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A U.S. ship was the latest to be attacked by Houthi rebels.

U.S. reclassifies Houthi rebels as terrorists

The Biden administration has reclassified the Houthi rebels as terrorists just days after attacking the group’s positions in Yemen.

The move comes after an upsurge of attacks on one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and continued missiles being launched at Israel. Last week, a missile struck a U.S. registered ship in the Red Sea. The decision, however, will not go into effect for 30 days, giving many alarm that the group will ramp up attacks and hide their financial resources.

President Joe Biden reversed a Trump-era policy and declassified the Houthis as terrorists just weeks after coming into office. Critics said the declassification would lead to the Houthis generating hundreds of millions of dollars for terrorism activities. Biden also pressured Saudi Arabia to end its military efforts to stop the terrorist group from gaining control of all of Yemen. It currently controls the western third of the country.

In a Jan. 16 press call, a senior administration official said the “impactful designation” was necessary given the scope of the Houthis’ behavior.

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“These attacks fit the textbook definition of terrorism,” the official said. “They have endangered U.S. personnel, civilian mariners, and our partners, jeopardized global trade, and threatened freedom of navigation.”

“These attacks are a clear example of terrorism and a violation of international law and a major threat to live, global commerce, and they jeopardize the delivery of humanitarian assistance.”

The administration will re-designate the Houthis, who are allies of Hamas, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), but won’t go as far as to re-apply the status of Foreign Terror Organization (FTO).

Both Democrats and Republicans are criticizing the decision not to label it as an FTO.

–Dwight Widaman | MV

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