Biden Admits Houthis Are ‘Terrorists’

 January 15, 2024

In an unexpected turn, a shift reverberates from the White House.

President Joe Biden has labeled the Iran-backed Houthis as "terrorists," marking a stark policy reversal.

In February 2021, President Biden lifted the terrorist designation on the Houthis, a move that was justified by concerns over the humanitarian situation in Yemen and the potential to facilitate peace negotiations. However, the landscape has shifted with the Houthis' continued aggression in the Red Sea, particularly against U.S. and international maritime interests.

Revisiting a Controversial Designation

The decision by the Biden administration to reverse its stance and acknowledge the Houthis as a terrorist group comes after former President Trump's designation was initially revoked.

The aggressive behavior of the Houthis has been highlighted by their takeover of the Galaxy Leader Cargo and multiple attacks on maritime vessels. The Pentagon has reported a concerning number of incidents, with 26 attacks since November attributed to the Houthi rebels. In response, President Biden has authorized military strikes against Houthi targets, resulting in the deaths of five Houthis, signaling a firm U.S. response to the ongoing threat.

Senator Eric Schmitt has been a proponent of re-designating the Houthis as a terrorist organization, echoing the sentiments of national security experts who believe the designation carries significant operational and financial implications. Kash Patel, the former Trump Pentagon chief of staff, underscored this viewpoint by emphasizing how a terrorist designation can effectively cripple a group's financial standing and operational capabilities.

The Impact of Designation and Response

The administration's change of heart seems to be a direct consequence of the escalated hostilities, including the recent missile attack on a U.S. Navy destroyer. This act of aggression appears to have been a tipping point in the U.S. government's assessment of the Houthi movement and its impact on regional stability and international security.

Biden's administration is now focused on a collective international response to curb the Houthi actions rather than solely relying on the terrorist designation.

President Biden expressed his perspective on the matter, emphasizing that the designation itself may be less critical than the international response it galvanizes. He highlighted the formation of a group of nations dedicated to responding to Houthi provocations, signaling a collaborative approach to address the threat.

We will make sure that we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behavior, along with our allies.

Military and Diplomatic Balancing Act

The response from the U.S. and the international community will be pivotal in maintaining the balance of power and ensuring maritime safety in the Red Sea. The U.S.-backed Saudi coalition continues to face challenges from the Houthis, who have not relented in their missile and drone attack campaigns.

This ongoing conflict underscores the situation's complexity and the need for a multifaceted approach that combines military readiness with diplomatic efforts.

President Biden’s recent acknowledgment reflects a nuanced understanding of the situation at hand, where designation and action must work hand in hand. This re-evaluation of the Houthis' status as terrorists indicates a willingness to adapt to the evolving dynamics of the conflict in Yemen.


President Biden has taken a decisive step in reclassifying the Houthi rebels as terrorists, a significant departure from his previous stance and a reversion to the policy established by the Trump administration.

A series of aggressive actions by the Houthis, including repeated attacks on maritime vessels and the seizure of a cargo ship, have prompted this change. The U.S. response, both militarily and diplomatically, aims to mitigate the threat posed by the Houthis and involves a coalition of nations committed to maintaining regional stability.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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