UN lifts sanctions on al-Shabaab entrepreneurMarch 24, 2014
UN sanctions against al-Shabaab financier Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale have been lifted. The UN did not offer any explanation for the removal from their sanctions list. Last year the government of Somalia itself requested the removal, saying that Jim’ale “is innocent.”
The UN delisting notice lays out the grounds for the original sanctions. It is difficult to read their dossier and come away with an impression of innocence…
Ali Ahmed Nur Jim’ale (Jim’ale) has served in leadership roles with the former Somali Council of Islamic Courts, also known as the Somali Islamic Courts Union, which was a radical-Islamist element. The most radical elements of the Somali Islamic Courts Union eventually formed the group known as al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab was listed for targeted sanctions in April 2010 by the United Nations Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolutions 751 (1992) and 1907 concerning Somalia and Eritrea (the “Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee”). The Committee listed al-Shabaab for being an entity engaged in acts that directly or indirectly threaten the peace, security, or stability of Somalia, including but not limited to acts that pose a threat to Somali Transitional Federal Government.
According to the July 18, 2011 report of the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee’s Monitoring Group (S/2011/433), Jim’ale is identified as a prominent businessman and figure in the al-Shabaab charcoal-sugar trading cycle and benefitting from privileged relationships with al-Shabaab.
Jim’ale is identified as one of al-Shabaab’s chief financiers and is ideologically aligned with al-Shabaab. Jim’ale has provided key funding and political support for Hassan Dahir Aweys (“Aweys”), who was also listed by the Somalia/Eritrea Sanctions Committee. Former al-Shabaab Deputy Emir Muktar Robow reportedly continued to engage in political posturing within the al-Shabaab organization during the mid-2011. Robow engaged Aweys and Jim’ale in an effort to advance their shared objectives and consolidate their overall stance within the context of the al-Shabaab leadership rift.
As of fall 2007, Jim’ale established a front company in Djibouti for extremist activities called the Investors Group. The short term goal of the group was, through the funding of extremist activities and weapons purchases, to destabilize Somaliland. The group assisted in smuggling small arms from Eritrea through Djibouti into the 5th region of Ethiopia where extremists received the shipment. As of mid-2008, Jim’ale continued to operate the Investors Group.
As of late September 2010, Jim’ale established ZAAD, a mobile-to-mobile money transfer business and struck a deal with al-Shabaab to make money transfers more anonymous by eliminating the need to show identification.
As of late 2009, Jim’ale had a known hawala fund where he collected zakat, which was provided to al-Shabaab.
As of December 2011, unidentified donors from the Middle East were transferring money to Jim’ale, who in turn used financial intermediaries to send the money to al-Shabaab.
In 2009, Jim’ale worked with other like minded individuals to undermine the Somali TFG by not participating in Somali reconciliation efforts. As of late 2011, Jim’ale actively supported al-Shabaab by offering free communications, use of vehicles, food aid and political advisement and set up fundraisers for al-Shabaab through various business groups.
The request by Somalia for the UN to lift sanctions on Jim’ale suggests that the Somali government has been compromised by the very elements which it purports to be at war with. Just a couple years ago, Jim’ale was considered to be a security threat and an important al-Shabaab money man. Suddenly he’s free to roam about Africa again.
The lifting of the sanctions, which included an international travel ban, enables Jim’ale to resume his travels back and forth between Somalia and Djibouti. He holds passports with both countries.