Ansarallah, Biden, Blinken, Foreign terrorist designation, Foreign Terrorist Organization, FTO, Houthis, Iran, Islamic terrorists, SDGT, Specially Designated Global Terrorist, terrorism, terrorist organization, War in Yemen, yemen
Biden Secretary of State Blinken delisted Yemen’s Houthi from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) lists.
Is this related to their catching Yemen terrorists at the US border only to make the Press Release unaccessible?https://web.archive.org/web/20210406193823/https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/two-yemeni-men-arrested-border-patrol-identified-fbi-s-terrorism-watch
“Tenney and Wilson Lead Members of House Foreign Affairs Committee in Urging Blinken to Reverse Decision to De-List Houthis as Terrorist Organization
March 29, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Representatives Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and Joe Wilson (SC-02), members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, led several members of the committee in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to reconsider his decision to de-list the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). In recent weeks, attacks by Yemen’s Houthi forces in the Middle East have increased significantly, including attacks on innocent civilians and energy infrastructure.
“I am disappointed in Secretary Blinken’s decision to de-list Yemen’s Houthi forces as a terrorist organization. The group has led a ruthless campaign of violence and continues to de-stabilize the region and reject good-faith efforts to negotiate a peaceful settlement to this conflict. Yemen is facing a humanitarian crisis, and the United States is committed to our continued assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. But peace in Yemen will only be possible when the Houthis decide to stop behaving like a terrorist organization and talk,” said Congresswoman Tenney. “The FTO designation provided the United States with additional leverage to pressure the Houthis to come to the table, and I urge Secretary Blinken to immediately re-designate the Iran-backed Houthis as a terrorist organization once again. We must be clear-eyed about what’s happening in Yemen – the Houthis continue to act like a terrorist organization and engage in terrorist activity, and it was wrong to de-list them as they continue to target innocent civilians.”
“I was grateful to join Congresswoman Claudia Tenney and colleagues in a letter urging Secretary Blinken to reconsider his decision to de-list the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist militia group in Yemen. With Iran’s help, the Houthis have continued and escalated their pattern of attacking civilian infrastructure and blocking humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Yemen. De-listing the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist, without any significant changes, sends a terrible message to adversaries around the globe and does nothing to improve the situation for millions of Yemeni people living in conflict and poverty,” said Congressman Wilson.
In part, the group writes, “The Houthis very clearly meet all legal criteria for designation. They are a foreign organization that engages in terrorist activity that threatens U.S. interests and nationals. They have fired missiles at civilian airports on numerous occasions, targeted civilian energy infrastructure, and threaten international shipping. We remind you also that the Houthis have a track record of wrongfully detaining American citizens.
Further, it is well established that the Houthis receive training, support, and financial backing from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is itself a designated FTO. Revoking the designation of the Houthis without any material change in its behavior undermines the credibility of this important foreign policy tool.
Joining Tenney and Wilson in sending the letter were Representatives Ronny L. Jackson (TX-13), Scott Perry (PA-10), Darrell Issa (CA-50), Tim Burchett (TN-02), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), W. Gregory Steube (FL-17), and Brian Mast (FL-18).
In recent weeks, we have seen an alarming increase in attacks by Yemen’s Houthi forces in the region. The Houthis have rejected good faith efforts toward diplomacy and instead continue to indiscriminately target civilians. We therefore write today to urge you to reconsider your decision to de-list the Houthis, also known as Ansarallah, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) under the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224.
The decision to delist the Houthis as an FTO and SDGT sends the wrong message to the international community and bad actors across the globe. We agree with the State Department’s assessment that FTO designations play a critical role in the United States’ fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities by pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business. De-listing the Houthis has not made the region safer or advanced the stalled peace process. We note that in the days following your decision to delist the Houthis, their attacks have actually increased.
The Houthis very clearly meet all legal criteria for designation. They are a foreign organization that engages in terrorist activity that threatens U.S. interests and nationals. They have fired missiles at civilian airports on numerous occasions, targeted civilian energy infrastructure, and threaten international shipping. We remind you also that the Houthis have a track record of wrongfully detaining American citizens. Further, it is well established that the Houthis receive training, support, and financial backing from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is itself a designated FTO. Revoking the designation of the Houthis without any material change in its behavior undermines the credibility of this important foreign policy tool.
We understand your concerns regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid to those suffering in Yemen. However, steps were taken to exempt humanitarian organizations so as not to impede the delivering of aid, which we all agree is critically needed. We believe these exemptions were sufficient to facilitate the flow of humanitarian goods and that any outstanding obstacles could have been addressed by continual assessment of the various General Licenses that were put in place by the Department of the Treasury. The General Licenses issued on January 19, 2021, covered a wide range of activities and significantly reduced the likelihood of de-risking.
Yet on February 12, 2021, less than 30 days after the General Licenses were imposed, the Biden Administration announced it was revoking these licenses and reversing the FTO designation. It is incredibly difficult to see how you could have possibly assessed the effectiveness of these mitigation measures on humanitarian trade in a period of less than 30 days.
The Yemeni people have suffered enough. This conflict will not end militarily, and the only way to resolve the situation in Yemen is through a negotiated settlement. To achieve this, we must use every available tool to increase pressure on the Houthi militants, who have done nearly everything in their power to undermine the peace process. Designating them as an FTO and SDGT was a step in the right direction.
The designations would have further isolated the group, curbed its financing and deterred foreign direct support, and heightened public awareness of its activities. In light of these benefits, we urge you re-designate the Houthis as an FTO and SDGT and work with us moving forward to effectively mitigate any humanitarian impacts.
A signed copy of the letter can be found here(link is external).(link is external)