US imposes new Iran-related sanctions on Iraq-based firm, associates

An Iraq-based company and two associates have been sanctioned by the US for supplying millions of dollars' worth of weaponry to fighters from the Quds Force The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, whose Iraqi branch the Quds Force branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, pictured here in 2018. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 13 June 2019

US imposes new Iran-related sanctions on Iraq-based firm, associates

  • SWRC and two associates have “covertly facilitated the IRGC-QF’s access to the Iraqi financial system”
  • The IRGC-QF were previously sanctioned in October 2007

WASHINGTON: The US has imposed Iran-related sanctions on an Iraq-based company and two people, according to a notice posted on the US Treasury Department website on Wednesday.

The Treasury said in a statement that it had imposed the sanctions on South Wealth Resources Company (SWRC) and two of its Iraqi associates, which the US accuses of trafficking hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to militia in Iraq backed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF).

SWRC and the two associates have “covertly facilitated the IRGC-QF’s access to the Iraqi financial system to evade sanctions,” the statement said. 

The Treasury added that the scheme also served to enrich previously sanctioned Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, an Iraqi adviser to IRGC-QF Commander Qasem Soleimani, who has run weapons smuggling networks and participated in bombings of Western embassies and attempted assassinations in the region.

“Treasury is taking action to shut down Iranian weapons smuggling networks that have been used to arm regional proxies of the IRGC Qods Force in Iraq, while personally enriching regime insiders,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

“The Iraqi financial sector and the broader international financial system must harden their defenses against the continued deceptive tactics emanating from Tehran in order to avoid complicity in the IRGC’s ongoing sanctions evasion schemes and other malign activities.”

The IRGC-QF were previously sanctioned in October 2007. It is a branch of the IRGC responsible for external operations and, according to the US Treasury, has provided material support to numerous terrorist groups, including the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, HAMAS, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The US has designated it a key component of Iran’s destabilizing regional activities. 

The IRGC-QF’s parent organization, the IRGC, was sanctioned in October 13, 2017, and on April 15 was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the Secretary of State.


Arabs reject religion’s role in politics

Updated 09 December 2019

Arabs reject religion’s role in politics

  • Appeal of militant groups such as the Al Qaidam Daesh, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and Taliban are in decline, poll suggests
  • The YouGov survey was commissioned by Arab News in partnership with the Arab Strategy Forum, which takes place today in Dubai

DUBAI: Militant groups in the Arab world face a gradual decline and most Arabs oppose the use of religion for political gain, a new survey suggests.

The appeal of extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and the Taliban is likely to fade over the next 10 years, researchers found.

The survey indicates that most Arabs view corruption as the main problem in their home country and the leading cause of conflict in the Arab world.

 

Daesh (Islamic State) fighters march in Raqqa, Syria, at the height of their power in 2014. (AP file photo)

Researchers also found overwhelming approval for developments in female empowerment such as Saudi women driving and a new inheritance law in Tunisia, and most Arabs expect further progress in their own countries in the next 10 years.

The survey’s findings on political Islam were “good news” for the region, said political science professor Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla. The Middle East had had enough of extremism and Arabs realized that political groups based on religion were “taking them nowhere,” Abdulla told Arab News.

“Indeed, we have seen the ugly face of it during the four to five years of Daesh’s control of large areas in Syria and Iraq. So it is natural to see there is a decline in the popularity of these parties. But much more important are the predictions that support for religious parties, whether moderate or extremist, is in sharp decline.

Opinion

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“People are becoming aware that there has been some kind of abuse and overuse of people’s emotions for political gains by these religious movements. The foremost is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is going through its worst moment.”

The YouGov survey was commissioned by Arab News in partnership with the Arab Strategy Forum, which takes place today in Dubai. The 12th annual event will explore events and trends expected over the next 10 years, with 18 key speakers including former ministers, government officials, industry experts, international strategists, writers and media professionals. 

 

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