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Friday, December 20, 2013

Latest Treasury designation targets al Qaeda's fundraising network -- By Thomas Joscelyn, The Long War Journal

A newly released designation by the US Treasury Department identifies two alleged al Qaeda supporters who have raised funds for the terror network. The fundraising has benefited multiple al Qaeda branches, according to Treasury, and has at times totaled millions of dollars per month.

Some of this money has been funneled through a longtime al Qaeda operative known as Abu Khalid al Suri, who served as one of Osama bin Laden's most trusted couriers prior to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and is now Ayman al Zawahiri's main representative in the Levant. Al Suri is also a founding member of Ahrar al Sham, an al Qaeda-allied extremist group in Syria. [See LWJ report, Syrian rebel leader was bin Laden's courier, now Zawahiri's representative.]

One of the two alleged al Qaeda supporters identified by Treasury is 'Abd al-Rahman bin 'Umayr al-Nu'aymi, who is described as "a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade." Nu'aymi "was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists."

The designation makes it clear that al Qaeda's Gulf donors are still funneling money to al Qaeda.

"In 2013," the Treasury designation reads, "Nu'aymi ordered the transfer of nearly $600,000 to al Qaeda via al Qaeda's representative in Syria, Abu-Khalid al-Suri, and intended to transfer nearly $50,000 more."

It appears the Treasury Department is referring to al Qaeda's senior leadership in South Asia as the recipient of Nu'aymi's funds. If so, the designation highlights the degree to which al Qaeda's fundraising continues to rely on a cohesive network that reaches from the Gulf, through the Levant and Middle East, and into South Asia.

Nu'aymi "was designated for providing financial support to al Qaeda, Asbat al Ansar, al Qaeda in Iraq, and al Shabaab." Asbat al Ansar is based in the Ayn al-Hilwah Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. Al Qaeda in Iraq (now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, or Levant) and Shabaab are official al Qaeda branches.

As recently as 2012, according to Treasury, Nu'aymi has been funneling cash to Shabaab leaders. As of mid-2012, Nu'aymi "provided approximately $250,000 to two US-designated al-Shabaab figures, Mukhtar Robow and Sheikh Hassan Aweys Ali," who are longtime al Qaeda-connected leaders in Somalia.

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