From time to time, the United States identifies individuals who are crucial to the operation or specific agenda of a terrorist organization. Most often these are a part of the leadership, or they help finance terrorist organizations. In all cases, these are people who have committed, or are deemed to pose a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism.
Designated nationals are sanctioned by the U.S. government: their assets within U.S. reach are immediately frozen, and they are locked out of the global financial network. No U.S. citizen or company may conduct business with them. In this way, the United States disrupts financial support networks for terrorists and terrorist organizations.
In the continuing effort to combat terrorism in all its forms, and to confront all those who commit or incite terrorist acts, the United States Department of State has listed Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi and Ahmad Hasan Yusuf as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224.
Alawi is affiliated with the Bahrain-based al-Ashtar Brigades. Yusuf is an Iran-based al-Ashtar Brigades senior member.
Al-Ashtar Brigades receives significant funding and support from Iran and has claimed responsibility for at least 20 attacks in Bahrain, chiefly against the country’s security forces, including a 2014 bomb attack that killed two local police officers and an officer from the United Arab Emirates. Although the Al-Ashtar Brigade operates mainly in Bahrain, it also targets security forces of other Gulf nations, such as Saudi Arabia.
The designations of Alawi and Yusuf follow a recent increase in militant attacks in Bahrain, where Iran has provided weapons, funding, and training to militants. This marks yet another step in our continued effort to aggressively target Iran’s destabilizing and terrorism-related activities in the region.
The United States will continue to stand with Bahrain in addressing these threats, even as we encourage the government to clearly differentiate its response to violent militia groups from its engagement with peaceful political opposition.