In what can best be described as a symbolic gesture, the US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Yahya Abu Hammam, who is a leader of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb:
The Treasury described the Algeria-born Abu Hammam as the AQIM leader for the Sahel, a vast and arid region of North Africa, and said he has “played a key role in the group’s ongoing terrorist activities in North Africa and Mali.”
The group has kidnapped several foreigners in recent years, and the Treasury said that, as of 2011, Abu Hammam “reportedly had possession of multiple European hostages.”
The Treasury order will freeze all of Abu Hammam’s US assets and prohibit Americans from doing business with him.
The fact that the Treasury Department has waited until now to impose sanctions on this guy can only mean one of two things:
1. They did not know who he was or that he was an AQIM leader until recently.
2. They knew of him but didn’t think he was worth putting on the terror sanction list up until now.
Either way, this wreaks of government failure when it comes to waging the financial war on Al Qaeda.
How many Americans do you suppose are openly doing business with Abu Hammam? How many assets in his own name could he possibly have in the US?
Does anyone truly believe that this guy is keeping his money in a bank in the US? Or is it more likely that Abu Hammam and those like him are supported by deposits in Shariah-compliant banks in the Islamic world?
Why aren’t those banks themselves under intense scrutiny from the US Treasury?
This type of move by the US Treasury is purely political theater and is illustrative of an organization that is failing in its mission to wage the financial war on Jihadist terrorist organizations.