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Tags: yemen | biden | houthi | terrorist organization

Yemen Yelling but to No Avail: Biden Backpedals on Houthis

Yemen Yelling but to No Avail: Biden Backpedals on Houthis

President Joe Biden boards Air Force One before departing from King Abdulaziz International Airport in the Saudi city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 16 July 2022 09:58 AM EDT

Since September of 2014, a bloody civil war has inflicted pain and political chaos in Yemen — the second-largest sovereign state in the Arabian Peninsula and one very likely to be on the agenda during the President Biden’s Middle East tour.

So far, the President has failed to reinstate on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list the group that is primarily responsible for the bloodshed — the Houthis.

“Humanitarian considerations continue to be an important factor in any decision regarding a Foreign Terrorist Designation of Ansarallah [the Houthis],” a spokesperson for the State Department told Newsmax, “We are currently focused on securing, extending, and building on the United Nations truce in Yemen, which is having a tangible impact on millions of Yemenis and provides a credible opportunity for peace in Yemen.”

But Irina Tsukerman, a human rights and national security attorney, told Newsmax that any truce is not going to last, and that Iran is the dominant figure in the bloodshed in Yemen.

“Iran is the one really calling the shots,” said Tsukerman, “but they [the Houthis] have become proxies and not just partners.”

Iran’s intentions were also questioned by Manel Msalmi, founder and president of The European Association for the Defense of Minorities. She told us that the Iranians are relentlessly going after vulnerable targets in Europe, and include the Israelis on their “hit list.”

As Iran’s proxy and with its full support, the Houthis continue to wage vicious attacks in Yemen. The situation is further exacerbated by the humanitarian crisis now taking place.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), an organization which works to defend and protect children around the world, in Yemen there are “23.7 million people in need of assistance including almost 13 million children.”

Dr. Wesam Ba Sondowah — political science professor in Cairo, Egypt, and leader of both the Yemeni Coalition of Independent Women in Switzerland and 8th March Yemeni Union Women in Aden, Yemen — told Newsmax that thousands of Yemeni children are being “brainwashed” by the Houthis. This specifically involves children going to summer camps and being taught ideology that both contradicts and demonizes the United States and Israel.

The war for children continues as indoctrination is paired with Houthi child recruitment to go fight on the battlefield.

Child recruitment and indoctrination by the Houthis was supposed to come to an end with the U.N. truce. Nevertheless, as Tsukerman pointed out, the recruitment still occurs.

Compounding this humanitarian crisis and the plight of their children, the people of Yemen are also suffering from a hunger plight that is seemingly insurmountable.

UNICEF’s website says: “By March 2022, around 17.4 million people were in need of food assistance, with a growing portion of the population coping with emergency levels of hunger.”

Women, too, suffer in Yemen. Msalmi mentioned how there is no representation of women in parliament and the President’s Leadership Council in Yemen.

“The Presidential Leadership Council is the executive body of Yemen's internationally-recognized government, formed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, by a presidential decree on 7 April 2022, to seek a "comprehensive political solution" to the Yemeni civil war,” explained Msalmi.

Alarm over the brutal treatment of women and girls in Yemen has recently been sounded by the International Red Cross.

“Among the estimated 4.2 million people displaced in Yemen since the beginning of the conflict, 73% are women and children,” according to the Red Cross, “Displaced women and girls suffer from additional economic and social vulnerability resulting in limited access to basic services, including to adequate healthcare to treat chronic disease.”

Sondowah said that this humanitarian crisis is solely manufactured by the Houthis.

As for the State Department insistence it is focused on the humanitarian factors and the fact that there is a U.N. truce (which was recently extended in June to another two months), scholars Msalmi, Tsukerman and Sondowah are skeptical.

Tsukerman said she believes the Houthis are connecting with other terrorist organizations such as Hamas (a significant political party in Palestine that is hostile towards Israel) and Hezbollah (the often-violent Shiite Muslim party based out of Lebanon).

“They [the Houthis] are more dangerous than Hezbollah,” said Tsukerman.

She added that “the Houthis are ultimately a danger to the United States, since they can reach … all the way through the Red Sea. [This is an] international trade threat.”

The Yemeni crisis was examined last year by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

In October of 2021, however, the council rejected a renewal of the mandate that required an investigation of the war crimes taking place in Yemen.

The vote was a close one: 21-18, with seven abstaining and one not present. To no one’s surprise, some of the least human rights-friendly countries — such as China, Cuba, Pakistan, Russia and Venezuela — voted against renewing the mandate.

Most recently, the Biden administration is seeking other ways to report on the human rights violations taking place in Yemen. The main proposal is to create a new international committee that would investigate the grievances.

In an interview with The Guardian, Abdulrasheed al-Faqih, a human rights defender currently visiting the U.S. from Yemen, described how there was talk of also including members of Yemen’s presidential leadership council on the proposed committee.

But so far, nothing has been created.

As the president travels throughout Israel and Saudi Arabia this week, all eyes are on what he does, and if he addresses any moves to reinstate the Trump Administration’s identification of the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

In an administration struggling with rising inflation, an immigration crisis, a baby formula shortage and a low approval rating, President Biden could clearly use a “win.” This trip, with some words and actions on Yemen and the Houthis, could serve as that "win."

Micah Hart, a Newsmax intern, is studying politics and journalism at Hillsdale College in Michigan.

© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Since September of 2014, a bloody civil war has inflicted pain and political chaos in Yemen — the second-largest sovereign state in the Arabian Peninsula and one very likely to be on the agenda during the President Biden's Middle East tour.
yemen, biden, houthi, terrorist organization
Saturday, 16 July 2022 09:58 AM
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