The aim is to stymie Iranian regime activity in Yemen, while supporting Saudi Arabia. “The action would establish steep legal hurdles for anyone seeking to conduct business with the Houthis.”
Iran has been fighting a proxy war against Saudi Arabia using the Houthis in Yemen. This conflict is the latest manifestation of the ancient Shia-Sunni divide. Several weeks ago, a large explosion struck the international airport in Yemen soon after a plane carrying the newly formed (Saudi backed) coalition cabinet landed there. At least 22 people were killed and 50 wounded in the blast; Houthis were blamed. No one in the coalition was harmed. The Saudi-supported coalition “later shot down a bomb-laden drone that attempted to target the palace.”
“Trump Administration Moves To Brand Houthis In Yemen A Terrorist Group”, By Bill Chappell & Colin Dwyer, KCPW, January 11, 2021:
The Trump administration says it will designate Yemen’s Houthi movement a terrorist organization, in a move that has elicited consternation from international aid organizations and authorities.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the U.S. wants to “deter further malign activity by the Iranian regime” that backs the Houthis.
The designation is set to take effect on Jan. 19 — the day before Trump leaves office and President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.
“If Ansarallah did not behave like a terrorist organization, we would not designate it” as one,” Pompeo said in a statement about the plan. The U.S. accuses the Houthis of carrying out a deadly campaign that has destabilized both Yemen and the Middle East.
The terrorist label would apply to the Houthis, whose formal name is Ansarallah, and to three of the movement’s leaders: Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim.
The action would establish steep legal hurdles for anyone seeking to conduct business with the Houthis. It would also bar members of the movement from entering the U.S. and render it unlawful for U.S. nationals to provide them with “material support or resources.”…