Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat—Saudi Arabia committed to implementing a UN Security Resolution targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Al-Nusra Front on Friday, after the measure blacklisted two Saudi nationals.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the UN, Abdullah Al-Maulamy, told Asharq Al-Awsat the Kingdom was always in agreement with the “international legitimacy” of the Council and its decrees, and that the latest resolution was being studied closely so that “decisions could be made in light of them.”
The Security Council unanimously adopted a UK-drafted resolution on Friday designed to attack the sources of funding for both groups, blacklisting six individuals believed to be associated with the groups and freezing their assets.
Two of the six individuals, Abdul-Mohsen Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Sharekh and Abdulrahman Mohamed Zafir Al-Dabidi Al-Jahani—both accused of links to the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front group currently active in Syria—were Saudi nationals.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, a senior informed source said that both men had previously been on Saudi Arabia’s most-wanted list.
Sharekh, who is believed to be approximately 30 years old, was accused of offering Al-Qaeda logistical support while still living in Saudi Arabia, before he left for Afghanistan to join Al-Qaeda in person, the source said.
His last known whereabouts are in 2007, when he travelled to Bahrain and then Iran, through which he reached Afghanistan. There, he rose through the ranks, becoming close to senior decision-makers in the organization.
He reportedly had a close relationship with Abu Khaled the Syrian, a former close aide of Osama Bin Laden and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, and became known as “[Ayman Al-]Zawahiri’s right-hand man,” according to the source.
Charekh was eventually sent to Syria once Al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, the Al-Nusra Front, joined in the country’s conflict, which erupted in 2011. There, he assumed a prominent leadership role in the coastal city of Latakia.
“He [Sharekh] was fighting with the Al-Nusra Front and was severely wounded. There were rumors he had been killed, but he was treated, and returned to work within the ranks of the group once again, though this time within an administrative capacity and not a military one, which is what led him to spend his time on . . . Twitter,” the source said.
Sharekh was very active on the website in recent months, using it to promote the Al-Nusra Front’s cause. He had also been involved in planning terrorist activities both inside and outside Saudi Arabia, and had raised funds for the group, the source added.
The source described Jahani, The other Saudi national on the UN’s list, as being an “important and dangerous” member of Al-Qaeda. According to the source, he also left Saudi Arabia to join Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, and from there went to Syria to fight alongside the Al-Nusra Front.