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Biden Administration Suspends Some Sanctions on Yemen’s Ansarullah

Biden Administration Suspends Some Sanctions on Yemen’s Ansarullah
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By Staff, Agencies

The new US administration of Joe Biden suspended some of the ‘terrorism’-related sanctions that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo imposed on Yemen’s Ansarullah revolutionary movement in his waning days in office.

The Treasury Department said Monday it would exempt certain transactions involving the Ansarullah from sanctions resulting from Pompeo's designation of the group as a “foreign terrorist organization” on January 10.

The exemption will expire February 26, according to a statement from Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control announcing a general license for transactions that involve entities owned by the Ansarullah.

The sanctions Pompeo imposed had taken effect January 19, just a day before Biden was inaugurated, and had been roundly criticized by the United Nations and relief organizations. Critics said the sanctions would exacerbate what is already one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises by barring aid deliveries to civilians in the war-torn nation.

Treasury's license does not reverse Pompeo's designations and does not apply to specific members of the Ansarullah group who have been otherwise sanctioned.

The Trump administration’s designation had sparked confusion in aid agencies and warnings from the UN, as well as senior Republicans, that it could have a devastating impact on a conflict-wracked nation facing the risk of famine.

Several aid groups had pleaded for Biden to immediately reverse the designation, with Oxfam America’s Humanitarian Policy Lead Scott Paul saying, “Lives hang in the balance.”

The Biden administration's suspension was announced on the same day that tens of thousands of Yemenis marched in Yemen's capital Sanaa, heeding a call by the Ansarullah to condemn the US for labelling them a terrorist group and for backing the Saudi-led military coalition that is battling it.

Six years of war of US-backed Saudi war on Yemen have been catastrophic for the country, killing more than 112,000 people and reducing infrastructure from roads and hospitals to water and electricity networks to ruins.

Most of Yemen’s 30 million people rely on international aid to survive. The UN says 13.5 million Yemenis already face acute food insecurity, a figure that could rise to 16 million by June.