The UN adds Daesh’s leader to its official sanctions list, but what does it all mean?

On 21 May 2020 the United Nations Security Council 1267 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee added the new leader of Daesh, Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, to its official sanctions list.
This is an important milestone for the Global Coalition against Daesh, signalling our determination to bring Daesh members to justice and ensure the enduring defeat of the group.

Who is Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla?

Following the death of former Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla succeeded him to become the leader of Daesh. Al-Mawla, who has Turkmen ethnicity, was born in Mosul in 1976. He was active in Daesh’s predecessor organization, al-Qai’da in Iraq, and steadily rose through the ranks of Daesh to become the Deputy “Emir”. Daesh declared him their leader on 31 October 2019 in an audio message, following the death of al-Baghdadi.

Al-Mawla is also known by various aliases including Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, Abu ‘Umar al-Turkmani and ‘Hajji’ Abdallah.

Why has he been officially sanctioned?

Al-Mawla has been sanctioned because of his role overseeing the global operations of an officially listed terrorist organisation.

In addition, he helped drive and attempt to justify the abduction, slaughter, and trafficking of Yazidi religious minorities in northwest Iraq. These were crimes condemned by UN Security Council Resolution 2331, which notes Daesh’s use of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual slavery, sexual exploitation, and forced labour.

On 17 March 2020, the USA designated al-Mawla as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), meaning that US citizens are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him, and his property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked.
Subsequently, the UN Security Council 1267 Committee added al-Mawla to its ISIS and al-Qaida sanctions list. This means that restrictions on his movement, assets, and access to arms must now also be imposed on him across all UN member states.

In the UN, Al-Mawla has been officially sanctioned according to resolution 1267 and relevant iterations for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of” entities associated with Daesh and al-Qai’da.

How does the Sanctions Committee process work?

The ISIL (Da’esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee is comprised of all fifteen members of the United Nations Security Council. The responsibilities of the Committee include overseeing the implementation of sanctions and designating individuals and entities who meet the listing criteria set out in the relevant resolutions.

In order to propose an individual for inclusion on the sanctions list, a Member State or group of Member States must provide a detailed justification, including specific findings demonstrating that the listing criteria are met and details of any connection with a currently listed individual or entity, among other comprehensive requirements.

The ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida Sanctions List is updated regularly on the basis of relevant information provided by Member States and international and regional organizations. You can find the full list of sanctioned individuals here.

What do the sanctions involve?

As a result of his inclusion on the sanctions list, al-Mawla is subject to an assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo. It is also not permitted for anyone to engage in transactions with or knowingly provide qualifying resources to al-Mawla or Daesh.

How does this contribute to the defeat of Daesh?

The inclusion of al-Mawla on the UN sanctions list furthers the work of the Global Coalition’s counter-finance efforts to disrupt the flow of Daesh’s finances.

This is part of wider efforts to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh. Daesh no longer controls any territory in Iraq or Syria, and we continue to deny its ability to recruit foreign terrorist fighters, counter the false propaganda it disseminates over the internet and social media, and help to stabilize areas liberated from Daesh’s grip.

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