Foreign Policy magazine, citing “diplomatic sources,” said that the administration of US President Donald Trump “is preparing to classify the Houthi group (Ansar Allah) in Yemen as a“ terrorist organization ”before leaving his potential post next January.
A diplomatic source said that the administration “has been thinking about this for some time,” indicating that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “seeks to take this fast track.”
The magazine pointed out that the decision, which “appears imminent”, will be considered “another victory” for the foreign minister in his anti-Iran strategy during his upcoming visit to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE this week.
The magazine’s report considered that this move against the Tehran-backed group “may be part of a broader effort by the White House and Pompeo to increase pressure on Iran and its allies in the Middle East, during the administration’s final months.”
The International Crisis Group saw it as an “expansion of the maximum pressure campaign” that the US administration has pursued against Iran, since Trump took office in early 2017, according to which he re-imposed economic sanctions on it after his withdrawal from the nuclear deal in 2018.
The Trump administration has been studying the classification plans for more than a year, then has gained momentum in recent months. And last September, US officials told the “Washington Post” that the administration had begun a review and would announce whether it would classify them as a “terrorist organization.”
The United States has repeatedly expressed concern about the Houthis’ increasing dependence on Iran, which has provided them with missiles, drones and training, allowing them to target airports and other vital infrastructure.
The plans to “classify” the group come nearly a year after the Trump administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a “foreign terrorist organization.”
Officials and people familiar with the file said that the Trump administration could also classify the Houthi leadership as “global terrorists” instead of classifying the entire movement, because the latter would punish anyone who provides support to the group with criminal penalties, which could severely hinder the work of humanitarian organizations trying to provide Aid to civilians in Houthi-controlled areas.
The United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, has been working since his appointment in February 2018 to broker a peace agreement between the Houthis and the government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
Despite the continuation of the war, the efforts of the international envoy culminated recently in a large prisoner exchange, in a glimmer of hope to end a conflict that caused the death of thousands of civilians and the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world,” according to the description of the United Nations.