The US State Department intends to remove both the Houthi militia and three of its senior leaders from a terrorism list, according to a document obtained by Al Arabiya English on Thursday.
Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim will have their designations as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) revoked, according to the announcement attributed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“I hereby revoke the designations of the following persons as Specially Designated Global Terrorist, pursuant to section 1(a)(ii) of Executive Order 13224: Ansarallah, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, Abd al-Khaliq Badr al-Din al-Houthi, Abdullah Yahya al Hakim, and their respective aliases. This determination shall be published in the Federal Register,” the document said.
Sources familiar with the move told Al Arabiya English that Blinken would make an announcement soon.
Last week, Blinken notified members of Congress of his intent to remove the Iran-backed Houthis from the US list of terrorist organizations.
But no mention was made concerning the Houthi leadership at the time.
According to sources, leaders of a group can not be designated without the entire group being designated.
But sanctions from the Treasury Department on Abdul-Malik al-Houthi will remain in effect, the sources said.
The Treasury Department sanctioned the Houthi leader in 2015 for “being a political or military leader of a group that has engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Yemen and for engaging in such acts, respectively.”
Earlier Thursday, State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said the revocation of the Houthis had still not gone through, and it was still under Congressional review. Asked about the document on the US Federal Register titled, “Designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization; Revocation: Ansarallah (and Other Aliases),” Price said there had been an “administrative error.”
An editorial note was placed on the Federal Register website stating, “An agency letter requesting withdraw of this document was received after placement on public inspection.”