Sunday 21 January 2024

Vulnerable Democrats Are Pushing Biden To Go Harder Against The Houthis

 President Joe Biden is facing pressure from vulnerable members of his own party to go after the Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists after his administration slapped the group with a weak terrorist designation this week after removing the harshest designation from the group back in 2021.

The administration designated the Yemen-based terrorist group as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group on Wednesday, stopping short of re-designating the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), which carries significantly harsher penalties than being designated as an SDGT.

Vulnerable Democrats who are up for re-election this year are now urging Biden to show more spine in dealing with the matter while virtually all Republicans have pushed Biden to do so for months.

“The Houthis are a terrorist proxy of Iran’s regime, and I’ve called for their designation as a terrorist organization,” Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) toldJewish Insider. “While I support today’s designation, we should go further and formally label the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in order to fully crack down on the flow of arms and funding to them.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) agreed, telling the publication: “We must cut off the illicit funding for Iranian-backed terrorist groups like Hamas and the Houthis, who are attacking civilians on merchant ships. While designating the Houthis as a terrorist group is a necessary step, the administration should go further to cut off their funding and support by labeling them a Foreign Terrorist Organization.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) also said that the Biden administration needed to designate the Houthis as an FTO and “take additional steps to hinder their ability to terrorize the region.”


An FTO designation makes it illegal for any U.S. persons or entities to provide and kind of material support or resources to a group, including financial, training, hard assets, and even communications. An SDGT designation does not designate an entire group as a terrorist organization, rather, it is used to target specific people or entities rather than a larger organization.

The New York Times noted that designating the Houthis as an FTO would have “would have made it far easier to prosecute criminally anyone who knowingly provides the Houthis with money, supplies, training or other ‘material support.'”

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