an initial wave of strikes to degrade Houthi capabilities.
But unlike the initial US strikes last week, which were against pre-planned targets, Tuesday’s strikes appeared to show that the US military would proactively go after Houthi military capabilities as they are detected. If confirmed, that would usher in a far more assertive posture for the U.S. military toward the Houthis.
Central Command on Monday disclosed the first seizure in more than four years of advanced Iranian-manufactured ballistic missile and cruise missile components, in a January 11 operation that saw two Navy SEALs lost at sea near the coast of Somali.
‘Initial analysis indicates these same weapons have been employed by the Houthis to threaten and attack innocent mariners on international merchant ships transiting in the Red Sea,’ Central Command said in a statement.
On Sunday Yemen’s Houthi rebels launched an attack against an American destroyer in the Red Sea
The Houthis, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, have claimed their attacks on commercial ships are aimed at supporting the Palestinians in Israel’s war in Gaza. Their attacks have disrupted global shipping and stoked fears of global inflation. They have also deepened concern that fallout from the Israel-Hamas war could destabilize the Middle East.
The Houthi movement has vowed to keep up attacks despite the strikes last week against radar and missile capabilities. Some experts believe they welcome a conflict with the United States and its allies.
On Sunday, Houthi fire went in the direction of the USS Laboon, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer operating in the southern reaches of the Red Sea, the US military’s Central Command said in a statement.
The missile came from near Hodeida, a Red Sea port city long held by the Houthis, the US said.
The Houthis have been attacking commercial ship sin the Red Sea which they claim are headed to Israel as they aim to support Palestinians in the war between Israel and Hamas.
A US fighter jet blasted the Houthi cruise missile out of the sky over the Red Sea on Sunday before it was able to hit its target, the USS Laboon.
Rebels were seen posing with machine guns and rocket launchers in photos released Sunday. Fighters were also photographed earlier in the weekend conducting drills and recording themselves in terrain made to resemble Jewish settlements.
The United States military and its allies began airstrikes on Friday on the rebels following weeks of assaults on shipping in the Red Sea.
The Houthi fire on Sunday went in the direction of the USS Laboon, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the southern reaches of the Red Sea, Central Command said.
The missile came from near Hodeida, a Red Sea port city long held by the Houthis. ‘An anti-ship cruise missile was fired from Iranian-backed Houthi militant areas of Yemen toward USS Laboon,’ Central Command said.
‘There were no injuries or damage reported.’ The first day of US-led strikes on Friday hit 28 locations and struck more than 60 targets with cruise missiles and bombs.
Sites hit included weapon depots, radars and command centers, including in remote mountain areas.
The Houthis have yet to acknowledge how severe the infrastructure damage was from the strikes, which they said killed five of their troops and wounded six others.
But two officials told the New York Times on Sunday they still have about 75 percent of their ability to fire missiles and drones at ships transiting the Red Sea.
This is despite the US and its allies claiming to have damaged or destroyed about 90 percent of the targets struck.