Treasury Department Announces Counterterrorism Sanctions Over al-Qaeda and ISIL Activities in Syria

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

Both al-Qaeda and ISIL, the latter formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, have been trying to capitalize on unrest in Syria to develop a foothold there, with al-Qaeda also looking to use Syria as a base from which to strike external Western targets.

The U.S. Treasury Department on May 14, 2014, announced counterterrorism sanctions against two individuals connected with al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), formerly know as al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Syria MapBoth have been associated with efforts by the two terrorist groups to inject themselves into Syria’s civil war or otherwise develop the capacity to base themselves in Syria.

Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad Zafir Al-Dubaysi Al-Juhni is a Saudi al-Qaeda operative with background in intelligence, finance, communications and weapons procurement, including holding multiple leadership positions. He has been active in Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Syria, and also has had charges brought against him by Saudi Arabia for promoting the idea of armed conflict against Saudi Arabia:

As of mid-2013, Al-Juhni had traveled to Syria accompanied by several individuals to participate in the fighting there and was working with counterparts in Pakistan to acquire heavy weaponry and trainers to support al-Qa’ida efforts in Syria. During this time, he maintained an affiliation with al-Qa’ida leadership in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan

‘Abd Al-Rahman Mustafa Al-Qaduli is an Iraqi who has held leadership positions in IRIS.

Apparently al-Qaeda has been trying to set up Syria as a base from which to attack external Western targets, while ISIL also has been developing a presence in Syria:

In mid-2013, Al-Juhni was part of a group of senior al-Qa’ida members in Syria formed to conduct external operations against Western targets and to mediate tensions between Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and ISIL, formerly known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI). Al-Qaduli is a senior ISIL official who reintegrated himself into ISIL following his release from prison in early 2012 and traveled to Syria to work in a Syria-based ISIL network.


The sanctions in question are under EO 13224 and prohibit U.S. persons and entities from doing business with them, while also freezing any U.S. assets they might have.

Treasury Department press release:

Treasury Designates Al-Qa’ida Leaders In Syria; Undermines al-Qa’ida’s Efforts to Move Money and Fighters to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Al-Nusrah Front in Syria
5/14/2014

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today imposed sanctions on two al-Qa’ida supporters in Syria. Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad Zafir Al-Dubaysi Al-Juhni (Al-Juhni) and ‘Abd Al-Rahman Mustafa Al-Qaduli (Al-Qaduli) were named as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGTs) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. Al-Juhni and Al-Qaduli are being designated for acting for or on behalf of al-Qa’ida and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), respectively.

In mid-2013, Al-Juhni was part of a group of senior al-Qa’ida members in Syria formed to conduct external operations against Western targets and to mediate tensions between Al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and ISIL, formerly known as al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI). Al-Qaduli is a senior ISIL official who reintegrated himself into ISIL following his release from prison in early 2012 and traveled to Syria to work in a Syria-based ISIL network.

“We are very concerned about al-Qa’ida networks moving money and fighters to extremist groups in Syria,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “Our action today highlights al-Qa’ida and similar groups’ efforts to take advantage of the unrest in Syria and sends a strong warning to the legitimate Syrian opposition and those who wish to support it that they must reject the attempts of al-Qa’ida, ISIL, and al-Nusra to elicit support for their cause by preying on the sympathies of the international community for the plight of the Syrian people.”

As a result of today’s designation, any assets these individuals may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from doing business with them.

Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad Zafir Al-Dubaysi Al-Juhni

Al-Juhni is designated for acting for or on behalf of al-Qa’ida. He has performed various administrative duties for al-Qa’ida, including arranging the payment of funds, passing messages and arranging meetings for senior al-Qa’ida figures. Between 2006 and 2009, Al-Juhni provided logistical support to al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan. Al-Juhni was responsible for al-Qa’ida’s communications courier network in Waziristan in late 2008, and by mid-2009, was in charge of al-Qa’ida administrative affairs for several areas in North and South Waziristan. Before his departure from Pakistan to Syria, Al-Juhni served on al-Qa’ida’s Central Shura Council and as the al-Qa’ida Chief of Security responsible for counterintelligence.

Al-Juhni was listed in early 2011 by the Saudi Arabian Government as wanted in connection with membership or association with al-Qa’ida or its regional affiliates. He was charged by Saudi Arabian authorities with calling for armed combat; considering Saudi Arabia a legitimate field for battle; being a key al-Qa’ida leader in Afghanistan and Waziristan; traveling to Afghanistan to join al-Qa’ida; training in the use of various weapons, explosives and toxins; providing logistical support to al-Qa’ida in Afghanistan; calling for the murder of citizens and residents; and the targeting of important facilities and residential compo

 


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