On Tuesday, the US exempted aid groups, the United Nations, the Red Cross and the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices from its classification of Yemen’s Houthi movement as a foreign terrorist group.
Indeed, it was instantly unclear if the carve-outs would be sufficient to calm UN worries that the Houthi banning would impulse the country on a large-scale famine. Moreover, the United Nations designates Yemen as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, as 80 percent of its people are in necessity.
The step against the Iran-aligned Houthis last week started on Tuesday, in what the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared, before one day that Democratic President-elect Joe Biden succeeds Republican President Donald Trump.
On Saturday, Biden’s incoming national security adviser Jake Sullivan published on Twitter: Houthi commanders need to be held accountable, but designating the whole organization will only inflict more suffering on Yemeni people and impede diplomacy critical to end the war.
In 2015, an Arab-conducted military coalition interfered in Yemen to support government forces that struggling the Houthis in a war broadly considered as a proxy conflict between US ally Saudi Arabia and Iran. Furthermore, UN officials are seeking to recuperate peace discussions to stop the war, while the country is suffering because of the decline of the economic and currency failure and the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic.
Otherwise, the classification freezes any US-related assets of the Houthis, and interdicts Americans from deal with them and criminalize any provide of support or resources to the movement. The United Nations asked Washington to cancel the classification.
Besides, UN officials and aid groups alerted that the designation would fright commercial trade in Yemen that relies nearly exclusively on imports, which would create a gap that the humanitarian operation cannot fill nevertheless the US humanitarian exemptions.
On Tuesday, the US Treasury related that official business of the United Nations and its agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies would be exempt from the classification, and also permitted the work of aid groups to back humanitarian projects to provide elementary human needs in Yemen, democracy building, education and environmental protection, and the export of agricultural commodities, medicine and medical devices.