Iran is attempting to take advantage of proxy wars to serve its interests with the Biden administration, and the targeting of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in January confirms this. The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that it supports militias in the region to serve its foreign policy. This unusual declaration coincided with the attack on Riyadh, the international community’s expression of solidarity with the Kingdom and the handover of the White House keys to President Biden.
The Houthis are an extremist and ideological terrorist organization that does not differ from Daesh and Al-Qaeda in its ideas and the danger it presents, and the US review of its designation as a terrorist group serves the interests of Iran. It is not acceptable to drop it from the American terrorism list under the pretext of saving Yemen from a famine that in 2021 may affect 16 million Yemenis out of the total population of 28 million.
The Houthis are no different from Hezbollah, Al-Shabaab of Somalia, Taliban or Boko Haram and may have surpassed them in some of their acts of terrorism. The designation of all these groups as terrorists has not affected the relief and humanitarian work by international organizations. Indeed, Al-Houthi has stolen foreign aid to Yemen and distributed to his followers, so that only a little of what has been sent to the Yemeni people has reached them. Therefore, refraining from the designation of the Houthis as terrorists most likely will not prevent famine.
The American keenness to return to the nuclear agreement with Iran is incomprehensible, especially since the agreement period will be completed in 2025, that is, after four years, and it is likely that it will end with Iran’s entry into the nuclear club. The US did not act on the Iranian nuclear program in the same way it did with Muammar Gaddafi’s or Saddam Hussein’s nuclear programs. The latter prompted the Iraq war and led to Baghdad falling into the hands of Shiites loyal to Tehran and the mullahs.
In Yemen, the Houthi group constitutes only 5 percent of the total population, and it is unreasonable for them to control the fate of the other 95 percent. The Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen has intervened in support of the lawful Yemeni government and for seven years, has tried to achieve positive results by consensus or quotas between the Yemenis. However, it did not succeed, and sharing power on a sectarian, ideological or geographical basis, as in Lebanon and Iraq, was not successful in Yemen.
The Houthi rebel group has not respected 70 Yemeni, Arab and international agreements, and it has practiced genocide, confiscated property, targeted civilians inside Yemen with missiles and drones made in Iran. It has caused the displacement of three million people, exposed millions of Yemenis to poverty and hunger, and killed 30,000 children who were used as soldiers. Classifying the Houthis as terrorists will cut off Iranian funding and arms — it will force Houthis to sit down to negotiate and accept peaceful solutions.