In an announcement today, the U.S. Treasury Department has apparently delisted controversial Saudi businessman Yasin Al-Qadi from its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). Al-Qadi was originally designated in October 2001 as the Treasury department swung in to action targeting a wide swath of Islamic terrorist finance networks. Al-Qadi’s reported financial dealings included allegations of funding both Al Qaeda and Hamas.
Al-Qadi has always maintained his innocence, and despite global investigations, from the U.S to Switzerland to Turkey, no charges were ever filed, thanks in part to Qadi’s powerful connections, including to Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party. Al-Qadi’s close ties to Erdogan were exposed by Turkish security forces, as part of the ongoing struggle between Erdogan’s AKP and competing Islamist group the Gulen Movement.
In 2012 the United Nations delisted Al-Qadi, in a move widely panned by U.S. Counterterrorism experts. The decision by the U.S. Treasury Department to follow suit is extremely disappointing but not entirely surprising. Following the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial, while highly successful, the government has shown an extreme reluctance use the evidence gained from”following the money” to conduct further prosecutions. As in previous terrorism finance-related investigations, like Operation Greenquest, such investigations tend to lead to politically uncomfortable revelations about the depth and nature of the wide Global Jihadist Movement. Financiers like Al-Qadi, together with others like Youssef Nada and Ahmed Nasreddin reside at a nexus where Global Muslim Brotherhood organizations, international business, religious charity organizations, supposed U.S. allies (like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar) and jihadist groups including Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Al Qaeda all intersect.
As long as we are unwilling to recognize that the long war the U.S. and its Western allies face is more than simply a series of disparate and unconnected groups but in fact a global and highly interlinked movement, tied together at the highest level by influential men like Yasin Al-Qadi, and as long as we are more concerned with the political or diplomatic embarrassment that such investigations may cause than in reaching the truth, victory will continue to allude us.