January 28 - Yemeni government urges US, Saudi Arabia to ‘eliminate’ Houthi threat


Chairman of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Rashad al-Alimi speaks to reporters during a briefing at the embassy of Yemen in Riyadh, January 27, 2024. (AFP)


Jan 28, 2024. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas


Houthi attacks in the Red Sea might result in the militarisation of a crucial maritime route, raising shipping and insurance prices, and impeding the flow of critical supplies to Yemen.

Yemen’s internationally-recognised government said “defensive” US and British strikes on Iran-backed  Houthis were not enough and called for US and Saudi support to “eliminate” their ability to stage attacks on Red Sea shipping.

“Defensive operations are not the solution. The solution is to eliminate the Houthis’ military capabilities,” Rashad al-Alimi, head of the Saudi-backed presidential leadership council, told a briefing with journalists in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Earlier this month, Yemen’s internationally-recognised Presidential Leadership Council asked the world to follow the US lead in labelling Houthis as terrorists and impose stiffer penalties on the militia for jeopardising international marine trade and perpetrating crimes in Yemen.

At a meeting in Riyadh, the council praised Washington’s decision to designate the Houthis as international terrorists, encouraged the rest of the world to follow suit, and praised the international community’s joint response to the Houthi Red Sea raids.

The council said in a statement it “welcomed the decision to designate the Houthi militias as a global terrorist organisation and looks forward to additional sanctions against the rogue militias.”

It reiterated a request to the international community to strengthen the military capabilities of Yemen’s coast guard and offer protection from the Houthis and other terrorist groups, according to the statement carried by the official news agency.

The council warned that Houthi attacks in the Red Sea would result in the militarisation of the crucial maritime route, raising shipping and insurance prices, and impeding the flow of critical supplies to the nation.

Yemen’s Information Minister, Muammar al-Eryani, said that since the beginning of the Houthi military takeover, the government has pushed for the militia to be labelled as terrorists, both internally and globally, because of its human rights violations, as well as actions that undermine regional and international security.

The minister reiterated his plea to the world to declare the Houthis terrorists.

“We urge international allies and nations throughout the globe to follow the US government’s lead and engage in a concerted response to combat the operations of the Houthi militia.

“We also urge them to put further pressure on it to quit its terrorist tactics and conform to peace obligations in line with local, regional, and international standards,” Eryani said on X.

The country’s National Defence Council, chaired by Alimi, designated the Houthis as a terrorist group in October 2022, shortly after the militia launched missile and drone attacks on oil terminals in the southern provinces of Hadramout and Shabwa, bringing the country’s oil exports to a halt.

The Houthis have targeted commercial and naval ships in the Red Sea with drones and ballistic missiles. The group also seized a commercial vessel in November.

The Houthis claim they want Israel to stop bombing Gaza and relieve the blockade on the enclave.

To pressure the Houthis to end their attacks, the US and UK have launched dozens of strikes against military targets in militia-controlled areas of Yemen.

Humanitarian groups have long resisted the labelling of Houthi terrorists, fearing it would disrupt the flow of aid through militia-controlled ports, which receive over 70 percent of essential supplies.

However, Yemeni activists who support the designation view it as just another way to punish the Houthis for human rights violations, as well as a means of pressuring the group to accept peace talks to end the war.

“Reclassifying the Houthi group as a terrorist organisation is a triumph for the principles of responsibility, fairness, and justice as well as for the blood of innocent victims,” Yemeni human rights activist Riyadh al-Dubae said on X.