Today, Anwar al-Aulaqi, an operative of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and member of the group’s senior leadership, was added to the United Nations 1267 Committee’s Consolidated List of individuals and entities associated with al Qa’ida or the Taliban. The United Nations 1267 Committee’s listing of Aulaqi requires all UN Member States to implement an assets freeze, travel ban, and arms embargo against this individual.
On Friday, July 16, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated al-Aulaqi under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism. These tandem actions will help stem the domestic and international flow of finances to al-Aulaqi, and to AQAP, which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Al-Aulaqi pledged an oath of loyalty to AQAP emir, Nasir al-Wahishi, and has taken on an increasingly operational role in the terrorist group, which includes preparing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for his attempted detonation of an incendiary device aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit on December 25, 2009. Abdulmutallab swore allegiance to the emir of AQAP in November 2009 and shortly thereafter received instructions from Aulaqi to detonate an explosive device aboard a U.S. airplane over U.S. airspace. After receiving this direction, Abdulmutallab obtained the explosive device he used in the attempted Christmas Day attack.
Al-Aulaqi also recruits individuals to join AQAP, facilitates training at camps in Yemen in support of acts of terrorism, and encourages AQAP’s focus on planning attacks on U.S. interests.
Al-Aulaqi was imprisoned in Yemen in 2006 on charges of kidnapping a Shiite teenager and, separately, for his involvement in an al-Qa'ida plot to kidnap a U.S. official. However, he was released from jail in December 2007 and subsequently went into hiding in Yemen.
The actions taken today against al-Aulaqi support the international effort to degrade AQAP’s capabilities to execute violent attacks and to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat their networks.
“Today’s designation of Anwar al-Aulaqi is in direct response to the operational role he plays in AQAP, and most importantly because of the integral part he played in planning AQAP’s attempted destruction of Northwest Airlines flight 253 over the United States,” said Ambassador Daniel Benjamin, the Department of State’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism. “Anwar al-Aulaqi and AQAP actively engage in terrorist plotting with the intent to harm U.S. citizens. The UN’s listing of al-Aulaqi highlights the threat al-Aulaqi poses to the international community.”
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