Barely hours passed between the US administration’s announcement of its intention to cancel the designation of the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization and the Houthis’ attack with Iranian-made ballistic missiles and drones on one of the city of Maʼrib’s main streets in coordination with the escalation of its military operations on the two fronts of Sirwah, in the Maʼrib Governorate, and Al-Makhdra, in the Nihm District. It also launched terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia, the most recent of which was on Abha International Airport.
The American decision sent the wrong signals to the Houthi militia and its Iranian patrons, encouraging the continuation of their escalation, their ongoing crimes and violations against civilians, the policies of spreading chaos and terrorism in the region, and the challenging of the will of the international community to end the war and bring about a just and comprehensive peace. The Houthis considered it a green light to escalate their military operations and terrorist attacks on the liberated areas and Saudi Arabia, while Tehran considered it clear permission to exert more influence and domination over the countries and peoples of the region.
It is regrettable that such moves are being talked about while the images of Houthi missiles targeting the Yemeni government upon their arrival at Aden International Airport are fresh, rockets and missiles fall on civilians, and Houthi snipers claim the lives of women and children in Maʼrib and Taizz on a daily basis. This, while hundreds of politicians and journalists languish behind bars at Houthi detention centers, and its drones attack Saudi Arabia.
Since its coup, the Houthi militia has taken advantage of the world’s determination to solve the crisis in a peaceful way, and has used the dialogue rounds as opportunities to reorganize, redeploy and escalate military operations and terrorist activities.
We all remember how international parties and organizations pressured the government to halt military operations aimed at liberating the city of Al Hudaydah using the pretext of the deteriorating humanitarian situation. In confirmation of its desire for peace, the government accepted the Stockholm agreement that provided for the departure of Houthi gunmen from Al Hudaydah Governorate even as government troops were at the gates of the city. Al Hudaydah was handed over to the local authority, prisoners and abductees were exchanged and the siege on Taizz Governorate was lifted.
Two years into this agreement, the Houthi militia has not fulfilled any of its obligations. Rather, it has escalated its military operations and continued to target civilians, villages, homes and farms with missiles and snipers, planting mines and explosive devices. The humanitarian situation worsened, negotiations to open relief crossings disrupted, the siege on Taizz was tightened, and the prisoner/abductee exchange aborted.
The same thing happened as government forces approached the capital, Sanaa, on the fronts of Nihm and Sirwah. Again, the international community intervened to stop the advance of government forces. It quickly became clear that the matter was merely the deception by Houthis and Iran purchase time, re-arrange and fortify their lines, and escalate military operations.
And, as it has done since its inception, the Houthi militia again disregarded all international laws, charters, and UN Security Council resolutions regarding the Yemeni crisis, and has disavowed all agreements, treaties and commitments that it has concluded. For the fourth time, ignoring warnings of a pending and unprecedented environmental, economic and humanitarian disaster, it reneged on its pledges to facilitate the arrival of a United Nations technical team to assess the situation of the Safir oil tanker.
The fact is that the international approach to the Yemeni issue ignores the reality that the Houthi militia is nothing but a terrorist gang that has turned against the state and the national consensus defined by the consensus of the comprehensive national dialogue conference. It took control of the capital, Sanaa, and state institutions by force, violence and terrorism; perpetuated all crimes and violations; and continues to kill civilians every hour. It planted more than a million landmines and explosive devices. It is a sectarian militia created by Iran and supplied with weapons (ballistic missiles, drones), military technology, experts and oil shipments, to manage its sabotage scheme in the region, and to turn Yemen into a platform from which to target the Arab Gulf states, and blackmail the world by threatening energy sources and international shipping lines in the Red Sea and Bab el-Mandeb.
The recent escalation of the Houthi militia confirms its continued role as a proxy implementing the Iranian agenda, its attempts to reproduce the model of the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization in Yemen, and its efforts to thwart de-escalation of efforts made by brothers and friends, end the war and bring peace to Yemen, and its indifference to the worsening human suffering of Yemenis.
All these facts confirm that revoking the Houthi militia designation as a terrorist organization will contribute to complicating the Yemeni crisis, prolonging the war and coup. It will exacerbate human suffering, take peace beyond the reach of the Yemeni people, and will represent a gift to the Tehran regime and its subversive policies and terrorist activities in the region, threatening international interests.
Revoking the designation will also represent a great disappointment to the Yemeni people who are suffering and have paid a heavy price as the result of the Houthi armed coup made possible in large part by the silence of the international community, the Houthis’ to adhere to its responsibilities in implementing the principles and charters of the United Nations and taking the necessary measures to maintain international peace and security, protect human rights, and implement decisions related to the Yemeni crisis.
Yemenis have raised their voices via political, media and popular campaigns denouncing the Iranian intervention and expansionist ambitions. Revealing the true nature of Houthi terrorism, and highlighting the ugliness of the crimes and violations that they have committed against Yemenis for six years, the Yemeni people are appealing to the international community to act to designate the Houthis and for the United States, in particular, to reinstate the designation of the Houthis as a terrorist organization.
The people of Yemen beseech the international community, the permanent members of the United Nations, United States administration, to take a clear position on Iranian interference in Yemen, and to condemn the escalation that reflects the true position of the Houthi militia toward peace and threatens to undermine efforts to de-escalate the devastating war. The Yemeni people call for the Houthis to be designated as a terrorist organization and for the appropriate organizations and institutions to prosecute their leadership in the International Criminal Court as war criminals instead of appeasing them to sit at the dialogue table.
Moammar Al-Eryani is the information minister of the Republic of Yemen.