By Patrick M Schmidt.
The United States Treasury has announced that its Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Unit has imposed sanctions on Kuwaiti citizens who are believed to be routing funding to militant groups in Syria and Iraq. The two groups have been identified as the Nursa Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“We and our international partners, including the Kuwaiti government, need to act more urgently and effectively to disrupt these terrorist financing efforts,” said David Cohen, Treasury's Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.
Mr. Cohen has previously called out Kuwait and Qatar for their roles in funding extremist activity in the region.
The full statement from the U.S. Department of the Treasury is shown below, along with details of the three men:
The U.S. Department of the Treasury today imposed sanctions on three key terrorist financiers under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. Two of the individuals designated today, Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi and Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Sahib al-‘Ajmi, are Kuwait-based and support the Syria-based, al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization Al Nusrah Front (ANF); one individual, ‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf ‘Ubayd Juday’ al-‘Anizi, is a financier and facilitator of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), previously known as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI).
Each has been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). ANF and ISIL continue to receive donations from private citizens located predominantly in the Arabian Peninsula to fund their operations. Today’s actions target individuals who play key roles in the external financing and facilitation of terrorists in Syria and Iraq, including particularly dangerous foreign fighters.
“Through fundraising appeals on social media and the use of financial networks, Shafi al-Ajmi, Hajjaj al-‘Ajmi, and al-‘Anizi have been funding the terrorists fighting in Syria and Iraq,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “We and our international partners, including the Kuwaiti government, need to act more urgently and effectively to disrupt these terrorist financing efforts.”
Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi
Al-Ajmi operates regular social media campaigns seeking donations for Syrian fighters and is one of the most active Kuwaiti fundraisers for ANF. In July 2014, he publicly admitted that he collected money under the auspices of charity and delivered the funds in person to ANF. Al-Ajmi also acknowledged purchasing and smuggling arms on behalf of ANF.
Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Shabib al-‘Ajmi
Hajjaj Al-‘Ajmi serves as a funnel for financial donations to ANF facilitators in Syria, traveling regularly from Kuwait to Syria to engage in financial activity on behalf of ANF and deliver money to the group. He agreed to provide financial support to ANF in exchange for installing Kuwaitis in ANF leadership positions. In early January 2014, he offered ANF money to lead a battlefield campaign in Homs, Syria.
‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf ‘Ubayd Juday’ al-‘Anizi
Since at least 2008, al-‘Anizi worked with a senior ISIL facilitator and ISIL financial official to transfer funds from Kuwait to Syria. He also worked with an ISIL facilitator to pay for the travel of foreign fighters moving from Syria to Iraq. Al-‘Anizi worked to smuggle several foreign fighters from Kuwait to Afghanistan, likely to join al-Qa’ida and was involved in extremist facilitation activities with Iran-based al-Qa’ida facilitators, including the movement of extremists to Afghanistan via Iran.
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.
Name: Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi
AKA: Dr. Shafi al-Ajmi
AKA: Sheikh Shafi al-Ajmi
AKA: Shaykh Abu-Sultan
DOB: 01 January 1973
POB: Warah. Kuwait
Address: Al-Uqaylah, Kuwait, Area 3, Street 327, Building 41
Name: Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Shabib Al-‘Ajmi
AKA: Hijaj Fahid Hijaj Muhammad Sahib al-Ajmi
AKA: Hicac Fehid Hicac Muhammed Sebib al-Acmi
AKA: Hajjaj bin-Fahad al-Ajmi
AKA: Sheikh Hajaj al-Ajami
AKA: Hajaj al-Ajami
AKA: Ajaj Ajami
DOB: 10 August 1987
Name: ‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf ‘Ubayd Juday’ al-‘Anizi
AKA: Abu Usamah al-Rahman
AKA: ‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf al-Anizi
AKA: Abu Shaima’ Kuwaiti
AKA: Abu Usamah al-Kuwaiti
AKA: Abu Usama
AKA: ‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf al-‘Anzi
DOB: Circa 1973
(Sources: US Treasury Dept, VOA)
(Terrorism image via Shutterstock)