US State Department has decided to place the new leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on its blacklist of terrorists. The Department, in a statement, said that it is listing Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, who took over the ISIS after the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).
According to the Department, al-Mawla succeeded al-Baghdadi to become the leader of ISIS and had been earlier active in ISIS’s predecessor organization, al-Qaeda in Iraq, and steadily rose through the ranks of ISIS to become the deputy. It added that the current ISIS leader helped drive and attempt to justify the abduction, slaughter, and trafficking of Yazidi religious minorities in northwest Iraq.
“We have completely destroyed ISIS’s so-called ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria, and we are taking the fight to its branches and networks around the world,” said the Department spokesperson in a statement.
The designation bars US citizens from engaging in any transactions with al-Mawla. The ISIS chief’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction will also be blocked. The Department highlighted that it is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide material support or resources to ISIS, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization and SDGT.
“This whole-of-government effort is destroying ISIS in its safe havens, denying its ability to recruit foreign terrorist fighters, stifling its financial resources, and helping to stabilize liberated areas in Iraq and Syria,” said the department.
In October 2019, the special US forces raided a compound in northwestern Syria where al-Baghdadi was residing with his family. According to US officials, the US troops blew holes in the building knowing that most of the tunnels connected to the building were dead-ends. Baghdadi was holed out in a tunnel where he dragged three children with him and blew himself up.