The Houthis, the Iran-backed Shi’a jihad group in Yemen, recently held a student rally in the Yemeni city of Hajjah, but they weren’t exactly cheering on their favorite soccer team. The rally, which was televised on the Houthi network Al-Masirah TV, featured a student proclaiming, “Placing their trust in Allah, our missile forces are continuing to strike deep inside Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Allah willing, our UAVs will reach Tel Aviv and New York in the very near future.” A UAV is an unmanned aerial vehicle, that is, a drone. No one in New York needs to worry about Houthi drones anytime soon, but the statement in itself once again revealed that Biden’s handlers’ foreign policy is based on fantasy and wishful thinking, not any rational assessment of reality.
This is because in February 2021, just weeks after Old Joe Biden began his pretend-to-be-the-president act, the administration removed the Houthis from the list of terrorist groups. An unnamed State Department wonk explained, “Our action is due entirely to the humanitarian consequences of this last-minute designation from the prior administration, which the United Nations and humanitarian organizations have since made clear would accelerate the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
The Houthis were only designated a terror group for a few weeks, so this humanitarian crisis could not possibly have been very severe. Donald Trump’s administration added the Houthis to the terror list in January 2021, not long before Trump left office. As was always the case with anything and everything that Trump did, the Leftist political and media establishment was outraged. No fewer than twenty-two aid groups that were operating in Yemen demanded that the designation be revoked “immediately.” Old Joe obliged when he began his president act, but now, Trump has been proven right yet again. If any group deserves to be considered foreign terrorists, it’s the Houthis.
The student’s hope that Houthi drones would one day bomb New York didn’t come out of thin air. In November 2021, the Yemeni media outlet Al-Masdar Online reported that Houthis stormed our embassy (closed since 2015) in Yemen’s nominal capital, Sana’a, seizing “large quantities of equipment and materials.” Just days before that, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), they “kidnapped three Yemeni nationals affiliated with the U.S. Embassy.”
A State Department spokesman confirmed the Yemeni report, saying, “The United States has been unceasing in its diplomatic efforts to secure their release. The majority of the detained have been released, but the Houthis continue to detain additional Yemeni employees of the embassy.” They are being “detained without explanation and we call for their immediate release.” The U.S., the spokesman continued, was “concerned about the breach of the compound” and is calling “on the Houthis to immediately vacate it and return all seized property.”
The Houthis were frightened by this tough talk and immediately vacated the embassy, right? Not exactly. Voice of America (VOA) reported on Feb. 24 that the Houthis “detained another official of the long-closed U.S. Embassy there, bringing the number of local ex-U.S. Embassy staffers in the rebel group’s custody to at least 11, according to accounts from Yemeni officials and others.”
The State Department claimed that it was making “unceasing” efforts to get these hostages released. But what can Biden’s handlers really do? They gave away the best leverage they had when they removed the Houthis from the terror list. The Biden administration, according to VOA, is on the verge of admitting that Trump was right: Biden wonks are “considering redesignating the Houthis or individual Houthi leaders as terrorists, a step that carries harsh U.S. government penalties for those doing business with them.” So they’re thinking of taking steps that will get them back to square one — back to where they were in January 2021 — before they laid the groundwork for the present problems in Yemen.
Will the Houthis’ continued belligerence lead Biden’s handlers to abandon their policy of appeasement toward the Islamic Republic of Iran and its clients? Will they drop their pipe dream of reviving the nuclear deal and begin to deal realistically with the genuine threat that Iran and its clients pose? Come on, man! Biden’s team promised America would be back, but didn’t say anything about Jimmy Carter coming around again as well. But here we are.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.