Treasury Designations Intensify Pressure on ISIL in Advance of Joint Meeting between the Financial Action Task Force and the Counter ISIL Finance Group
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designations of senior ISIL oil official Faysal al-Zahrani, foreign fighter facilitator Husayn Juaythini, and senior ISIL official Turki al-Binali pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. These designations support President Obama’s strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL. These designations also further Treasury’s efforts to attack ISIL’s finances and disrupt its ability to profit from illicit oil sales within its territory in Iraq and Syria by inhibiting these individuals from accessing the international financial system. They also support work by the broader counter-ISIL Coalition, including Operation Tidal Wave II, which consists of deliberate targeting and precision airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to disrupt ISIL’s control of oil-related resources. As a result of today’s actions, any property or interest in property of the individuals designated by Treasury within U.S. jurisdiction is frozen. Additionally, transactions by U.S. persons involving the designated individuals are generally prohibited.
“Treasury and our partners worldwide are aggressively targeting ISIL’s ability to earn and make use of its money, and we are making progress on many fronts,” said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “Today’s action targets key ISIL leadership figures responsible for oil and gas production, foreign terrorist fighter recruitment and facilitation, and other financial facilitation.”
In a speech
on Monday at Chatham House in London, Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Daniel Glaser highlighted the recent progress that the U.S. government has made in weakening ISIL’s ability to generate wealth and disrupt its ability to make use of the money it raises.
The Treasury Department announces this action in advance of the first-ever joint session of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL’s Counter ISIL Finance Group (CIFG), which is taking place on February 14 in Paris. The CIFG is co-chaired by Italy, Saudi Arabia, and the United States and has 37 participating member states and organizations. The group focuses on enhancing international collaboration to disrupt the financial and economic activities of ISIL. The FATF is the international standard-setting body for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. It develops recommendations and promotes effective implementation of key anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism measures that deprive terrorist groups, like ISIL, of access to the international financial system. The purpose of the FATF-CIFG joint session is to bring together the leading international bodies focused on ISIL financing to more effectively share information and coordinate efforts. The session will focus on recent ISIL financial activity, ongoing efforts to deny ISIL access to the international financial system, strategies to prevent ISIL from financing its branches or foreign fighters, and recent United Nations Security Council Resolutions that facilitate efforts to disrupt ISIL’s finances.
Faysal Ahmad ‘Ali al-Zahrani
Treasury designated Faysal Ahmad ‘Ali al-Zahrani for acting for or on behalf of ISIL and for providing financial support to ISIL. In July 2014, al-Zahrani joined ISIL’s natural resources ministry, which oversees ISIL’s trade in oil and gas. As of May 2015, al-Zahrani was the ISIL oil and gas division official for Al Barakah Governorate, Syria, serving directly under ISIL oil and gas emir for Syria Fathi Awn’ al-Murad la Tunisi, also known as Abu Sayyaf, who was killed by Coalition special forces in a raid in eastern Syria that same month. Prior to Abu Sayyaf’s death in May 2015, al-Zahrani regularly transferred funds to him. As of June 2015, al-Zahrani supervised the daily activities of the workforce of an ISIL-managed oil production plant in Rukaybah, al-Hasakah Province, Syria, and by August 2015 was in charge of all ISIL oil and gas activities in al-Hasakah Province, which included supervising oil auctions to local merchants. Following the May 2015 death of a separate ISIL oil official, who previously oversaw a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) production site on the Rukaybah oil production plant compound, al-Zahrani assumed control and oversight of VBIED production. As of December 2015, al-Zahrani remained responsible for ISIL oil and gas activities in the areas around Shaddadi, al-Hasakah Province, Syria.
In his role as head of ISIL’s oil and gas division in Al Barakah, Syria, al-Zahrani oversaw the activities of seven ISIL oil and gas officials and, as of January 2015, held control of at least five oil fields. Based on the profits generated from oil fields in Al Barakah governorate, al-Zahrani sent the ISIL treasury tens of millions of dollars in oil and gas revenues between September 2014 and March 2015.
Treasury designated Husayn Juaythini for providing support and services to ISIL by facilitating communications and the movement of foreign terrorist fighters and conducting financial activities in support of ISIL. Juaythini travelled to Syria in September 2014 to pledge allegiance to ISIL and was tasked to return to Gaza and establish a foothold for ISIL there. Juaythini was the link between ISIL leader and U.S.- and UN-designated Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and armed groups in Gaza, and had money that he was using to build an ISIL presence in Gaza.
Juaythini not only maintains ties with ISIL, but as of mid-2014 was deputy head of the extremist group and U.S.-designated SDGT Mujahidin Shura Council (MSC). In 2013, Juaythini attempted to acquire supplies for the MSC in the environs of Jerusalem to conduct attacks against Israel and help the group overcome financial difficulties. He also worked with a Libya-based facilitator, who served as the primary money and weapons facilitator for Juaythini’s activities in Gaza. As of January 2015, Juaythini was instrumental in fostering connections between Gaza- and Libya-based terrorists, and facilitating their travel to Syria.
Turki Mubarak Abdullah Ahmad al-Binali
Treasury also designated Turki al-Binali for acting for or on behalf of ISIL as early as May 2015. Binali is a recruiter for ISIL foreign fighters, and provides literature and fatwas for ISIL training camps and has written several pamphlets to recruit more fighters to ISIL, including the first call for Muslims to pledge allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as caliph. As of March 2014, Binali led an ISIL support network actively recruiting Gulf nationals to join ISIL in Syria.
Further, in November 2014, Binali was appointed to the post of chief religious advisor for ISIL. In late June 2015, Binali announced on social media that ISIL’s next attack, following its bombing of a Shia mosque in Kuwait days earlier, would be in Bahrain.
On January 31, 2015, the Bahraini government revoked Binali’s citizenship.
For more identifying information on today’s action, please click here