The Biden Administration formally removed Yemen’s Houthis from the list of “foreign terrorist organizations” on Tuesday after warnings from the UN and aid organizations that the designation would push millions into famine.
Despite the warnings that it would cause more Yemenis to starve, the Trump administration designated the Houthis as a terror organization as one of its last foreign policy moves. The designation went into effect on January 19th, President Trump’s last full day in office.
Reversing the designation is part of President Biden’s change of Yemen policy. Biden said he was ending US support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen, suspended Saudi arms sales, and appointed a special envoy to push for a diplomatic solution for the conflict.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced last week that the designation would be lifted on Tuesday. Blinken mentioned several Houthi leaders who were already under US sanctions before the designation and said they will remain blacklisted.
While the Biden administration is moving in the right direction, Yemenis are still facing mass starvation due to the conditions caused by the US-backed Saudi-led war. The UN has warned that 400,000 Yemeni children could starve to death in 2021 if conditions on the ground do not change.