September 22, 2014 / 8:18 PM / 5 years ago

Exclusive: U.S., France propose U.N. sanctions on foreign Islamist fighters

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A United Nations Security Council committee is considering requests by the United States and France to blacklist more than a dozen foreign extremist fighters, fundraisers and recruiters linked to Islamist militant groups in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tunisia and Yemen.

A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds a weapon while another holds a flag in the city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

The bid to sanction people from France, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Senegal and Kuwait coincides with the expected adoption on Wednesday of a Security Council resolution to suppress foreign extremist fighters. U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to chair the meeting.

According to the confidential requests made to the Security Council’s al Qaeda sanctions committee, and obtained by Reuters on Monday, 15 names will be designated on Tuesday afternoon if no objections are raised. The listings could also be delayed for administrative reasons if a member needs more review time.

The action by the council also coincides with Obama’s call to build an international coalition to fight Islamic State militants, who have captured swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, proclaimed a caliphate in the heart of the Middle East and urged followers to attack citizens of various countries.

Among the people being considered for U.N. sanctions, which include a global travel ban, asset freeze and arms embargo, is Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Mustafa al-Qaduli, an Iraqi who is a senior Islamic State leader in Syria and previously served as a deputy to al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

In all, the United States has submitted 11 names and France four, according to the documented requests.

They show that the list includes Ahmed Abdullah Saleh al-Khazmari al-Zahrani, a Saudi Arabian senior member of al Qaeda, who left Afghanistan and Pakistan last year for Syria. The documents also say Azzam Abdullah Zureik Al-Maulid al-Subhi, a Saudi Arabian member of al Qaeda who “is responsible for the physical training of militants and for the coordination of foreign fighters who travel to Afghanistan” is also targeted for sanctions.

Ibrahim Suleiman Hamad al-Hablain, a Saudi Arabian explosives expert and operative for Abdallah Azzam Brigades, which was formed in 2009 an is connected to Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria is also listed. As is Seifallah ben Hassine, leader of Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, which has links to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. The group has been involved in recruiting youth in Tunisia for fighting in Syria.


Another person identified is Abd al-Rahman bin Umayr al-Nuaymi, who is described as having “facilitated significant financial support to al Qaeda in Iraq and served as an interlocutor between AQI leaders and Qatar-based donors.”

Abd al-Rahman Khalaf Ubayd Juday al-Anizi has been in Syria since 2013, where he was a facilitator for Nusra Front, sending operatives and logistics into Syria from the Gulf region. Since earlier this year, he has been providing a “wide range of support” to Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, according to the document.

Anas Hasan Khattab, a Syrian who helped form Nusra Front and is the group’s administrative leader, and Maysar Ali Musa Abdallah al-Juburi, an Iraqi who is Nusra’s sharia leader, are also included.

It adds Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti who is described as an active fundraiser for Nusra Front and “operates regular social media campaigns seeking donations for Syrian fighters.” A Norwegian, Anders Cameroon Ostensvig Dale, is described as a member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who made several trips to Yemen where he received training in how to make bomb belts, improvised explosive devices and car bombs.

“Dale’s ability to travel to many countries without visa restrictions has the potential to be used by AQAP to carry out an attack in those countries,” according to the draft listing narrative.

The United States has also asked for two groups, Abdallah Azzam Brigades in the Middle East and Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, to be blacklisted for links to al Qaeda.

Four names submitted by France include Emilie Konig, a French woman, who traveled to Syria in 2012 to fight for Islamic State, according to the draft list. It said Kevin Guiavarch and Salma Oueslati are a married French couple who went to Syria in 2012, where Guiavarch is fighting alongside Nusra Front militants. The couple also “support individuals who are planning to travel from France to Syria in order to join terrorist groups,” according to the entry.

Oumar Diaby, a Senegalese leader of an armed group with about 80 members in Syria that is linked to Nusra Front.

Diplomats said the U.N. Security Council has agreed a U.S.-drafted resolution, scheduled to be formally adopted on Wednesday, that aims to “prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping” of people to another country to perpetrate, plan, prepare or participate in extremist attacks.

The United Nations logo is displayed on a door at U.N. headquarters in New York February 26, 2011. REUTERS/ Joshua Lott

The text “decides all states shall ensure their domestic laws and regulations establish serious criminal offenses sufficient to provide the ability to prosecute and to penalize in a manner duly reflecting the seriousness of the offense”.

The resolution generally targets foreign extremist fighters traveling to conflicts anywhere in world, but has been spurred by the rise of Islamic State and Nusra Front in Syria and Iraq.

The draft resolution is under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which makes it legally binding for the 193 U.N. member states and gives the Security Council authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or force. The draft text, however, does not mandate military force to tackle the foreign fighter issue.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Grant McCool

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