Just weeks after promising to back a peace effort in Yemen, the Trump Administration is reportedly considering labeling the Shi’ite Houthi movement in northern Yemen, one of the principal forces, a terrorist organization.
The move appears unrelated to US policy in Yemen itself. Rather, it reflects the Trump Administration’s desire to go after perceived Iranian allies. Saudi Arabia, who is attacking the Houthis, has accused them of being in league with Iran.
In reality, the Houthis have always had limited connections to Iran. But making them a US-labeled terrorist group would not only greatly undermine the Houthis, it would complicate the peace talks to the point of making them nearly impossible.
Perhaps even worse, a terrorist label would make it even harder to deliver humanitarian aid into northern Yemen. With millions on the brink of starvation because of the US-backed Saudi war and Saudi naval blockade, a cut to aid could lead to a massive humanitarian disaster.