On Jan. 19, 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the wise decision to place the Iranian-backed Houthis on the United States State’s Foreign Terror Organization (FTO) list. This choice was made due to their malignant activities in the region and their connections to the Iranian Regime.
In taking this bold and decisive action, Pompeo commented:
"If Ansar Allah did not behave like a terrorist organization, we would not designate it as an FTO and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT)," Pompeo said, using the Houthis’ formal name.
"It has led a brutal campaign that has killed many people, continues to destabilize the region and denies Yemenis a peaceful solution to the conflict in their country."
This 2020 decision was met with condemnation by the Democrats on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee with Chairman Gregory Meeks of New York declaring, "This move in the last days of the Trump administration will undoubtedly make what the U.N. says is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis much worse and push thousands of Yemenis towards greater peril."
Statements like this are what separates Democrats from Republicans.
You see, Republicans for the most part recognize that the only way to deal with terrorist organizations is to, well, treat them like terrorists.
The Houthis should have been forced to make a decision; either reject the funding they receive from the Iranian regime or reject U.S. funding. We should have forced the Iranian-backed Houthis to make this decision and to pick a side.
One of current U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's first actions was to undo this move made by the Trump administration and do so by removing the Houthis from the State Department's FTO list.
As Blinken was preparing to do this, the Houthis were launching drone attacks on an American ally, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Since removing them from the FTO list, they have become ever more emboldened as they are propped up with funding and support from the world's leading fiscal sponsor of terrorism: The Islamic Republic of Iran.
On Aug. 31, a Houthi drone struck the civilian airport in Abha, wounding eight civilians and damaging a commercial airliner. Blinken issued a statement condemning these actions.
On Sept. 4, a Houthi missile attack was launched in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, injuring children and damaging several homes. Again, Blinken issued a statement condemning these actions.
Earlier this week on Oct. 3, the Houthis turned their sights back to Yemen by launching a missile attack in Marib, Yemen - killing two children and injuring scores of innocent men, women and children. Again, through State Department SPOX Ned Price, Blinken issued a statement condemning these actions.
So, it's clear that Secretary Blinken is keen to issue statements condemning the actions by the Iranian-backed Houthis, yet when it comes to taking tangible action to hold them accountable, he's nowhere to be found.
Secretary Blinken: The time is now to stop playing games. The time is now to stop projecting weakness and to stop issuing statements.
The time is now to place the Houthis back on the State Department FTO list and to work with other U.S. agencies to increase sanctions on anyone directly or indirectly associated with the Houthis.
Bryan E. Leib is the Executive Director of Iranian Americans for Liberty. Formerly, he served as the National Director for Americans Against Antisemitism and in 2018, he was a GOP Endorsed Congressional Candidate (PA-03). He tweets at @Bryan_E_Leib. Read Bryan E. Leib's Reports — More Here.
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