OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
3:00 PM – Monday, January 15, 2024
United States President Joe Biden said that Yemen’s Houthi rebels are in fact a “terrorist” group after American and British warplanes, ships, and submarines initiated several airstrikes throughout Yemen.
On Friday, President Biden admitted that the Iran-supported Houthis are “terrorists,” after condemning the former president and reversing Trump’s classification of the group as terrorists early on in his administration.
A reporter questioned Biden on Friday, asking if he would characterize the Houthis as a “terrorist” organization.
“Are you willing to call the Houthis a terrorist group, sir?” the reporter asked.
In response, the president said, “I think they are.”
In February 2021, Biden removed Trump’s designation of the group as terrorists, thereby breaking their connection to the global banking system.
The Biden administration asserted that the action would “harm civilians in Yemen and obstruct negotiations” with the rebel group, which was engaged in combat with Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States.
Last month, former Trump Pentagon Chief of Staff Kash Patel participated in an interview where he explained that referring to the Houthi organization as “terrorists” was crucial. Patel stated that labeling the Houthis as terrorists was important to cutting off their funding and preventing additional attacks in Saudi Arabia, where American troops are stationed.
“So you shut them down financially and you are able [to] target them as terrorists. And then if they meet the threshold, you’re able to take out their leadership — people who are actually terrorists,” Patel said.
“When you remove the designation, like the Biden administration did, you allow them access to the global banking system, you allow them to travel freely, you allow them to engage in business with our allies,” he added. “So you allow them to get money, get funded. You allow Iran to pay them, and we don’t have a recourse. Since they’re not a designated terrorist organization, operationally and intelligence-wise, they’re not a priority to take out, they’re not a priority for intelligence collection purposes.”
The Houthis have been continuously firing missiles and dispatching attack drones at international commercial warships and United States military targets in the Red Sea. Since November, they have attacked ships at least 26 different times, the Pentagon says.
In an effort to hinder the Houthi group’s capacity to carry out more attacks, last week, Biden issued an order for strikes against their targets and committed to take additional action if needed. According to the Pentagon, over 150 weapons were fired at 16 separate locations.
The Houthis announced that five of their men had died as a result of the strikes, as well as six who were severely injured.
On Friday, Biden was asked if the United States will continue bombing back if the Houthi assaults do not end.
The Democrat president responded by saying, “We will make sure that we respond to the Houthis if they continue this outrageous behavior, along with our allies.”
Eventually, a different reporter chimed in and added to the conversion, asking Biden about his labeling of the Houthis as “terrorists.”
The reporter asked, “How soon are you willing to designate them as such?”
In response the second time, Biden asserted that it was “irrelevant.”
“It’s irrelevant whether they’re designated. We’ve put together a group of nations that are going to say that if they continue to act and behave as they do, we’ll respond,” Biden said.
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