Houthi terrorists
Houthi terroristsREUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

The US said on Wednesday it would consider revoking its recent designation of Yemen’s Houthis as terrorists if they cease their shipping attacks in and around the Red Sea, Bloomberg reported.

“My hope is that we can find diplomatic off-ramps,” Tim Lenderking, President Joe Biden’s special envoy for Yemen, told reporters in an online press briefing. “To find ways to deescalate and allow us to pull back, eventually, the designation and of course to end the military strikes on Houthis’ military capability.”

Asked by Bloomberg News after the briefing if the US was offering the Houthis a quid pro quo to end their attacks on ships in return for revoking the designation, Lenderking replied, “We would certainly study that but not assume it’s an automatic thing.”

The Biden administration in mid-January, announced it would redesignate the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen as specially designated global terrorists.

The Trump administration, days before it left office in 2021, designated the Houthis as a foreign terrorist organization.

However, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reversed the decision days later, saying the move was driven by concerns that the designation could imperil the ability to deliver crucial assistance to the people of Yemen.

The move to redesignate the Houthis was necessitated by the fact that the Houthis have upped their attacks on vessels in the Red Sea since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza as a show of support for Palestinian Arabs.

In the wake of the uptick in Houthi attacks, the US formed a coalition, made up of more than 20 countries, aimed at safeguarding commercial traffic in the Red Sea from attacks by the Houthis.

In mid-January, with support from other countries, the US and Britain targeted just under 30 Houthi locations with 150 different weapons. The two countries have continued to strike Houthi targets since.

The Houthis have been unfazed by the strikes, saying that the campaign against the "Zionist enemy" will continue and that the attacks against the American and British ships will not stop.