Daesh funding terror attacks despite blows, Al-Qaeda remains resilient: UN report

Updated 11 August 2017
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Daesh funding terror attacks despite blows, Al-Qaeda remains resilient: UN report

NEW YORK: Daesh is still capable of sending funds to supporters and motivating attacks in Europe and elsewhere despite military pressure and falling revenue — and Al-Qaeda remains resilient especially in West Africa, East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, UN experts said in a report circulated Thursday.
The experts monitoring sanctions against the extremist groups said competition between Daesh and Al-Qaeda continues, but “shifting alliances” among fighters “and cooperation on the tactical level in several regions also allow them to move between various groups.”
The report said the extremist threat continues to rise in Southeast Asia, where Daesh wants to establish a foothold. It said recent events in the southern Philippines, where the city of Marawi has been under siege by Daesh-linked militants for more than two months, is evidence of this.
The experts said in the report to the UN Security Council that “the core” of Daesh is adapting to military pressure in Iraq and Syria by delegating decision-making responsibility to local commanders and switching to encrypted communications.
Several member states highlighted “the increasingly creative use of drones” by Daesh, primarily in Iraq and Syria. They said the group is developing the capability to design and construct larger drones which will increasingly enable it “to weaponize the drones, thereby increasing its ability to strike at a distance,” according to the report.
It said Daesh “continues to send funds to its affiliates worldwide” and is likely to do so as long as the group has the means. Daesh leaders have also sent money to places where the group doesn’t have affiliates in an attempt to prepare for its eventual defeat in Iraq and Syria, according to an unidentified UN member state quoted in the report.
The experts quoted several member states as saying Daesh fighters returning home generally fall into three categories: Those disenchanted with the extremist group “and terrorism as an ideology” who can potentially be deradicalized and reintegrated into society; a much smaller group of high-risk individuals who return with the aim of conducting “terror attacks”; and individuals who have cut ties with Daesh but “remain radicalized and are ready to join another terrorist group should the opportunity arise.”


US sanctions Chinese military unit for buying Russian jets, missiles

Updated 56 min 49 sec ago
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US sanctions Chinese military unit for buying Russian jets, missiles

  • It was the first time a third country has been punished under the CAATSA sanctions legislation for dealing with Russia
  • US sanctions are meant to punish Russia for its aggression in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, cyber attacks, interference in the 2016 elections, and other malign activities

WASHINGTON: The United States expanded its sanctions war against Russia to China on Thursday, announcing punitive measures against a Chinese military organization for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles.
Stepping up pressure on Moscow over its “malign activities,” the US State Department said it was placing financial sanctions on the Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Ministry of Defense, and its top administrator, for its recent purchase of Russian Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets and S-400 surface-to-air missiles.
Officials said it was the first time a third country has been punished under the CAATSA sanctions legislation for dealing with Russia, and signaled the Trump administration’s will to risk relations with other countries in its campaign against Moscow.
They also said that the US could consider similar action against other countries taking delivery of Russian fighter jets and missiles. US ally Turkey is currently talking with Moscow about an S400 deal.
“The ultimate target of these sanctions is Russia,” a senior administration official told journalists, insisting on anonymity.
“CAATSA sanctions in this context are not intended to undermine the defense capabilities of any particular country. They are aimed at imposing costs on Russia in response to its malign activities.”
CAATSA, or the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, was passed in 2017 as a tool that gives the Trump administration more ways to target Russia, Iran and North Korea with economic and political sanctions.
With regard to Russia, CAATSA arises from the country’s “aggression in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, cyber intrusions and attacks, interference in the 2016 elections, and other malign activities,” the State Department said.
The legislation allows the government to take action against those companies and individuals who have been placed on the CAATSA blacklist.
EDD and its director Li Shangfu became targets after taking delivery over the past year of the jets and missiles from Rosoboronexport, Russia’s main arms export entity already on the CAATSA blacklist for its support of the Assad regime in Syria.

More Russian entities added to blacklist
At the same time, the State Department also announced it was placing 33 Russian intelligence and military-linked actors on its sanctions blacklist under the CAATSA rules.
All of them — defense related firms, officers of the GRU military intelligence agency, and people associated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency disinformation group — have been on previous US sanctions lists and 28 of them have already been indicted by Russia election meddling investigator Robert Mueller.
“We will continue to vigorously implement CAATSA and urge all countries to curtail relationships with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors, both of which are linked to malign activities worldwide,” the State Department said.
The sanctions freeze any of EDD’s and Li’s assets in US jurisdictions.
They also restrict EDD’s access to global financial markets by blocking foreign exchange transactions under US jurisdiction or any transactions in the US financial system.
The senior official stressed that CAATSA is not going to be implemented across the board, but that the US was choosing Russia’s sale of “bigger ticket items” of “new, fancy, qualitatively significant stuff” that could have a “security impact” on the United States.
“The CAATSA was not intended to take down the economy of third party countries. It’s intended to impose appropriate pressures on Russia in response to Russian malign acts,” the official said.
The official declined to answer if the US would take similar action if Russia delivers S400 missiles to other countries such as Turkey, which is in talks to buy them.
However, he said, “You can be confident that we have spent an enormous amount of time talking about prospective purchases of things such as S-400s and Sukhois with people all around the world who may have been interested in such things and some who may still be.”
“We have made it very clear to them that these –- that systems like the S-400 are a system of key concern with potential CAATSA implications.”