The US Department of Treasury has imposed sanctions on two Qatari men and added them to its global terrorist watchlist for allegedly supporting extremist groups in Syria.
In a statement released yesterday, Adam J. Szubin, acting under secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said:
“These sanctions target two major facilitators of the al-Nusrah Front (ANF) and al-Qaida. Treasury remains committed to using our financial intelligence and authorities to unravel and disrupt the funding schemes exploited by terrorist groups.”
The two men have been identified as Sa’d bin Sa’d Muhammad Shariyan Al Kaabi and Abdul-Latif Bin Abdallah Salih Muhammad Al Kuwari.
According to the US government, Al Kaabi, also known as Abu Suad, fund-raised inside of Qatar as early as last year for ANF after the group requested money to buy weapons and food.
The 43-year-old also allegedly worked to facilitate a ransom payment for a hostage held by ANF, and has been providing support to the group in Syria since at least 2012, the treasury said.
Meanwhile, Al Kuwari, 41, apparently served as an Al Qaeda security official and collected financial support for the group from Qatari donors, the US said.
He also allegedly worked with known Al-Qaeda operatives in the early 2000s to transfer money to the group in Pakistan.
It is unclear if the two men are in Qatar, or if they are being held by authorities.
The Gulf country has been cracking down on charities that send funds abroad amid criticism that it is not doing to stop individuals from fundraising for extremist groups.
This latest designation comes the same week that US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Qatar to discuss Iran and the importance of establishing stability and security in the Middle East with Gulf leaders.
Also this week, Qatar’s foreign minister defended the country against accusations that it is communicating with Al-Qaeda-linked groups such as Al Nusra front in Syria.
“All these rumors against Qatar defending the extremists or supporting the extremists in Syria (have) no truth.”
One of the most recent Qataris to be added to the watch list is Abdul Rahman Bin Umair Al Nuaimi.
In December 2013, the US government said that Al Nuaimi – a former Qatar University professor – was at one point overseeing the transfer of more than $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq.
He was also accused of ordering the transfer of nearly $600,000 to al-Qaeda via its representative in Syria. Al Nuaimi denied the accusations.
Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that Abdul Rahman Bin Umair Al Nuaimi is among the most recent Qataris to be added to the watch list, but not the most recent case.