GCC, US slap sanctions on Yemen 'terror' financiers

Feuding Gulf states agree to impose 'terrorist' financing sanctions on 11 people and two entities in war-torn Yemen.

    A suspected Yemeni al-Qaeda fighter holds a banner behind bars in Sanaa in 2013 [File: Hani Mohammed/AP]
    A suspected Yemeni al-Qaeda fighter holds a banner behind bars in Sanaa in 2013 [File: Hani Mohammed/AP]

    Qatar, the United States and five Gulf nations have imposed sanctions on 11 people and two organisations accused of financing al-Qaeda and ISIL in Yemen (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS), according to Qatari state media.

    Qatar's National Counter-Terrorism Committee said in a statement on Wednesday the individuals and entities would face asset freezes and travel bans, in a move that shows "Qatar's strong and continuous commitment to combatting terrorism and terrorism financing".

    "We are committed to taking the necessary steps to defeat terrorism in all its forms, and will continue to work closely with the United States to impose sanctions on those who facilitate terrorist activity," Major-General Abdulaziz A Al Ansari was quoted as saying by Qatar News Agency.

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    The announcement signalled rare cooperation between Qatar and some fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that have blockaded it for nearly five months.

    GCC members Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with Egypt, imposed the blockade on June 5, accusing Qatar of supporting "terrorism and extremism" - an accusation Doha vehemently denies. 

    "In terms of the Gulf crisis that we've seen over the last several months, Qatar is making sure it underlines that it is at the forefront of combatting terror," said Al Jazeera's senior analyst Marwan Bishara.

    Qatar signed an agreement in July with the US on intelligence and finance cooperation in tackling "terrorism".

    The Terrorist Financing Targeting Center (TFTC) was created in May and involves the US and the six members of the GCC: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman.

    "Both aim at the same objective which is how to make sure that in the global Gulf region there are no individuals and no entities that would be financing or abetting terrorism," Bishara said. 

    The TFTC's decision to impose sanctions was first announced on Wednesday by US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who was speaking at a conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

    "It's fascinating that Arab leaders are incapable of taking any single serious initiative that concerns their safety - the safety of their citizens, the wellbeing of their countries - without America and the American agenda bringing them together," said Bishara.

    "It's a sad situation."

      

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera News


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