The impunity of financiers of terrorism: the incredible Qatari example!

Roland Jacquard (*)

The Wall Street Journal’s recent revelations about failures and inadequacies of the UN sanctions program against the financing of terrorism, have made break out what many UN experts and officials knew and have denounced for many years.

The day after the attacks of September 11, 2001, I was part of the group of counterterrorist experts formed by the UN Security Council. And in this regard, I took part in putting in place the very first blacklists of organizations and individuals financing the terrorism, whose freezing of properties was ordered by the United Nations. 

I was still in office, in 2008, when Qatari Khalifa al-Subaiy was put on the UN blacklist for being one of the main people who financed the «brain» of September 11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

And now, more than a decade later, the UN documents, which served as a basis for the investigations of the Wall Street Journal, reveals that former executive of Qatar’s central bank has never stopped his activities as a «terror sponsor»! These document reveal that he contributed, in 2009 and again in 2012 and 2013, to the fund-raising for al-Qaeda networks in Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria!

Even worse, despite the freezing of his properties, by a double decision issued by the Security Council and the United States Treasury, he continued to have access to his accounts, in order to withdraw not less than $ 120,000 a year for a decade!

This absurd situation shows the limits of the system of control and application of sanctions imposed by the United Nations, which collide with the sovereignty of the States in which the concerned people live, with their lack of cooperation and sometimes with their complicity which offers to terrorist funders an almost total impunity.

In this respect, the example of Khalifa al-Subaiy is inspiring. The case of this Qatari citizen is, indeed, not insignificant. 

He is a close relative of the former Qatari Prime Minister’s and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hamad Bin Jassim al-Thani. In addition, he was at the time of the facts, which are blamed on him, senior executive of the central bank of Qatar, specifically responsible for the fight against money laundering and financial crime! 

And it’s exactly when he held this position he was guilty of funding a leader of terrorism but not the least of them: the very one who planned and directed the attacks of 9/11!

However, he has never been worried until March 2008. Date on which the Doha authorities have been forced to imprison him, following growing pressure from the US Treasury. But his imprisonmement lasted only six months. 

In October of the same year, his relays in the high spheres of Qatari power have intervened to release him. And impunity, which has thus been offered, allowed him to resume immediately his activities as a «terror sponsor» !  

* Writer and consultant, president of ​Roland Jacquard Global Security Consulting (RJGSC)