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US to label Yemen’s Houthis as terrorist organisation


US to label Yemen’s Houthis as terrorist organisation


Reuters yemen
Photo: Reuters

The US State Department will today label Yemen’s Houthi Ansarallah movement as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the move last week, arguing that the designation would hold the Houthis accountable for terrorist attacks on Yemeni civilians and infrastructure.

The designation will block all commercial food imports to Houthi-controlled regions. UN officials have warned that the move will worsen the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, as Yemen imports 90% of its food. Key UN figures emphasised that, while the UN provides food aid to roughly a third of Yemen’s 28 million people, commercial imports remain key to ensuring millions more have access to food. Aid agencies that also rely on commercial imports will likely turn to other sources including China and Brazil, two of the top current providers, for increased food aid.

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US President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to withdraw support for Saudi-backed coalition forces in Yemen and is expected to rescind the designation as one of his first acts in office, fulfilling two stated goals of his administration: restoring the US’s international leadership role and reducing tensions in the Gulf. However, UN officials believe that the rescission will do little to resolve the crisis and, as such, aggravated famine is likely unavoidable.

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