WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is expected to soon announce plans to redesignate Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen as specially designated global terrorists, according to two people familiar with the White House decision and a U.S. official.
The move comes as the Houthis have launched dozens of attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The group says it has attacked the ships in response to Israel's military operations in Gaza in the aftermath of Hamas' Oct. 7 attack on Israel.
The three people familiar with the decision were not authorized to comment and requested anonymity to discuss the matter ahead of the expected formal announcement. The administration is expected to make the announcement on Wednesday, the U.S. official said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken delisted the Houthis as both foreign terrorist organizations and as specially designated global terrorists in February 2021 as the administration sought to make it easier to get humanitarian aid into Yemen.
In its waning days, the Trump administration designated the Houthis a Foreign Terrorist Organization over the strong objections of human rights and humanitarian aid groups.
The foreign terrorist designation barred Americans and people and organizations subject to U.S. jurisdiction from providing “material support” to the Houthis, which the groups said would result in an even greater humanitarian catastrophe than what was already happening…