The United States added the Islamic State’s (ISIS) two primary propaganda media organizations to its terror list — Amaq News Agency and Al Hayat Media Center — on Thursday, thus depriving them of access to the US financial system.
“Amaq News Agency is part of the terrorist organization’s propaganda apparatus, and is used for claiming responsibility for ISIS or ISIS-inspired attacks, spreading terrorist messages online, and recruitment,” read a State Department statement.
Amaq and Hayat were described as “two media wings of ISIS.”
“Al Hayat Media Center is ISIS’s multilingual media outlet and is also used for recruitment purposes,” the statement added.
The move was made by executive order of President Donald Trump.
At the start of the conflict in May 2014, the State Department designated al-Qaida in Iraq alias “ISIL” [now ISIS] as a terrorist organization operating in Iraq and Syria. It noted that al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had issued a statement dismissing ISIL as part of al-Qaida or al-Nusra.
“We review our designations regularly and, as needed, make adjustments to ensure we remain current with nomenclature and other changes,” it explained in a statement at the time.
Earlier this month, Washington designated Iranian proxy Harakat al-Nujaba (HAN) and its leader Akram Abbas al-Kabi to the list.
The designations “seek to deny HAN and al-Kabi the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks.”
In addition to their assets, “property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.”
Washington describes HAN as an Iran-backed, Iraqi militia funded by but not under the control of the government of Iraq.
HAN has openly pledged loyalty to Iran and its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked about pressure on Iran through Iraq during his visit to Jerusalem on Thursday.
“The simple goal is to get Iran to behave like a normal nation: stop blowing up things around the world; stop fomenting terrorism; stop their assassination campaign in Europe; stop underwriting the Houthis, Hamas, Hizbollah,” he told reporters during a press briefing.
Baghdad’s control of Shiite militias and paramilitias was problematic during the ISIS conflict and continues to be so because the US-led coalition cannot provide direct air support or training to the Shiite forces, which often engage ISIS.
“The sanctions regime that we’ve put in place for designating those connected to Iranian malign activity, wherever we find then, including in places like Iraq,” explained Pompeo.