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Westerners fear for the Houthis, but do not fear them

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

Amidst the difficult presidential transition in the US, we heard an interesting piece of news. The Trump administration “intends” to classify the Yemeni Houthis as a terrorist group.

The emergence and announcement of this American intention caused chaos in the international Western scene.

Here is the entire picture: According to press reports and diplomatic sources, since the first signs of this American intention towards the Houthis weeks ago, and not only during the exciting US elections, the UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths has been pressing the US to back down.

Read more: Arab Coalition destroys 3 Houthi ballistic missiles, 6 drones targeting Saudi Arabia

The British diplomat also appealed to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to intervene and influence the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo prepares to testify before a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing in Washington, DC on 30 July 2020. (AFP)
US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo prepares to testify before a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing in Washington, DC on 30 July 2020. (AFP)

Last month, Guterres urged the US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft to reconsider classifying the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization. Germany and Sweden also pressed the US to back down.

This international panic about the possibility of the US classifying the Houthi group as a terrorist organization unveils a critical reason behind the prolonged war in Yemen and the improbability of a Houthi defeat.

Griffiths, European capitals, and perhaps even Washington later, will certainly advocate for engaging in political dialogue with the Houthis and avoiding provoking them with such a classification. This is utter nonsense.

A Houthi fighter mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, July 8, 2020. (Reuters)
A Houthi fighter mans a machine gun mounted on a military truck on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, July 8, 2020. (Reuters)

By the way, after the recent Houthi attack on an Aramco distribution plant in Jeddah, the marine gate to Mecca, the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen announced the destruction of five naval mines planted by the Houthi militia in the south of the Red Sea.

The coalition declared that the destroyed bombs were Iranian-made “Sadaf” mines. A total of 163 naval mines have been destroyed in the Red Sea.

In conclusion, harmful international political illusions regarding the Yemeni solution must be abandoned, and only the solid facts should be taken into consideration, under Saudi-Yemeni efforts.

Only then will the Yemeni file cease being a game in the hands of the international community.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat.

Read more:

The Houthi manipulation of UN initiatives in Yemen

A ray of hope in the land of Yemen

Respecting the Sanctity of Prophets: Boastful crows and insincere sentiments