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Rights Groups Warn Biden: Re-blacklisting Yemen’s Ansarullah Disappointing, Dangerous
By Staff, Agencies
Advocates and rights groups warned that US President Joe Biden’s consideration to re-designate Ansarullah revolutionary group as “terrorist” is dangerous.
“It’s extremely disappointing that the Biden administration is considering this position when they know very well the humanitarian impact it would have,” Scott Paul, senior manager of humanitarian policy at Oxfam America, told Al Jazeera.
He further cautioned that “A year ago, the administration heeded our warnings – and nothing has changed since then to improve the outlook for what these designations would mean.”
According to activists, calling for an end to the years-long war in Yemen, the United States president’s remark is a betrayal of his election promise to work to end the conflict – and break from the policies of his predecessor Donald Trump, who provided uncritical support to the Saudi-led coalition.
“The designation [of the Houthis] would starve millions of Yemenis and he [Biden] knows that,” said Iman Saleh, general coordinator of the Yemeni Liberation Movement, an anti-war advocacy group in the US. “A designation would make him no different from Trump.”
Saleh, who went on a hunger strike near the White House last year to demand an end to the Saudi-led coalition’s aid as well as the removal of a sea and air blockade on Yemen, also criticized the US administration’s stance of solely blaming the Ansarullah for prolonging the war. “It’s time for Biden to stop these games and fulfill his campaign promise: end the war in Yemen.”
Last February, just weeks into his presidency, Biden announced an end to American assistance for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive operations” in Yemen, as well as “relevant arms sales”.
But he reaffirmed his commitment to Saudi Arabia’s security, and last year Biden’s administration greenlit a $650m sale of air-to-air missiles to Riyadh, as well as a $500m helicopter maintenance deal, drawing rebuke from some rights activists.
Hassan El-Tayyab, legislative director for Middle East policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation advocacy group, said the US administration’s position ignores “devastating impacts of the Saudi blockade” on Yemen.
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