CATF Reports Sep. 21, 2016, 11:43am

On Thursday September 15th, the U.S. Treasury Department designated two men based in Turkey as ISIS financial facilitators and imposed sanctions against them. The sanctions applied to the two men, Mohamad Alsaied Alhmidan and Hussam Jamous, will freeze their U.S. held assets and will block U.S. citizens from engaging in business with them. According to the Treasury’s announcement, Alhmidan and Jamous have not only served as financial intermediaries and moved tens of thousands of dollars to ISIS, but they have also both facilitated the movement of foreign fighters for ISIS. In announcing the sanctions, acting Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence Adam Szubin stressed the important role of non-military tools in the campaign to defeat ISIS.

The new sanctions, which publically declare U.S. awareness of ISIS supporters on Turkish soil, come during a period of increasingly precarious and complex U.S.-Turkish relations. While the relationship between D.C. and Ankara was strained by accusations of involvement in the Turkish-coup attempt and of harboring the Gülen movement, the ongoing Syrian war has since served as a theatre for delicate cooperation. When Turkey sent its troops to push ISIS away from its border last month, the U.S. provided air support and has even deployed Special Operations Forces (SOF) to fight alongside Turkish troops. However, ongoing U.S. assistance to Syrian Kurds fighting ISIS has provoked Turkish displeasure while relations with Turkish-led opposition groups have flared.

While the U.S. has exposed and isolated supporters of terrorism in Iran, Qatar, and many other states, the announcement of Turkey-based facilitators of terrorism is rare although not unprecedented. The public nature of such an announcement does, however, make one wonder if geopolitical influences tied to recent developments in the U.S.-Turkey relationship prompted the public release. While the U.S. and others have not shied away from the use of sanctions for geopolitical leverage in the past, it seems most likely that Thursday’s announcement was an adherence to U.S. Treasury policy regardless of its larger implications.

From The Hill:

“These designations isolate [Alhmidan] and [Jamous] from the global financial system and expose their activities to the world,” said Adam Szubin, acting Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial Intelligence.  

“Today’s action marks the latest step in Treasury’s efforts to cut off ISIL’s finances and underscores that ISIL financial facilitators are not beyond the reach of the international campaign to defeat ISIL,” said Szubin, using the Obama administration’s preferred acronym for the terrorist group.”

Both Alhmidan and Jamous have helped move money and foreign fighters for ISIS, according to the announcement.”

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