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 December 20, 2023

Joe Biden expected to reverse decision to remove terrorist organization label from Houthi's following attacks on ships

President Joe Biden may once again label the Houthi rebels as a terrorist organization after a series of drone and rocket attacks on ships in the Red Sea, the Washington Examiner reported. Biden had lifted the designation of the Iranian-backed group in February 2021.

The White House National Security spokesman John Kirby made the announcement Tuesday, citing the promise of continued violence from the Houthis. The group said it will not stop as long as the war between Israel and Hamas continues.

"We are actually conducting a review right now on whether that’s the right course forward. We’ve talked about that," Kirby said.

"No decision has been [made] right now," he added. Biden backed off the terrorist organization label early in his presidency as a departure from his predecessor to signify a new approach to the civil war in Yemen.

Biden also said at the time that the U.S. would not continue to fund Yemen's internal conflict that had been going on since 2015. It seems that decision was painfully imprudent in light of recent troubles.

The Red Sea is a popular shipping route, and the attacks from the Houthis threaten to choke off that avenue of commerce. The Muslim Houthis are now digging in to support the terror group Hamas in its fight against Israel.

Large corporations like BP have temporarily paused shipping through the route and will continue to do so until the threat is neutralized. Republican lawmakers have been calling on the Biden administration to do something about this since the attacks began in October.

"Re-designating the Houthis as an FTO would send a powerful message that the United States views this group as a clear threat to our Allies and partners and to regional stability in the Middle East," Sen. Thom Tillis, North Carolina Republican said in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken last month. Tillis used the Houthi's own promise as a warning.

"Since Hamas’s savage terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, the Houthis have launched three attacks against the Jewish state and promised to carry out more strikes ‘until the Israeli aggression stops,'" Blinken went on. The situation has only continued to get worse since then.

In November, the Houthi took 25 crew members of a ship hostage after taking over the vessel in the Red Sea. The organization has promised to continue such tactics, especially with any humanitarian aid bound for Israel.

The group threatens that any vessel that does not also travel to Gaza to help will not be permitted to complete the voyage. So far, it seems the Houthis are getting their way.

The Biden administration has also announced a coalition of naval assets from around the world to attempt to combat the Houthis efforts in the region. This could be a help, but staying out of this situation in the first place would have been the better option.

Like many other Biden failures, this problem can be directly traced to an action he took to remove the terrorist designation. Such a designation cuts off the Houthis from any U.S. assets and makes it illegal to give them funding, but that option was removed.

Biden has overseen a rise in international threats on many fronts. The world was a safer place before he took office, and there are no signs that he's on track to make anything better even with the latest reversal.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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