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U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is considering branding the Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), the Washington Post (WaPo) reported on Thursday.
Citing anonymous individuals familiar with the discussions, the Post noted:
Designation - Element - Efforts - Peace - Talks
The terrorist designation, which would inject an unpredictable new element into fragile diplomatic efforts to initiate peace talks, has been discussed periodically since at least 2016, according to several of the individuals. But the matter has received renewed examination in recent months as the White House seeks to stake out a tough stance on Iranian-linked groups across the Middle East, they said.
A formal terrorist designation by the State Department could further isolate the rebels, members of a minority Shiite Muslim sect who seized control of Yemen’s capital in late 2014, but critics warn that such a move might also worsen already dire humanitarian conditions without pushing the conflict closer to a conclusion.
Government - Yemeni - President - Abd - Rabbuh
The internationally-recognized government of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi formally requested that the United Nations designate the Shiite Houthi rebels a terrorist organization in February 2017, apparently to no avail.
In March 2015, a U.S.-backed Saudi Arabia Sunni coalition launched an ongoing offensive against the Iran-allied Houthis to restore Hadi back to power.
US - Saudi - Coalition - Officials - Shiite
U.S. and Saudi coalition officials have determined that the Shiite government of Iran is assisting the Houthis, allowing them to continue waging their terror campaign.
Iran’s regional foe Saudi Arabia has already taken steps to designate the Houthis terrorists.
US - Considers - World - State-sponsor - Terror
The U.S. considers Iran the world’s leading state-sponsor of terror and one of the top threats facing the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in charge of making FTO designations.
US - Department - State - Explains
The U.S. Department of State explains, “FTO...
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