The Houthi movement have finally been included by the United States on its list of terrorist organisations, according to the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. This decision comes as no surprise to anyone, as in November Donald Trump's entourage expressed its wish to include them, but it is surprising that the decision was taken when the current president has only a few days left in office.
The communiqué uses the official name of the Houthi movement: Ansar Allah. It links them to the attacks on critical infrastructure and on the civilian population. Without going any further, it attributes to them the attack on the Yemeni government at the end of December on their arrival at Aden airport, in which nearly 30 people died. However, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack and the Houthis deny any link.
By being included on this list of terrorist organisations, the United States wishes to hinder relations of all kinds with this group, particularly those of an economic nature, which would have repercussions on trade and the delivery of foodstuffs. Because of these difficulties, many organizations have criticized the decision, as Yemen is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
Mike Pompeo himself said that the decision would not affect humanitarian work and that measures would be taken "to reduce the impact on humanitarian activities in the country". Pompeo added that they are "at the disposal of UN staff and other organisations to address the humanitarian situation".
This decision, which would come into force the day before Joe Biden takes office, could still be rejected by Congress, as one of the new president's decisions is to put an end to the serious situation in Yemen. Biden also intends to relaunch the dialogue with Iran, the main supporter of the Houthi rebels, and the inclusion of the group on this blacklist could therefore hinder the start of talks.
In addition to the inclusion of the movement, three of the Houthi leaders will be designated as terrorists. One of these three, Mohamed al-Huthi, stated on his Twitter account that he "condemned the decision and that they are ready to respond". Several US diplomats, including up to six former ambassadors to Yemen, have expressed their rejection of the decision, indicating that the Houthis do not meet the conditions for being placed on the list of terrorist groups, and that doing so would only worsen the country's situation. The Yemeni government did welcome the decision, accusing the Houthis of "prolonging the conflict and causing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world".