Yemen Risk Alert: US terrorist designation of Ansar Allah
70% of Yemen’s 30.5 million people live in areas controlled by Ansar Allah: an FTO designation would have a much greater impact on Yemeni civilians than FTO designations introduced in other contexts. Most of Yemen’s population, its largest seaport, and the headquarters of all its major banks are in areas under exclusive Ansar Allah control. It will be virtually impossible to avoid engaging with the de-facto authorities in a way that is not criminalised by the designation. Day to day transactions, such as buying food or fuel, paying staff salaries, or transferring money to pay for commercial or humanitarian operations are likely to fall foul of the material support provisions, which carry penalties of up to 20 years in prison. Previous FTO designations have only been applied to non-state actors that controlled comparatively small areas of territory (such as Al Nusra in North West Syria, Al Shabab in southern Somalia, or Hamas in Gaza).