Biden removes Iranian-backed extremists in Yemen from terror list

Yemen is experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters and the Houthis routinely divert resources to perpetuate a bloody civil war.

By World Israel News Staff and AP

President Joe Biden’s administration is moving to revoke the designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, despite their backing by the world’s top state sponsor of terror, Iran

Yemen is experiencing one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters and the Houthis routinely divert resources to perpetuate the bloody civil war in the Middle Eastern country, where the population suffers severe famine.

President Donald Trump’s administration designated the Iranian-backed Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization, a move that limited the provision of aid.

A U.S. State Department official confirmed the move Friday after members of Congress were notified of the administration’s plans. The official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the removal changed nothing about the Biden administration’s views of the Houthis, who have targeted civilians and kidnapped Americans.

“Our action is due entirely to the humanitarian consequences of this last-minute designation from the prior administration, which the United Nations and humanitarian organizations have since made clear would accelerate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” the official said.

The move comes a day after Biden announced an end to offensive support to Saudi Arabia’s campaign against the Houthis.

The Biden administration has also signaled its intention to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal with the Houthis’ primary benefactor, Iran.

The Obama administration in 2015 gave its approval to Saudi Arabia leading a cross-border air campaign targeting Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who were seizing ever more territory, including Sanaa. The Houthis have launched multiple drone and missile strikes deep into Saudi Arabia. The U.S. says the Saudi-led campaign has entrenched Iran’s role in the conflict, on the side of the Houthis.

U.S. targeting assistance to Saudi Arabia’s command and control was supposed to minimize civilian casualties in the Saudi-led airstrikes. But bombing since then has killed numerous Yemeni civilians, including schoolboys on a bus and fishermen in their boats. Survivors have displayed fragments showing the bombs to be American-made.