Libya Ripe for Further Exploitation by Extremist Militant Groups, Chair of Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Tells Security Council

27 October 2015
7544th Meeting (PM)

Libya Ripe for Further Exploitation by Extremist Militant Groups, Chair of Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee Tells Security Council

Members Hear How Fighters Cash in from Looting, Trafficking of Oil, Antiquities

Libya presented fertile ground for Al-Qaida and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS) to exploit an already difficult situation, the Chair of the sanctions committee monitoring those militant groups told the Security Council this afternoon.

Gerard van Bohemen (New Zealand), Chair of the 1267 (1999) and 1989 (2011) Sanctions Committee concerning Al-Qaida and associated individuals and entities, said that while some gains had been made against the two groups, a series of major challenges had hindered efforts to cut off their revenue streams.  He added that since his last briefing in June, the Committee’s Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team had presented two reports, the first, pursuant to resolution 2214 (2015), on the threat posed by Al-Qaida and associated groups in Libya, and the second on the impact of measures introduced in resolution 2199 (2015) against ISIL/ISIS.

Turning first to the report on Libya, presented on 12 October, he said it had found a potentially increasing threat from Al-Qaida and associated groups, including ISIL.  Libya was strategically valuable, given its proximity to Europe and to the African desert, its significant oil resources, widespread availability of arms and weak internal security.

The report concluded that ISIL’s Libya offshoot was the only known affiliate obtaining support from the main group in Syria and Iraq, he said, adding that its central command viewed Libya as an opportunity to expand its so-called caliphate.  ISIL had perpetrated attacks throughout the North African country and several of the individuals involved had not yet been designated.  To extend the reach of sanctions, Member States must provide further listing proposals to the Committee, he stressed.

At the same time, he continued, ISIL was seen by local people as a foreign terrorist organization not embedded in their communities.  States must exercise vigilance in relation to travel by individuals to Libya, he cautioned, adding that he would liaise with others on the possibility of a joint meeting to analyse any capacity gaps in Libya, including border control issues.  Finally, the report noted that regional terrorist groups, such as Ansar Al-Charia and Ansar Al-Charia Derna, had appeared to weaken since the creation of ISIL.

Discussing the second report, presented to the Committee in August, he recalled that a summary of the assessment of measures introduced in resolution 2199 (2015) had been circulated to the Security Council on 25 September.  The Committee had agreed several actions based on the Team’s recommendations, largely aimed at raising awareness of the threats posed by ISIL and Al-Nusra Front, and suggesting ways in which States and the private sector could eliminate the groups’ key revenue streams from oil smuggling, the looting and trafficking of antiquities, kidnap for ransom and illicit donations.

He said the Team had identified a series of major challenges that had complicated the implementation of those measures, including the difficulty of identifying the origin of seized crude oil and antiquities.  It had also noted that it would be premature to make a full assessment of the impact of resolution 2199 (2015) only five months after its adoption.

The Team was preparing a technical assistance note for business entities on the smuggling of oil and antiquities by ISIL, he went on.  Other agreed Committee actions, such as the production of a voluntary self-assessment tool and outreach with humanitarian actors, were forthcoming.

Describing the Committee’s other efforts, he said the Al-Qaida Sanctions List had been expanded in September with the inclusion of 20 names, reflecting the growing threat posed by ISIL and the efforts of States to propose designations.  The List now contained 247 individuals and 74 entities.  Additionally, the new Ombudsperson for the 1267 regime had started her responsibilities in early July, and there had also been changes in the Team’s composition, he said, adding that he planned to hold an open briefing for interested Member States in November.

The meeting began at 3:05 p.m. and ended at 3:15 p.m.

For information media. Not an official record.