The Biden administration announced its decision to designate Yemen’s Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, partially reinstating measures previously lifted. Starting in mid-February, the Houthis will be classified as a “specially designated global terrorist” group, a decision made by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken. This move restricts the group’s access to the global financial system and imposes other penalties. However, the administration has not applied the more severe label of “foreign terrorist organization,” a designation that the Trump administration had placed on the Houthis but was revoked by President Biden in early 2021.
This designation aims to address the Houthi missile and drone attacks on maritime traffic off Yemen’s coast, which have caused significant disruptions to global shipping. The Treasury Department plans to issue licenses for transactions critical to the Yemeni population, such as food, medicine, and fuel, to mitigate potential negative impacts on civilians.