US Lawmakers Call for Swift Reversal of Yemen’s Houthi ‘Terrorist’ Brand Image

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Published on: 01/11/2021 – 17:22

Washington (AFP)

On Monday, leading U.S. lawmakers called for a swift brand reversal by outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of the Houthis of Yemen as a terrorist group, saying it had exacerbated a humanitarian crisis.

“The designation of the Huthis as a terrorist organization is a death sentence for thousands of Yemenis,” said Senator Chris Murphy, a prominent member of President-elect Biden’s Democratic Party.

“It will cut off humanitarian aid, make peace talks almost impossible and empower Iran. Biden should reverse this policy on day one, ”he wrote on Twitter.

Pompeo defied warnings from aid groups on Sunday and announced the long-standing ruling against insurgents that will take effect on January 19 – a day before Biden was sworn in.

The rebels, who have ties to Iran, control much of Yemen and have faced a bloody offensive from Saudi Arabia with millions depending on relief supplies for survival.

“No solution in Yemen will be lasting until the Houthis are involved. By designating the Houthi organization as a foreign terrorist organization, the Trump administration is only pushing a political solution to the conflict even further out of reach, ”said Representative Gregory Meeks, the Democrat. who heads the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Meeks called for a “quick overthrow” but warned: “Even if the nomination were to be quickly overturned by the Biden administration, the damage would be done. ”

Senator Todd Young, a Republican who broke with incumbent President Donald Trump over Yemen, said Pompeo’s decision “will further destabilize a war-torn country” and prevent humanitarian groups from providing life-saving relief.

“I look forward to working with President-elect Biden and his team to reverse this ill-advised decision. ”

Under US law, Congress has seven days to review and reject the designation of a terrorist group.

But that seems unlikely with the Senate out of session and the House of Representatives focused on impeaching Trump on charges of inciting a deadly riot on January 6 that sought to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.

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