By Isaac J. Martín
Cairo, Feb 13 (efe-epa).- The decision by US President Joe Biden’s administration to remove Yemen’s Houthi rebels from the terror list can be considered as a first step towards earning the confidence of the Shiite militia in the wider context of ending the conflict, but it does not go far enough, several analysts told Efe.
“There is still ground for the US to cover if it is to be seen as an honest broker and it will need to step up its efforts to have an active role in Yemen beyond simply removing the Houthis from the FTO list,” Antonino Occhiuto, a researcher for the Washington-based Gulf State Analytics, told Efe.
“It constitutes certainly a starting point. It is a necessary precondition (…) but on its own it is not sufficient,” he added.
The Biden administration on Friday revoked one of former President Donald Trump’s last policies, which was to label the Houthis a terror group.
Biden’s move came a week after he suspended US military support for the Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis in Yemen, which means Washington will no longer supply arms or logical assistance to the campaign, although it will continue to help Saudi Arabia protect against external attacks.
“The devil is in the detail (…) the Saudis are expecting the US to both stop or reduce greatly the sale of weapons and ammunition to Saudi Arabia when it comes to Yemen but also to limit or end all the logistical support,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia will still be able, although on a more limited scale, to continue its current operations even without US support on the ground,” he added.
These measures, especially the removal of the Houthis from the terror list, are an important step for the US within the context of Yemen’s conflict, which broke out over five years ago, Baraa Shiban, former consultant in the Yemeni embassy in London, told Efe.
“They have absolutely nothing on the Houthis and a peace plan cannot be one-sided,” he said.