Monday, March 4, 2024

Biden administration reevaluating designating Yemen’s Houthis as terrorist entity

US President Joe Biden has stated he believes the Houthis are a “terrorist group”, a designation his administration lifted on the Yemeni organization but is considering reapplying.

“I think they are,” Biden said when asked if he was willing to call the Houthis a terrorist group.

Biden later told reporters in Allentown, Pennsylvania, that it is irrelevant whether his administration formally makes that designation. He added the US and other nations would respond anyway to their attacks in the Red Sea.

“It’s irrelevant whether they’re designated,” Biden said. “We’ve put together a group of nations that are going to say if they continue to act and behave as they do, we’ll respond.”

Questioned about some Democrats who said he should have sought Congressional approval for the strikes, Biden rejected their objections outright.

“They’re wrong and I sent up this morning when the strikes occurred exactly what happened,” he stated.

In 2021, the Biden administration reversed the Donald Trump administration’s eleventh-hour decision to designate Yemen’s Houthi rebels as a foreign terrorist organization.

Earlier Friday, the White House reiterated it was reviewing a terror designation for the Houthis. John Kirby, the national security council spokesperson, said no decisions had been made and couldn’t provide a timeline for how long the review would take.

The US and UK militaries launched strikes against Houthi targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen on Thursday, marking a significant response after the Biden administration and its allies warned that the group would bear the consequences of its attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

The Houthis announced that United States and United Kingdom interests are “legitimate targets” for the Yemeni fighters.

Strikes on Yemen came after Yemeni fighters targeted several Israeli-owned and -bound shipping in the Red Sea in support of Palestinians in war-torn Gaza, where nearly 24,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military onslaught since October 7.

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