Two days after a Houthis’ drone targeted a Saudi civilian plane in the southern airport of Abha the Biden administration on February 12 announced that on February 16 the Yemeni rebel group would be removed from the blacklist of the terrorist outfits. It was at the fag end of the Trump administration that the Houthis were put in the list of foreign terrorist organisations and put under sanctions.
The announcement in this regard was made by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. This shift in the US policy is likely to ease one of the worst humanitarian crises in Yemen.
In a statement Blinken said that “this decision is a recognition of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen”.
However, he said that the United States would continue to closely monitor the activities of the movement and its leaders and is “actively identifying” new sanctions targets, especially on those responsible for attack on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and missile strikes on the Saudi mainland.
Blinken also said that three of the top Houthi leaders would remain under US sanctions. They are: Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Houthi and Abdullah Yahya al-Hakim.
The latest US move may be followed by Washington’s efforts to bring to an end what is called a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
According to Al-Jazeera the Houthis have welcomed the US action and said that it would bring joy and hope. They also expect that the economic blockade will be removed and the war brought to an end soon.
It needs to be mentioned that only last week President Joe Biden had called for the end of war in Yemen and halted the supply of arms to Saudi Arabia.