From time to time, the United States identifies certain groups as terrorist networks, and certain individuals belonging to them as crucial to the operation of these organizations. Most often these are top leaders, or they help finance these groups. In all cases, they are people and groups who have committed, or are deemed to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
When such an individual or group is identified, the U.S. Government places their name on the Specially Designated List. All assets belonging to them that are within U.S. reach are immediately frozen, and the designated entities are effectively locked out of the global financial network. No U.S. citizen or company may conduct business with a designated individual or entity. In this way, the United States disrupts financial support networks for terrorists and terrorist organizations.
The United States Department of State has designated Abdallah Azzam Brigades, or AAB, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, holding it responsible for multiple and indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. The group is also responsible for the July 2010 attack on a Japanese-owned oil tanker as it lay at anchor in the Strait of Hormuz. At the time, the tanker was laden with over three million barrels of oil. One person aboard the tanker was injured and the hull was damaged.
The Abdallah Azzam Brigades is a militant organization based in both Lebanon and the Arabian Peninsula. It was formed sometime after 2004 as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq and began operating in 2009. The group’s founder, Saleh al Qarawi, a Saudi citizen also known as Najm Al-Kheir, Akhuk al Saghir, Fawakeh, or Mootasem, was designated as a terrorist by the Department of State earlier this year.
These designations play a critical role in the global fight against terrorism. They are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to abandon terrorism.
By designating Abdallah Azzam Brigades and its leader, the United States is taking a decisive step toward cutting off their funds, disrupting their ability to execute their deadly agendas, and ensuring they find it ever more difficult to carry out their acts of violence.