| by Anna Phillips

News Stories

Welcome back to CTEC in the News! We hope you are feeling rested and energized after last week’s holiday break. Here’s what we’ve been up to over the last couple weeks:

FTO Designation

The anticipated foreign terrorist organization (FTO) designation of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group was a trending discussion over the last couple weeks, and CTEC Director and Middlebury Institute professor Jason Blazakis was interviewed by multiple news outlets on the subject due to his previous work with the U.S. Department of State. 

In an interview with The Washington Post Jason discussed the humanitarian concerns surrounding the Trump administration’s plan to designate the rebel movement an FTO, and the fear that resulting sanctions will only exacerbate the crisis at hand. He explained that while the Treasury Department can issue licenses that would permit Americans to work with Houthis in certain capacities, they could take months to obtain and cause a life-threatening delay on needed resources.

He was also interviewed by National Journal on the anticipated designation of Yemen’s Houthi rebel group as an FTO, and how this will impact foreign policy decisions made by the incoming Biden administration. He commented on the Department of State’s process when an FTO designation is made, expansions made by the Trump administration to this process through Executive Order 13224, and how those expansions could further complicate the impact of an FTO designation on humanitarian efforts in Yemen.

Finally, he wrote an op-ed for Talking Points Memo describing the negative consequences a designation of the Houthi rebel group as an FTO would have on humanitarian and negotiation efforts in Yemen. He cautioned that while they may meet the legal criteria for an FTO listing, such a decision would not result in any political gain and instead would cause significant harm.



Our experts touched on another popular discussion topic this week: the increasingly popular conservative social media app Parler. CTEC Digital Research Lead Alex Newhouse wrote an article for The Conversation examining the app’s rising popularity with mainstream conservatives and far-right extremists alike, and its contribution to the spread of misinformation and violent conspiracy theories. 


That’s a wrap! Tune in next week for more CTEC in the News