GOP: Call Them Terrorists!


( – Over 50 House Republicans are pushing Secretary of State Antony Blinken to mark the Iran-supported Houthis as a foreign terrorist group. This move comes weeks after the Biden administration gave the group a less strict label. Led by Darrell Issa from California these Republicans argue the recent label as Specially Designated Global Terrorists or SDGT doesn’t go far enough.

In a letter to Blinken they expressed their worry about not classifying the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization or FTO. “We find it deeply concerning that the Administration once again opted to not designate the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization” they wrote. This concern arises after the State Department named the Houthis as an SDGT on January 17 but didn’t call them an FTO. This decision followed the removal of both SDGT and FTO labels by the Biden administration a reversal of the Trump administration’s last actions.

The congressmen believe an FTO label would bring tougher sanctions and restrictions like visa bans and liability for attacks. These measures they say would help stop the Houthis from attacking ships in the Red Sea. “It is time for a significantly stronger response” they stated. They pointed out the benefits of an FTO designation over an SDGT label including legal actions for victims sanctions on non-US persons and visa bans.

They also mentioned the SDGT label’s exemptions for certain transactions and its delayed effect. The Houthis have attacked over 30 vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since mid-November according to the Defense Department. The US has retaliated but Issa and his colleagues think more actions are necessary including tougher sanctions and direct penalties on Iran.

“The Houthis unquestionably meet the threshold for FTO designation and so given the forgoing we believe you should redesignate them as an FTO immediately” the letter ends.