UAE Seeks US Government Designation of Houthis as Foreign Terrorist Organization
UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba Spoke on Thursday with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX)
WASHINGTON, DC (20 January 2022) — Following the terrorist attack in Abu Dhabi earlier this week that targeted civilian infrastructure and killed three individuals, UAE Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba renewed his call for the US government to re-designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Ambassador Otaiba raised the issue again today following separate conversations with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA), and House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX).
Speaking at a recent symposium in Washington, DC, Ambassador Al Otaiba described the incident as “a terrorist organization attacking civilian targets and a country that is not at war.” He continued: “We are asking our friends in the Biden Administration and in Congress to reinstate the Houthi designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. I think the case speaks for itself.”
In the immediate aftermath of the drone strike on Abu Dhabi, an attack which included the launching of ballistic and cruise missiles, over 100 nations and International Organizations have condemned the Houthis for attacking the UAE in violation of international law. Leading NGOs and national security experts have similarly denunciated the Houthis for this dangerous provocation.
A growing number of US leaders have condemned the brutal Houthi attack.
At a White House press conference on Wednesday, President Biden remarked that the FTO re-designation is “under consideration.” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a call with H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan expressed “unwavering support for the security and defense of UAE territory against all threats.” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan added, “The Houthis have claimed responsibility for this attack, and we will work with the UAE and international partners to hold them accountable.”
On Tuesday, Ambassador Otaiba updated House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks (D-NY) about the recent developments and emphasized the UAE’s commitment to providing continued humanitarian relief including food and medical supplies to innocent Yemenis. Speaking to reporters on Capitol Hill, Meeks noted that he is looking at the Foreign Terrorist Organization re-designation “very carefully.” The Chairman added, “I’m very concerned and condemn to the highest degree the Houthis.”
Republican congressional leaders have similarly issued statements encouraging the Biden Administration to label the Houthis as a terrorist group, including national security leaders US Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), US Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and US Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC).
Ambassador Otaiba is scheduled to speak with additional senior administration officials and congressional members in the coming days.