Biden doesn't need to wait to start cleaning up Trump and Pompeo's mess in the Middle East
Added 01-26-21 08:14:02am EST - “Opinion: In the Middle East, there are several things Biden can do right now to advance US interests quickly and with minimal political challenges.” - Businessinsider.com
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President Joe Biden is entering office as the country is beset with a host of domestic problems, from the rollout of the coronavirus vaccine to civil unrest. But Biden's foreign policy doesn't have to play second fiddle to these domestic challenges.
In the Middle East in particular, the Biden administration can advance US interests in a short time frame with minimal political challenges.
Most critical is undoing the final actions of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in listing the Houthis, a Yemeni rebel group fighting Saudi Arabia, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). The problem with this designation is that it mismatches rhetoric and reality. The US can view the Houthis as malign actors while acknowledging that this designation does not promote US interests or regional stability.
Moreover, keeping the designation would prevent humanitarian organizations from acting in areas governed by the Houthis. This would lead to the deaths of "hundreds of thousands if not millions of innocent people in Yemen," according to the World Food Program.
The Biden administration can quite literally save millions of lives if it delists the Houthis as an FTO in the first days of the administration.
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