“I also intend to designate three of Ansarallahs leaders, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs)”, he said in a statement.
According to the State Department, these designations will provide additional tools to confront terrorist activity and terrorism by Ansarallah, a deadly Iran-backed militia group in the Gulf region.
“The designations are intended to hold Ansarallah accountable for its terrorist acts, including cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure, and commercial shipping,” the statement read.
“The designations are also intended to advance efforts to achieve a peaceful, sovereign, and united Yemen that is both free from Iranian interference and at peace with its neighbors. Progress in addressing Yemen’s instability can only be made when those responsible for obstructing peace are held accountable for their actions,” the statement added.
The State Department said the United States recognizes concerns that these designations will have an impact on the humanitarian situation in Yemen but that they are planning to put in place measures to reduce the impact on certain humanitarian activity and imports into Yemen.
“We have expressed our readiness to work with relevant officials at the United Nations, with international and non-governmental organizations, and other international donors to address these implications.”
The United States was the largest humanitarian donor to Yemen in 2020, providing $630 million in humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people.
American assistance has reached all corners of Yemen and has been used in critical program support for food, nutrition, hygiene, and for internally displaced people. The United States is also providing more than $18 million to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen.
The statement cited Pompeo as saying “we need not look further than the callous attack targeting the civilian airport in Aden on December 30, in which the Houthis struck the arrival terminal killing 27 individuals, including three staff members of the International Committee of the Red Cross, to see the destruction the Houthis continue to inflict upon civilians and civilian infrastructure.
“The Yemeni and Saudi governments as well as multiple experts have directly tied this attack to Ansarallah.”
If Ansarallah did not behave like a terrorist organization, we would not designate it as an FTO and SDGT, Pompeo stated.
“It has led a brutal campaign that has killed many people, continues to destabilize the region, and denies Yemenis a peaceful solution to the conflict in their country.
“Rather than distance itself from the Iranian regime, it has embraced the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism even more. Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has supplied Ansarallah with missiles, drones, and training, allowing the group to target airports and other critical infrastructure.
He also said the US has worked through its partners in the region to urge Ansarallah to stop engaging in terrorist activities, including those involving attacks threatening civilian infrastructure in the region, as well as to cut off ties with IRGC officials and stop the practice of kidnapping, which has included the deaths and kidnappings of US nationals.
“The international community has collectively agreed through UN Security Council resolutions and in other fora that unilateral actions to take over the institutions of the legitimate Republic of Yemen Government are unacceptable and that a legitimate political transition – long sought by the Yemeni people – can be accomplished only through political negotiations,” he said.
“However, the political process has produced limited results over several years. This compels us to look for additional means by which to change the behavior of Ansarallah and its supporters in our search for peace and security in Yemen,” he added.