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The Trump administration could call Yemen Houthi rebels a terrorist group



The Trump government is considering designating Yemen's Houthi as a terrorist organization As part of a campaign to end the country's civil war and pressure the Houthis' allies.

The terrorist term, which would bring an unpredictable new element into fragile diplomatic efforts to initiate peace talks, has since been discussed regularly, at least in 2016, according to some of the figures. However, the matter has been re-examined in recent months as the White House seeks to defend a tough stance against Iranian-linked groups in the Middle East

. A formal foreign ministry terrorist designation could further isolate the rebels of members of a Shiite Muslim minority that seized control of Yemen's capital in late 2014. However, critics warn that such a move could aggravate annoying humanitarian conditions without bringing the conflict to a close.

The people being talked about The condition of anonymity to describe internal considerations said that the government had considered a number of possible measures against the rebels, including fewer measures to punish the group, but it did not Decision made. It was not immediately clear to what extent the deliberations on the designation of terrorism which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would undertake have progressed.

The rise of the Houthi movement, which is militarily supported by Iran, has triggered an expanded military operation Persian Gulf states, which fear the spread of Tehran on the Arabian Peninsula. Since 2015, jets from a Houthi coalition led by Saudi Arabia have been bombing controlled areas while Allied ground forces have attacked rebel positions.

The war has also drawn the United States into conflict with a few clear American interests, criticizing US legislators for rejecting American involvement in the war. The Pentagon allows aircraft to be filled from the air while conducting missions over Yemen and exchanging intelligence services with coalition soldiers.

Opposition to support for Saudi-led Gulf coalition in Yemen has grown due to repeated coalition strikes against Yemeni civilians and Yemenis The murder of Washington Post contributor columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and critic of the Saudi monarchy from Riyadh sent team in Istanbul.

The war has also triggered a massive humanitarian crisis in the already poorest country in the Middle East. Last month, the United Nations stepped up its warnings about the situation in Yemen, saying that half of the population was in conditions of famine.

New steps against the Houthis are taken into account when Western diplomats call on the group to hold talks with the official Yemeni government, which has international support but only limited influence over the Earth.

Last week, US Defense Minister Jim Mattis and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for cessation of fighting in Yemen, even though the Gulf Coalition forces were supporting a long-awaited attack on the strategic port of Hodeida Approaching the Houthis

Some US officials, particularly in the US Department of State, have objected to the appointment of the Houthis as a terrorist group because they believe that such naming is the United Nations negotiators' efforts for peace talks could complicate. A terrorist term would be seen as an escalation of US pressure against the group.

US Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths of Great Britain, hopes to bring Yemeni parties together by the end of the year. His last attempt, this case, failed when the rebels refused to travel to Europe for a scheduled meeting unless certain conditions were met.

A nomination would likely result in the financial assets of the Houthi movement, which controls the government, being frozen in institutions that occupy it. Travel bans and other penalties would also be imposed on those suspected of "materially supporting" the group.

Jason Blazakis, who had previously oversaw the US State Department's terrorism designations, said that such a move would be primarily symbolic against the Houthis. The rebels do not use the international financial system, and few Houthi members are affected by a travel ban to the United States.

However, the designation would allow the US government to prosecute individuals suspected of helping the group, said Blazakis, who is now a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Typically, organizations that receive a US State Department terrorist group have a series of acts that are considered a threat to US national security. Designated groups include Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is active in Yemen, as well as branches of the Islamic State.

In October 2016, the US military fired Tomahawk cruise missiles at coastal radar sites in the Houthi-controlled areas for rocket attacks on US Navy ships in the area.

The Houthis are also accused of attacking ships owned by Saudi Arabia-led coalition and merchant vessels crossing waters off Yemen.

The US attack on US ships in 2016 triggered a similar discussion In the Obama administration, officials decided not to follow the designation.

In recent months, Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton have outlined a more muscular policy towards Iran aimed at curbing proxy groups across the region. This month, the administration renewed the energy and other sanctions lifted under Iran's 2015 nuclear deal, with President Trump withdrawing from the US this year.

US. Officials say that Iran has provided Houthi's advanced military technology, but has closer ties with other organizations such as the Lebanese Hezbollah.

The designation of the Houthis as a terrorist group would be welcomed by Saudi Arabia, which had taken a similar step in 2014. The United States has continued its involvement in the Yemeni war mainly because of its desire to support Riyadh, a close ally in the economic and counter-terrorist sector, repeatedly attacked by Houthi-fired missiles.

Aid groups fear that naming could aggravate the suffering Yemeni civilians because groups of US authorities may require licenses before they can continue their work in Houthi-controlled areas. Millions of Yemenis are already unable to source food and medicines as the conflict causes steroid trade and more preventable diseases.

Officials said Trump's government is also considering other moves that could not be termed a terrorist term by the US Take the sanctions against the Houthis. In 2015, the Obama administration imposed individual charges against the leader of the group.

This spring, the Trump administration approved five Iranians who allegedly helped the Houthis acquire or use ballistic missiles.

Kareem Fahim in Istanbul and John Hudson Karen DeYoung and Julie Tate in Washington have contributed to this report.


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