On Sunday, November 27, Yemeni Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak publicly announced the Yemeni government’s intent to categorize the Houthis as a terrorist organization. The Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council further asserted the government’s will to instate strong punitive measures against Houthi militias. This diplomatic action against the Houthis comes in response to last week’s Houthi attack in southern provinces of Yemen. The international and regional communities have explored a variety of responses to the Houthis attacks, and many Middle Eastern Countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, have directly spoken out against the operations.
A deep dive of the Yemeni Foreign Affairs Minister’s announcement on Sunday further highlights the explanations for this proposed classification. Explained in Pakistan Observer, “the Houthis must be classified as a terrorist group, Yemen’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, told on Sunday the US Ambassador to Yemen, Steven Fagin…Mubarak [stressed on] the importance of the international community’s support for those decisions. The two sides discussed the challenges that face the peace process, and the Houthis threat to international navigation…Mubarak said that the Houthis aimed to ‘brainwash society’ and impose a ‘racist identity’ instead of the national one.”
This announcement emerged in response to the Houthis' recent attack on oil ports in the Hadramawt and Shabwa provinces which, in turn, threatened food security and workers’ wages. The Middle East Monitor referenced alleged Iranian involvement in this attack, explaining that the Yemeni President Leadership Council (PLC) “held a virtual meeting, chaired by Rashad Al-Alimi, to discuss ‘the Houthi terrorist attacks on oil facilities, and the measures taken to neutralise them and limit their catastrophic repercussions.’ The Council explained that the debris of the suicide drones used in the attacks match aircraft manufactured by Iran. The Council stressed that ‘the repeated attacks against vital civilian installations constitutes a threat to the stability of the region, energy supplies, freedom of global trade and international peace and security.’”
During this virtual meeting, PLC Chairman Rashad al-Alimi prioritized solution-oriented responses to attacks from Houthi militia. Expressed in Asharq Al-Awsat, the Council “held the militias fully responsible for the consequences of their attacks on life-saving humanitarian supplies…Yemeni sources said the meeting discussed local developments and structural reforms at “sovereign agencies.’ It also tackled ‘government measures to implement National Defense Council Resolution No. (1) of 2022 related to the classification of the Houthi militias as terrorist.’”
Houthi leaders have not expressed interest in reinstating the UN-brokered truce inYemen and have even declined calls from the UN Yemen envoy. Arab News evaluates the group’s enduring threats: “the Houthis have defiantly pledged to keep attacking oil installations with drones and missiles until their demands are met…[Last week], Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, a Houthi leader, asked that the Yemeni government give all state revenues to the central bank in Sanaa and that the movement pay all government servants throughout the nation, or the Houthis will continue to target oil installations.”
Multiple Arab countries have made statements on the conflict and, most recently, on Yemen’s intent to designate the Houthis as a terrorist organization. On Monday, November 28, PLC Chairman Alimi arrived in Jordan to continue his efforts in collaborating with the international community to prevent Houthi attacks. Explained in Jordan Times, Jordanian Prime Minister met “with Yemen’s Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Al Alimi to discuss bolstering bilateral relations and exerting efforts to reach a political solution that restores security and stability to Yemen and its people…During the meeting, which was attended by a number of ministers and officials representing both sides, Khasawneh affirmed Jordan's position, under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, in support of endeavors to reach a political solution that guarantees a secure and stable Yemen.”
Sagheer bin Aziz, the Yemeni Chief of Staff to the Commander of Joint Operations General, outlined the potential future of Houthi attacks if solution-based responses to the conflict fail to materialize. Written in Jerusalem Post, bin Aziz “warned that the Houthis could increase their attacks on naval targets…‘The threat of the terrorist Houthi militia to waterways and international navigation is an extension of its terrorist acts that began years ago by threatening the lives of Yemenis.’”