President Biden, as he promised during his campaign, announced sweeping changes on the U.S. policy on Yemen. He has now vowed to end U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen, name Tim Lenderking as the new envoy to oversee the U.S. diplomatic mission to try to end the civil war there, and has ordered the State Department to review the Trump administration’s decision to label the Houthi rebels a terrorist organization. 

“This war has to end,” Biden said during his first foreign policy address as the American president on February 4th. “We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen including relevant arms sales.”

“At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks and UAV strikes and other threats from Iranian supplied [Houthi] forces in multiple countries,” Biden said. “We are going to continue to help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty and its territorial integrity and its people.”

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran, Iraq, and Regional Multilateral Affairs Tim Lenderking will head up the U.S. diplomatic mission to end the war in Yemen.

“I have asked my Middle East team to ensure our support for the United Nations’ initiative to impose a ceasefire, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks,” President Biden said.

“Tim’s diplomacy will be bolstered by USAID working to ensure humanitarian aid is reaching the Yemeni people who are suffering an unendurable devastation,” Biden said.

The UN has stated that the humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the worst in the world. There are tens of thousands dead and over 16 million Yemeni men, women, and children are living in severe and worsening food insecurity.

Biden’s Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made it clear that he wants to reverse the designation of the Houthi rebels, also known as Ansarallah, “immediately.”