President Biden said during a press conference Wednesday that redesignating Yemen’s Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization is “under consideration.”
The Trump administration listed the Houthis as a terror organization as one of its last foreign policy moves. The UN and other aid groups warned the designation would lead to a massive famine since the label essentially criminalizes delivering food to Houthi-controlled areas of north Yemen, where most of the country’s starving population lives.
Because of the dire warnings, President Biden quickly lifted the designation when he first came into office. But now, the UAE is calling on the US to redesignate the Houthis as terrorists after the Yemeni Shia group launched an attack on Abu Dhabi that killed three people. The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has been waging war against the Houthis since 2015, so the attack isn’t much of a surprise.
The UAE also has little credibility when it comes to accusing others of being “terrorists,” especially when it comes to Yemen. A CNN report from 2019 revealed that US weapons sold to Saudi Arabia and the UAE ended up in the hands of al-Qaeda. A 2018 investigation from The Associated Press detailed how the UAE was recruiting al-Qaeda militants to fight the Houthis.
When he first came into office, President Biden vowed to end all support for the Saudi-led coalition’s “offensive” operations in Yemen and said he would work towards a diplomatic solution to end the war. But almost a year later, US support continues, and Saudi airstrikes are still pounding Yemen.