From time to time, the United States identifies certain individuals as crucial to the operation of terrorist organizations. Most often these are top leaders, 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.
When such an individual is identified, the U.S. Government places that person's name on the Specially Designated Nationals List. His assets within U.S. reach are immediately frozen, and he is locked out of the global financial network. No U.S. citizen or company may conduct business with a designated individual. In this way, the United States disrupts financial support networks for terrorists and terrorist organizations.
The Secretary of State has designated Saleh al-Qarawi. Al-Qarawi goes by many names. He is known as Saleh Abudullah, Abdullah al-Qarawi, or Abu Yahya, Al Qarawi. In the past, he has used the names Najm Al-Kheir and Akhuk al Saghir. He is also known simply as Fawakeh, or Mootasem. He had been an associate of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the deceased former leader of Iraq's branch of Al-Qa’ida, and fought beside him in Iraq. Today he is a senior operative for the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, or AAB: a Lebanese extremist organization affiliated with Al-Qa’ida and the global jihad movement.
The AAB has claimed responsibility for last year’s bombing of the Japanese oil tanker M. Star as it lay anchored in the Strait of Hormuz. At the time, the tanker was laden with over three million barrels of oil. A small boat, laden with explosives and piloted by a suicide bomber, pulled up alongside the tanker and blew up. One person aboard the tanker was injured and the hull was damaged. The AAB are also known to have fired rockets from Lebanon into Israel.
Saleh Al-Qarawi is a Saudi citizen currently wanted for extradition by the Government of Saudi Arabia for participating in extremist activities abroad. He has also been listed as a potential threat by the Interpol.
Saleh Al-Qarawi has demonstrated his commitment to violence. This designation is intended to disrupt his ability to support the deadly agendas of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, Al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups with which he collaborates.