WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – The United States has exempted aid groups, the United Nations, the Red Cross and the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices from its designation of Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement as a foreign ‘terrorist’ organization.
The carve-outs are not enough to allay UN fears that Washington’s move would push Yemen into a large-scale famine. The United Nations describes Yemen as the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its people in need.
"Our concern from the beginning ... is the impact on the commercial sector and that the vast majority of food and other basic supplies that come into Yemen comes in through the commercial sector,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
UN officials and aid groups said the designation will scare off commercial trade in Yemen, which relies almost solely on imports, creating a gap the humanitarian operation cannot fill regardless of U.S. humanitarian exemptions.
Houthi Ansarullah movement slammed a recent decision by the United States to designate the popular group as "terrorist” and impose sanctions on some of its leaders, saying the move is in fact a "badge of honor” for the movement.
"Such a move confirms that we have [successfully] stood up against the interests of the United States, and we will resist any act of aggression. Whatever the Yemeni leadership, the Armed Forces Command as well as Popular Committees stipulate is a legal and definitive option,” Mohammed Abdul-Salam, the movement’s spokesman, told al-Masirah television network on Tuesday night.
He said the U.S. decision to blacklist Ansarullah — which went into effect on January 19 — will have no political, economic or humanitarian consequences since Yemenis have already experienced such measures in the past.
The Ansarullah spokesman went on to say that the international community contacted the popular Yemeni movement shortly after the U.S. designation, and stressed that the decision had nothing to do with them and that Washington was acting recklessly on various issues.
Meanwhile, a senior Yemeni official slammed the U.S. for the hostile move against Ansarullah, saying Washington is fighting alongside Takfiri terror outfits such as Daesh and al-Qaeda against Yemen.
"This American description [of Ansarullah] comes from the same people, who is fighting on the same front with Daesh and al-Qaeda against us,” Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, a member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council, told Russia Today on Monday.
Washington announced the decision to label the Houthi movement as a foreign "terrorist” organization on the weekend.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said three leaders of the group would also be branded as "especially designated global terrorists.”
Al-Houthi said the U.S. was supporting the two terror groups so it can use them as "its two arms” to fight Yemen’s defense forces.
Washington, he added uses similar labels against the Palestinian resistance movements that are defending their nation against the Zionists. The Zionist regime, however, is conversely spared such "terrorist” designations, al-Houthi said.
However, the official said, such American maneuvers bore no significance for Yemen’s revolutionary and political leaders.