Two Kuwait-based Al Nusrah Front financiers recently designated by the US as global terrorists, Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi and Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Sahib al-‘Ajmi, have surfaced over the past few days.
Hajjaj Al-‘Ajmi was arrested by Kuwaiti authorities at Kuwait’s international airport today as he returned from Qatar. According to Reuters, authorities would not comment on his detention.
On Aug. 17, Shafi al Ajmi was detained by Kuwaiti authorities at the border with Saudi Arabia as he reportedly returned from a pilgrimage. He was released after questioning by Kuwaiti officials.
The two Kuwaitis were added to the US’ list of global terrorists by the Treasury Department less than two weeks ago, on Aug. 6, along with another Kuwaiti, ‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf ‘Ubayd Juday’ al-‘Anizi. According to the designation:
Hajjaj Al-‘Ajmi serves as a funnel for financial donations to ANF [Al Nusrah Front] facilitators in Syria, traveling regularly from Kuwait to Syria to engage in financial activity on behalf of ANF and deliver money to the group. He agreed to provide financial support to ANF in exchange for installing Kuwaitis in ANF leadership positions. In early January 2014, he offered ANF money to lead a battlefield campaign in Homs, Syria.
[and Shafi] Al-Ajmi operates regular social media campaigns seeking donations for Syrian fighters and is one of the most active Kuwaiti fundraisers for ANF. In July 2014, he publicly admitted that he collected money under the auspices of charity and delivered the funds in person to ANF. Al-Ajmi also acknowledged purchasing and smuggling arms on behalf of ANF.
Hajjaj was also added to the United Nations’ list of global terrorists, in a set of designations published on Aug. 15, which stated that he is an Al Nusrah Front financier based in Kuwait. In addition, the UN designated another Kuwaiti financier for Al Nusrah, Hamid Hamad Hamid al Ali.
At the time the UN designations were announced, Kuwait’s UN envoy, Mansour Ayyad Al Otaibi, expressed regret at the designation of the two Kuwaitis and assured that the blacklisting could be removed and would not be permanent.
Hajjaj has vowed to take legal action to clear his name, and claimed he is not a terrorist, has no affiliation with any terrorist groups, and had simply sent aid to oppressed Syrians.
Shafi has similarly threatened legal action following his brief detention by Kuwaiti authorities. According to the Kuwait Times, the Kuwaiti government last year banned a TV show on which he appeared, because it incited hatred. On the show, Shafi called for armed opposition to the Assad regime, and urged his supporters to torture and kill Hezbollah fighters in Syria.
The Kuwait Times also reported that both Shafi and Hajjaj were back on Twitter with new accounts two days after their original accounts were deleted following the terrorism designations. In one of the new tweets, Hajjaj Al-Ajmi said: “Will continue supporting Islam and its people, and praise will be to Allah always. And only believers believe all what happens to them is for their own good.”
Shafi Al-Ajmi has tweeted: “We convey the good news to our brothers in Sham (Syria) that we will always be at their rescue, even if the infidels hate this. I tell American David Cohen (Deputy Treasury Secretary) that if Jesus (PBUH) the son of Mary was amongst you, you would label him a terrorist.”