DUBAI: The Yemeni government welcomed on Monday the decision by the United States government to classify the Houthi militia as a foreign terrorist organization.
The US State Department announced late Sunday that Washington plans to designate the Iran-backed Houthi militia a terrorist organization and to include three of its leaders — Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, Abd Al-Khaliq Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya Al-Hakim — on the global terrorists list, in response to demands of millions of Yemenis who launched popular campaigns.
The Ministry of Foreign and Expatriate Affairs said in a statement to the Yemeni News Agency Saba, that after six years of war and the imposition of numerous sanctions against individuals, the government believed that efforts to intensify all political and legal pressures on the Houthis should continue in order to create reach a political solution to the conflict.
“The Houthis deserve to 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 disaster in the world,” the ministry said.
The ministry stated that the Houthis continue to commit “gross violations” of human rights and international humanitarian law, including the bombing of homes and places of worship, the persecution of religious minorities, the arrest and torture of journalists and political activists, the siege of cities, and the planting of mines on land and the sea.
The Houthis “major dependence on Iran's subversive agendas in the region” undermines the political process in Yemen, the ministry claimed.
Iran’s ideological, financial, military and technical support for the Houthis allowed the militia to engage in reckless terrorist acts, the ministry said.
The Yemeni government held the Houthis responsible for the attack on Aden Airport on Dec. 30 last year, that killed and wounded dozens.
Meanwhile, Yemen’s information minister said the designation “will have significant impact on reducing the crimes” committed by the Houthis, for which civilians pay the price.
The move will also stop the militia’s “terrorist activities that target regional security and international interests, and limit arms smuggling operations and access to Iranian experts,” Muammar Al-Eryani said in a tweet.
Al-Eryani added that the move would also force the Houthis to submit to peace and put an end to the suffering of millions of Yemenis in their areas of control.
“This step puts the Houthi militia in its natural place alongside other terrorist organizations, after it undermined security and stability in Yemen and the region and led to the largest humanitarian tragedy in human history,” he said.
Al-Eryani thanked the Yemeni people who campaigned in various governorates and through social media and “continued their message to the world in the face of Houthi terrorism, which has escalated since the arrival of Quds Force officer Hassan Erlo, and reached its climax with the targeting of Aden International Airport.”
The Quds Force, the foreign arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, appointed Erlo as a military ruler of Sanaa, which is under Houthi control. On Dec. 9, the US imposed terrorism related sanctions on Erlo, saying he was the source of Iran’s interference in the region.
Twenty six people were killed and several others injured in the airport attack, moments after a newly formed cabinet for government-held parts of Yemen arrived on the same flight.