The Hawks, Lobbyists And Dictator Who Are Pushing Joe Biden To Spark A Historic Famine In Yemen

7 months ago
AMERICA NEWS NOW

President Joe Biden’s national security team is in a complex tug of war over a decision that could push millions of people into starvation — weighing the advice of humanitarian experts, most government officials and top Democrats against arguments from hawks who want Biden to restore one of former President Donald Trump’s most controversial policies.

Biden is considering slapping the U.S. government’s “foreign terrorist organization” label on the Houthis, an Iran-backed militia that has been fighting American-backed forces in Yemen since 2014, the president told reporters last month. Trump applied the label to the Houthis last January but Biden lifted it shortly thereafter.

While advocates of the move claim it would make the Houthis less aggressive, aid groups say it would devastate the struggling country. Banks and other businesses would likely become extremely reluctant to work in Yemen for fear of being hit by U.S. sanctions, which would make it nearly impossible and astronomically expensive to import food and other essential goods. Most foreign policy analysts also say it would ratchet up tensions.

Biden’s aides are working on a final recommendation to the president that is expected to come later this month. They discussed the matter at a high-level White House meeting on Friday, two sources familiar with the decision-making process told HuffPost, and top officials have now asked lower-level staff at government agencies to provide further analysis. (The sources requested anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations.)

The internal debate could doom millions of Yemenis who are already enduring the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. When Trump introduced the measure, the United Nations’ then-aid chief warned that it could produce “a large-scale famine on a scale that we have not seen for nearly 40 years.” Since then, ...

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