By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli/Tunis, 5 November 2014:
The UN Security Council has been asked by three of its permanent members – France, the . . .[restrict]United Kingdom and the United States – to add Ansar Al-Sharia to the UN terror list because of its activities in Libya.
The Libyan-based group is already on the US terror list for its role in the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that left the US ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American diplomatic staff dead.
In the request to the UN, the three countries asked that Ansar Al-Sharia in both Benghazi and Derna be blacklisted, insisting that they had ties to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (IQIM) and other terrorist groups.
Under its own rules, the Security Council has until 19 November to object to the request. If there is no objection, the request becomes automatically effective.
The sanctions would fall within the remit of those imposed on Al-Qaeda and would be operated by the UN’s Al-Qaeda committee rather than the Libya sanctions committee.
This was confirmed by spokesman for the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Samir Ghattas who told the Libya Herald that they would be treated separately from those outlined by the Security Council in Resolution 2174 in August. The resolution stipulates that measures can be brought against individuals deemed to be obstructing peace in the country.
The UN’s Al-Qaeda resolution sanctions include the freezing of assets, travel bans and an arms embargo against individuals or organisations associated with Al-Qaeda wherever they are. The measures would allow the UN to move against Ansar separately from anyone named as a result of Resolution 2174 as having caused instability in Libya.
According to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who drafted the Ansar petition, sanctions against the group would help to prevent Libya from becoming more violent.
According to the petition, there is evidence that the Benghazi branch operates several training camps whose recruits feed mainly into Syria and Iraq, with some going to Mali.
Twelve of the 24 jihadists who attacked the In Amenas gas complex in Algeria in 2013 trained in the Ansar Al-Sharia camps in Benghazi, the petition said.
The Derna branch also played a role in the 2012 attack on the US mission in Benghazi and is known to operate camps in Derna and Jebel Akhdar for training jihadists bound for Syria and Iraq.
This month, Ansar Al-Sharia in Derna pledged allegiance to ISIS, setting up an Islamic court and police force, as well as conducting public floggings, the petition added.
Speaking ahead of a closed session report by Bernadino Leon to the UNSC in New York today, the head of the UN sanctions committee Gary Quinlan said yesterday that the UN was still deciding how to apply sanctions through Resolution 2174.
“I don’t want to say we’re about to impose sanctions – there was no discussion of that in substance but the issue of sanctions and whether they should be applied or would be useful was raised by a number of people for us to think about,” he told reporters.
In September, the UN’s Al-Qaeda committee imposed sanctions on Ansar Al-Sharia in Tunisia. It said the group had supported Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and highlighted a number of attacks it had been involved in, including on the United States Embassy and the American Community School in Tunis as well as on two tourist sites in Tunisia.
The US has already designated Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya as a terrorist organisation, stating in January that Ansar Al-Sharia in Derna and Ansar Al-Sharia in Benghazi were separate entities. [/restrict]