Maria Maalouf
  • Maria Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist, broadcaster, publisher and writer. Twitter: @bilarakib

Biden Has All The Evidence Needed To Redesignate Houthis

The Biden administration must reverse its policy and redesignate the Houthis as a terrorist organization. President Joe Biden has to listen carefully to what the major think tanks in Washington are saying, following careful studies, about the crimes of the Yemeni group. It is the duty of such researchers to locate the intellectual sources that indicate the impossibility of the Houthis not being classified as a terrorist outfit.

Many research institutes in Washington have passed important judgments about the Houthi menace. Collectively, they constitute a strategic opportunity for the US government to change the thinking that drove the Biden administration to last year remove the group’s name from the list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations, apparently because there is a need for the Houthis to distribute humanitarian assistance. How can humanitarian aid continue while the Houthis are stealing it?

One example of the critical views authored by distinguished scholars on the horrors of the Houthis is the briefing paper that was published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies last month. It stated: “The Houthis are orchestrating an increasingly intense irregular warfare campaign against Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Gulf using sophisticated cruise and ballistic missiles, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones), and other stand-off weapons.”

These actions are occurring in the context of escalating violence in Yemen. The number of Houthi attacks per month against Saudi Arabia and other targets doubled in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.

Biden should not delegate condemning Iran and the Houthis, who are now also attacking the UAE, to his subordinates. He himself has to single them out as culpable for their crimes. Meanwhile, the Emirati government should start launching airstrikes from its Al-Dhafra airbase to destroy the missile launchers operated by the Houthis. The US president should discuss with the Pentagon how to endorse such defensive and necessary strategic moves by the UAE.

Ultimately, Biden and his team have to get rid of their yearning to sign a nuclear deal with Iran, as this is a sign of America’s weakness. Any new Iran deal would also beset the cooperation the US has spent decades cultivating with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. And it would encourage the Houthis to launch more missile attacks against these two important Arab countries.

In fact, the war in Yemen is going on because of the Houthis’ crimes and Iran’s endorsement of their policies. If Biden were to read the studies available to him, he would reverse his incorrect conviction that the Houthis and Iran are interested in a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Finally, Biden should outline his Yemen policies by delivering a speech quoting various think tanks’ crucial conclusions on its war.

There is no more evidence required to show that the Houthis are a threat to regional peace, global stability and the national security of the US. Can Biden take swift action against the terrorist group?

• Maria Maalouf is a Lebanese journalist, broadcaster, publisher, and writer. Twitter: @bilarakib