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Iraq and Syria: U.S. sanctions wealthy Muslims funding terrorist groups

The United States government announced they have imposed sanctions on three Muslim individuals for their surreptitious sending of money, arms and foreign fighters to Islamist organizations terrorizing the people of Syria and Iraq, especially the former al-Qaida in Iraq (AQII) offshoot that now calls itself Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Another group of wealthy Muslims are being sanctioned by the U.S. for financing and assisting terrorist organization.
Another group of wealthy Muslims are being sanctioned by the U.S. for financing and assisting terrorist organization.Getty Images/AFP

Two of the men targeted are Kuwaiti nationals Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi and Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Sahib al-'Ajmi who alleged for gave money and arms to groups such as al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-linked extremist group that is fighting the Syrian government.

Meanwhile, the third suspect, 'Abd al-Rahman Khalaf 'Ubayd Juday'al-'Anizi, who was targeted by the Treasury Department is accused of financing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria, also a splinter group of al-Qaida, that has invaded cities and towns in northern and western Iraq. ISIS then declared on June 29 the establishment of a caliphate in areas under its control in both Iraq and Syria.

According to counterterrorism experts, the Treasury Department claims it performs a valuable service in providing protection for Americans and foreign nations initiating economic sanctions against threats to the U.S., identifying and targeting the financial support networks of terrorist and organized crime groups, as well as safeguarding of America's financial systems.

"The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence marshals the department's intelligence and enforcement functions with the twin aims of safeguarding the financial system against illicit use and combating rogue nations, terrorist facilitators, weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferators, money launderers, drug kingpins, and other national security threats." according to a Treasury Department statement.

The OTFI has officially designated the three Islamists as "specially designated global terrorists" and the economic sanctions against them not only freezes their assets under U.S. jurisdiction, it also bars Americans from doing business with them.

"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 David Cohen, under secretary of Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

"We and our international partners, including the Kuwaiti government, need to act more urgently and effectively to disrupt these terrorist financing efforts," he said in a statement.