The United States Must Re-Designate the Houthis as Terrorists

After a spate of recent Houthi attacks on Israel, commercial shipping, and U.S. naval vessels, the Biden administration announced on November 21 that it is considering re-adding the Iran-backed group—also known as Ansar Allah—to the U.S. lists of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). The administration had previously de-listed the group in February 2021.

Given that the Houthis continue to act violently across the Middle East, acknowledging that they are a terrorist group is a necessary and important step. Re-designating the Houthis would enable greater U.S. asset freezes and seizures of Iran-linked funds, and authorize the United States to impose greater restrictions on the funds and movements of Houthi backers across the globe. Re-designating the Houthis would also provide a key symbolic step of resolve against Iran and its proxies after the manifest failure of a conciliatory U.S. approach, and would display solidarity with U.S. partners in the Middle East who have sustained hundreds of Houthi projectile attacks over the past several years.