Saudi Arabia welcomes the United States’ decision to designate the Iran-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist organization and to classify three of its leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), the Saudi Press Agency cited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying.
The move is in line with the Yemeni government’s efforts to “put an end to the violations of the Iran-backed militia and the real dangers it poses, which has led to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation of the Yemeni people, and the ongoing threats to the international peace and security,” the ministry said.
The United States will designate the Iran-backed Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, and three of its leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an official statement on Monday.
“The Department of State will notify Congress of my intent to designate Ansarallah – sometimes referred to as the Houthis – as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity, pursuant to Executive Order 13224,” the statement from the US added.
“I also intend to designate three of Ansarallah’s leaders, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, as SDGTs,” Pompeo added.
The Kingdom’s foreign ministry said it hoped the move would put an end to the Houthis’ terrorist acts and discourage its backers from supplying the group with missiles, drones, weapons, and funds, according to SPA.
Yemen’s foreign ministry also welcomed the US’ decision on Monday and said that the move aligns with the government’s efforts to punish the militia.
“After six years of war, and the imposition of numerous sanctions against individuals, we believe that all political and legal pressures on the Houthis should continue to escalate and intensify in order to create conditions conducive to a peaceful solution to the conflict,” Yemeni foreign minister Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak said in a statement.
The Iran-backed group should be classified as a foreign terrorist organization “not only for their terrorist acts, but also for their permanent efforts to prolong the conflict and cause the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world,” the minister added.
The group’s crimes include bombing civilian homes and places of worship, arresting and torturing journalists and political activists, using health and educational facilities for military purposes, destroying economic institutions in Yemen, as well as targeting civilians in Saudi Arabia, according to the foreign ministry.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) supplies the Houthis with missiles, drones, and training, allowing the group to target airports and other critical infrastructure, Pompeo said.
Iran backs the Houthis in Yemen’s civil war against the internationally-recognized government.