Just 22 days after Houthi militia terrorists – also known as Ansarallah – carried out an attack on the airport at the Yemeni port of Aden, President Biden lifted a ban on travelers from that country. Liberty Nation’s Managing Editor, Mark Angelides, told us the ban was ending in his article, “Biden’s Executive Orders Are An Obama-Era Rehash.” Then less than a month after the lifting of the travel ban, Biden’s secretary of state, Antony Blinken, notified Congress that he intended to revoke the designation of Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) for the Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi militia.
The Trump administration designated the Houthi militia a terrorist organization because it did what terrorists do. Fox News reporter Greg Norman described the December 30 attack on Yemeni government Cabinet members arriving at the Aden airport in which 16 innocents were killed and 60 wounded:
“The members of the Yemeni government’s newly formed Cabinet, including Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, were greeted with a loud explosion soon after its plane landed Wednesday in the city of Aden, in what an official is calling a ‘cowardly terrorist attack carried out by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.’”
What does removing the State Department FTO designation from the militia mean? It means revoking the restrictions, such as it being unlawful for a person in the U.S. to knowingly provide “material support or resources.” Those resources are what you would expect:
“…any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, and transportation, except medicine or religious materials.”
Notice what is not mentioned – food and humanitarian aid. But wait a minute, when explaining why the Biden Administration revoked the FTO designation, Secretary Blinken, in a tweet, said: “Effective February 16, I am revoking the terrorist designations recently imposed on Ansarallah. We must deliver humanitarian assistance and commercial imports into Yemen. We remain focused on Ansarallah’s malign activity and are identifying additional targets for designation.”
Blinken’s words and the reality on the ground in Yemen did not escape Joseph Haboush, reporting for Al Arabiya. He points out:
“‘Washington hopes that the move will encourage warring sides to engage in dialogue. But the Houthis continue to carry out malign activity,’ Blinken said. ‘This includes taking control of large areas of Yemen by force, attacking US partners in the Gulf, kidnapping and torturing citizens of the US and many of its allies, diverting humanitarian aid, and brutally repressing Yemenis in areas they control.'”
Let’s unpack the logic of the new U.S. position on the Iran-backed Yemeni terrorists. The Biden administration will no longer designate the terrorists as terrorists so that humanitarian aid can get to the repressed Yemenis who are in dire need. Yet, those in dire need cannot get humanitarian assistance because the Houthi militia diverts the aid for their own use. Are you confused?
Now, the militias’ behavior did not just start when the Trump administration designated them as FTOs. What would drive the Biden administration to think that things would change, and that these groups would turn their swords into plowshares, because they revoked the FTO designation?
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the Biden administration’s decision to revoke the Trump-era designation of Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group “odd,” considering the rebels are “conducting terror.” Pompeo went on to say: “It’s a fact that Iran is sponsoring the Houthis, and the Houthis are conducting terror. U.S. Law says if they’re conducting terror, you should designate them a terrorist organization.”
Regardless of what the U.S. calls the Houthis, the people who don’t have a say in the semantics debate are the ones that suffer. A France24 wire report portrays the situation in Yemen following the Biden State Department announcement: “’The war won’t end; no one wants it to end. This is just propaganda,’ Huda Ibrahim, a 38-year-old housewife from the port city of Hodeida said. ‘I’m not optimistic, and I don’t believe anything about ending the war. How will it end when clashes don’t stop even for one night.'”
What does the Biden administration tell Huda Ibrahim? Don’t worry? We aren’t calling the Iran-backed terrorists terrorists anymore but aid will be arriving soon?
To read more about the events and history of what is happening in Yemen, read Nathan Steelwater’s “Conflict In Yemen: A Primer“ at Liberty Nation.
The views expressed are those of the author and not of any other affiliation.
Read more from Dave Patterson.
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