US State Department issues country reports on terrorism 2019, doubles reward for information on ISIS leader

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WASHINGTON, USA – The State Department released its annual country reports on terrorism, detailing key developments in 2019 in the global fight against ISIS, al-Qa’ida, Iranian proxies, and other international terrorist groups.

The report notes that the United States and its partners made major strides to defeat and degrade international terrorist organizations in 2019. Along with the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, the United States completed the destruction of the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria in March. In October, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi died following a US military raid on his compound in Syria.

In April, the Secretary of State designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including its Qods Force, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization – the first-time part of a foreign government has been so designated. In September, president Donald Trump ordered the most significant update of US terrorism designation authorities since the aftermath of 9/11. And throughout the year, several governments in the Western Hemisphere and Europe announced the terrorist designations of Hizballah.

The report also discusses US efforts to address new and ongoing challenges, including the repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters, particularly to Western Europe; the expansion of ISIS branches and networks in Africa; and the threat of racially or ethnically motivated terrorism.

The report can be accessed here.

Meanwhile, the reward for Justice Program increased its reward to $10 million for information leading to the identification or location of ISIS’s new leader Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahma al-Mawla. This represents a doubling of the previous reward offer of up to $5 million announced in August 2019.

Al-Mawla — also known as Hajji Abdallah and Abu-‘Umar al-Turkmani succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of ISIS following Baghdadi’s death during a US military operation in October 2019.

Al-Mawla helped drive and justify the abduction, slaughter, and trafficking of members of Yazidi religious minority groups in northwest Iraq, and he oversees the group’s global operations.

Born in Mosul, Iraq, in 1976, al-Mawla was a religious scholar in ISIS’s predecessor organization, al-Qaida in Iraq, and steadily rose through the ranks of ISIS to become the deputy emir.

On March 18, 2020, the Department of State designated al-Mawla, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Section 1(a)(ii)(B) of Executive Order 13224, as amended by Executive Order 13886.

As a result of this designation, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with al-Mawla, and al-Mawla’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction will be blocked. In addition, it is a crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide material support or resources to ISIS.

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