- US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo issued a stern warning to cryptocurrency platforms on Friday against facilitating financial transactions that aid terrorist organizations.
- Addressing the audience at London’s Royal United Services Institute, a renowned foreign-policy think tank, Adeyemo emphasized that US authorities are keenly monitoring the role of crypto firms in potential terror funding.
- Amidst increasing concerns about Hamas leveraging digital currencies for its assault on Israel, the Treasury Department has taken a tougher stance on tracking international financial routes that potentially supported these activities.
- Just last week, the Treasury sanctioned 10 individuals and entities associated with Hamas.
- According to the crypto research firm Elliptic, before the assault on Israel, groups including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah had amassed about $93 million through cryptocurrencies.
- Adeyemo firmly stated that the US government would utilize all means at its disposal to pursue individuals or platforms implicated in facilitating resources for terrorist activities.
New Sanctions and Iran’s Role
- On Friday, the US broadened its efforts to suffocate Hamas’s funding, announcing another round of sanctions against those affiliated with the group following the recent attack on Israel.
- These sanctions shed light on Iran’s significant role in backing Hamas financially and operationally.
- Among those named in the sanctions are Khaled Qaddoumi, who functions as a bridge between Hamas and the Iranian government, and members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard.
- Other organizations, such as the Iranian Bonyad Shahid, linked with Palestinian Islamic Jihad, were also sanctioned for allegedly funneling millions via the Al-Ansar Charity Association in Gaza to support militant families.
- These sanctions are geared towards freezing US-based assets of the named entities and barring any financial transactions with them.
Wider International Efforts
- The US government’s recent sanctions underscore its commitment to severing Hamas’s financing sources by leveraging counterterrorism sanctions and international partnerships.
- The US Treasury dispatched two top-ranking officials to the Middle East and Europe in a bid to synchronize international efforts, ensuring Hamas cannot dodge prior sanctions.
- It’s estimated that Hamas holds assets worth $500 million, which it exploits for terror financing. – Emphasizing the US’s unwavering commitment, Adeyemo declared, “We will not hesitate to take action to further degrade Hamas’s ability to commit horrific terrorist attacks.”
- The sanctions announced recently also aim at businesses and their investors, which form part of Hamas’s financial web, designed to mask the true controllers of its assets.
- The Biden administration has been laser-focused on tracing the connections between Hamas and Iran. The US government also imposed fresh sanctions on Khaled Qaddoumi, a Jordanian national based in Tehran, and certain members of Iran’s military known for training Hamas and other groups.
- Adeyemo, during his visit to Europe, engaged with global counterparts to brainstorm strategies to choke off Hamas’s funding sources.
- Additionally, Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, conducted talks in Saudi Arabia and Qatar centered on counteracting terrorist financing.
A Multifaceted Approach to Counterterrorism Financing
The United States’ strategy in countering terrorism financing is multifaceted and not limited to just sanctions and warnings. The ongoing initiatives reflect the country’s commitment to curbing any form of support, both financial and operational, to terrorist organizations. One significant aspect of this commitment is the collaboration with allies and strategic partners globally.
Collaborative Efforts with Allies
- United Kingdom: Adeyemo’s recent visit to London underscores the importance of the UK as a pivotal ally in these endeavors. The two nations have historically shared intelligence, resources, and strategies to counteract global threats. Joint initiatives are anticipated to emerge from these recent discussions, strengthening the financial barriers against groups like Hamas.
- Middle Eastern Nations: The Treasury Department’s recent visits to Qatar and Saudi Arabia reflect the emphasis on engaging Middle Eastern nations more directly. As these countries are geographically closer to the epicenter of such activities, their cooperation and insight can prove invaluable in the larger goal of restricting funds to terror groups.
In a succinct statement at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Adeyemo drew parallels between the strategies employed by Hamas and the Russian government during its conflict in Ukraine to dodge sanctions. He also highlighted Iran’s pivotal role in extending “financial, logistical and operational support” to Hamas. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen reiterated the US’s intent by stating that they are actively seeking more ways to impose economic restrictions on Hamas. F
or more insights on this topic, visit the US Treasury Department’s official website.