Today, the United States of America added the “Al Nusrah Front” to the list of global terrorists and entities today.
US Department of State called the group “a new alias” for al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
In addition, US states that Al Nusrah is under the direct control of the AQI leader.
In her remarks today in Washington DC, Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland reports that the Department of State has amended the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 designations of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) to include the following new aliases: al-Nusrah Front, Jabhat al-Nusrah, Jabhet al-Nusra, The Victory Front, and Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant.
Ms. Nuland states that the Department of State previously designated AQI as an FTO under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
She narrates that the consequences of adding al-Nusrah Front as a new alias for AQI include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, al-Nusrah Front, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organization that are in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons.
Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr.
“During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.” – Ms. Nuland
Ms. Nuland explains that through these attacks, al-Nusrah has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes.
She adds that AQI emir Abu Du’a is in control of both AQI and al-Nusrah.
She says Abu Du’a was designated by the State Department under E.O. 13224 on October 3, 2011, and by the United Nations under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 on October 5, 2011.
“Abu Du’a also issues strategic guidance to al-Nusrah’s emir, Abu Muhammad al-Jawlani, and tasked him to begin operations in Syria.” – Ms. Nuland
The United States takes this action in the context of US overall support for the Syrian people, Ms. Nuland said.
Ms. Nuland cites that US has provided approximately $50 million in non-lethal assistance to the unarmed civilian opposition and nearly $200 million in humanitarian assistance to those affected by the violence in Syria.
According to Ms. Nuland, the violent, sectarian vision of al-Nusrah is at odds with the aspirations of the Syrian people, including the overwhelming majority of the Syrian opposition, who seek a free, democratic, and inclusive Syria.
“Extremism and terrorist ideology have no place in a post-Asad Syria, and all responsible Syrians should speak out against al-Qa’ida and other extremist elements.” – Ms. Nuland
She says that by opting for the use of force against its own people, the Asad regime has created the circumstances that attract the violent extremists of al Qa’ida.
Ms. Nuland pointed out that the sooner the political transition to a post-Asad Syria begins, the better it will be for the Syrian people and the region.
In October 2011, US designated Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, also known as Abu Du’a, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under section 1(b) of Executive Order 13224.
The Department’s Rewards for Justice program is also offering a $10 million reward for information that leads to the location of Abu Du’a.
Abu Du’a is reportedly in charge of running AQI operations currently based in Iraq and is responsible for managing and directing large scale operations, such as the August 28, 2011 attack on the Umm al-Qura mosque in Baghdad, which killed prominent Sunni lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi.
On August 15, 2011, a wave of AQI suicide attacks began in Mosul, Iraq, which has resulted in over 70 deaths. Shortly thereafter, AQI, under Abu Du’a’s direction, pledged on its website to carry out 100 attacks across Iraq in retaliation for bin Laden’s death.