US President-elect Joe Biden’s appointee as National Security Advisor has said that the Trump administration’s plan to designate the Houthis in Yemen as a foreign terrorist group will impede diplomacy crucial to ending the war in the country.
“Houthi commanders need to be held accountable,” explained Jake Sullivan on Twitter, “but designating the whole organisation will only inflict more suffering on Yemeni people and impede diplomacy critical to end the war.”
Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he plans to designate the Iran-backed Houthis tomorrow, just a day before the Biden administration takes office. The designation will affect financial transactions with the Houthi authorities, including salaries for medical workers.
The UN, the EU and aid organisations have criticised the plan. They warn of “serious humanitarian and political repercussions.”
Congressman Gregory W Meeks, the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and 25 other members of Congress have sent a joint letter to Pompeo asking him to clarify the rationale for his decision. Such a last-minute move, they explained, “will undoubtedly make the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world much worse, and will push thousands of Yemenis into greater danger.