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Kuwait - Material Support

A number of fundraisers operating in more permissive jurisdictions particularly in Kuwait and Qatar are soliciting donations to fund extremist insurgents, not to meet legitimate humanitarian needs. The 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes, highlights the most significant steps countries and jurisdictions categorized as Major Money Laundering Countries have taken to improve their anti-money laundering (AML) regimes. Neither Kuwait nor Qatar are mentioned in this report.

The term material support includes actions such as providing a safe house, transportation, counterfeit documents, or funds to a terrorist organization or its members. It also includes any action that can assist a terrorist organization or one of its members in any way, such as providing food, helping to set up tents, distributing literature, or making a small monetary contribution. Material Support includes training, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, transportation and other physical assets, except medicine or religious materials.

The al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization Al Nusrah Front (ANF) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), previously known as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) have been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). ANF and ISIL continued to receive donations from private citizens located predominantly in the Arabian Peninsula to fund their operations. The recipients of these funds are often terrorist groups, including al-Qaidas Syrian affiliate, al-Nusrah Front, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group formerly known as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI).

The Nusra Front, Al Qaedas Syrian franchise, is supported by some based in Kuwait and in Saudi Arabia, even making their pitches on Saudi- and Kuwaiti-owned television networks.

Since at least 2008, Abd al-Rahman Khalaf Ubayd Juday al-Anizi worked with a senior ISIL facilitator and ISIL financial official to transfer funds from Kuwait to Syria. He also worked with an ISIL facilitator to pay for the travel of foreign fighters moving from Syria to Iraq. Al-Anizi worked to smuggle several foreign fighters from Kuwait to Afghanistan, likely to join al-Qaida and was involved in extremist facilitation activities with Iran-based al-Qaida facilitators, including the movement of extremists to Afghanistan via Iran.

Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi operated regular social media campaigns seeking donations for Syrian fighters and is one of the most active Kuwaiti fundraisers for ANF. In July 2014, he publicly admitted that he collected money under the auspices of charity and delivered the funds in person to ANF. Al-Ajmi also acknowledged purchasing and smuggling arms on behalf of ANF.

All the gulf intelligence agencies are competing in Syria and everyone is trying to get the lions share of the Syrian revolution, Sheikh Shafi al-Ajmi said in an interview on the Saudi-owned Rotana television network in 2013. He acknowledged his role buying weapons from Western-backed "military councils", who sometimes received arms from Qatar. When the military councils sell the weapons they receive, guess who buys them? Its me, he said. He defended the Nusra Front despite its ties to Al Qaeda. We should not stop supplying them with weapons, because they are still fighting Assad, he said.

Hajjaj Al-Ajmi served as a funnel for financial donations to Al Nusrah Front (ANF) facilitators in Syria, traveling regularly from Kuwait to Syria to engage in financial activity on behalf of ANF and deliver money to the group. He agreed to provide financial support to ANF in exchange for installing Kuwaitis in ANF leadership positions. In early January 2014, he offered ANF money to lead a battlefield campaign in Homs, Syria.

Both Shafi al-Ajmi and Hajaj al-Ajmi are Kuwaitis. Lawyers for both have said they raise money only for legitimate Syrian causes. The 2014 appointment in Kuwait of Nayef al-Ajmi to be both Minister of Justice and Minister of Islamic Endowments (Awqaf) and Islamic Affairs was a step in the wrong direction. Al-Ajmi has a history of promoting jihad in Syria. In fact, his image was featured on fundraising posters for a prominent al-Nusrah Front financier. And following his appointment, the Ministry of Awqaf announced it would allow non-profit organizations and charities to collect donations for the Syrian people at Kuwaiti mosques, a measure that can be easily exploited by Kuwait-based terrorist fundraisers.

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Page last modified: 16-06-2017 19:28:44 ZULU