US to cancel terrorist designation for Anssarallah

"After a comprehensive review, we can confirm that [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] intends to revoke the Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist designations of Anssarallah," a State Department spokesperson said. "

The US has moved to delist Yemen’s Houthi (Anssarallah Movement) as a terrorist organization, removing a block that humanitarian groups said jeopardized crucial aid as the country’s warring sides cautiously welcomed a push for peace by President Joe Biden.

A State Department spokesperson said Friday they had “formally notified Congress” of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s intent to revoke the terrorist designations.

The move, which will take effect shortly, comes a day after Biden announced an end to US support for the Saudi-led offensive operations in Yemen.

“Our action is due entirely to the humanitarian consequences of this last-minute designation from the prior administration,” they said.

“After a comprehensive review, we can confirm that [Secretary of State Antony Blinken] intends to revoke the Foreign Terrorist Organization and Specially Designated Global Terrorist designations of Anssarallah,” a State Department spokesperson said. “We have formally notified Congress of the Secretary’s intent to revoke these designations and will share more details in the coming days.”

Blinken’s predecessor Mike Pompeo announced the designation days before leaving office last month, pointing to the Houthis’ links to Iran, an arch-enemy of Trump, and a deadly attack on the airport in Yemen’s second city of Aden in December.

Aid groups say they have no choice but to deal with the Houthis and that the terrorist designation would put them at risk of prosecution in the United States.

According to the UN, more than three million people have been displaced and close to 80 percent of Yemen’s population of 29 million people need of some form of aid for survival.

Biden on Thursday announced the withdrawal of US support for the Saudi-led offensive in his first major foreign policy speech since replacing Donald Trump.

Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition, welcomed his remarks and stressed the “importance of supporting diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis”.

It hailed the appointment of Timothy Lenderking as US envoy, describing it as “another important step” taken by the US to end the war.

The Houthi also welcomed the approach of the new US administration.

“We are cautiously optimistic,” Houthi official Hameed Assem told AFP on Friday.

But he also warned that “our missiles will not stop until there is a ceasefire… they are the ones who started the war, and they are the ones who should end it.”

Saudi Arabia – which has led a military intervention against the Houthis since 2015 – reacted by reasserting its commitment to a political solution in Yemen.

ــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ