Via Counter Terror Blog:
Today, the US Department of the Treasury designated three leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah for their role in perpetrating terrorist acts in Southeast Asia. link They were designated under Executive Order 13224 that will be jointly submitted to the UN’s 1267 Committee for terrorist financing with Australia. This was the third round of JI designations sponsored by the United States, since January 2003. On 24 January 2003, two JI leaders were designated, followed by the 5 September 2003 designation of ten more individuals. That same day, the Malaysian government directly submitted the names of ten Malaysian nationals to the UN’s 1267 Committee.
Today’s designations include three Indonesians, Zulkanaen, Dulmatin and Abu Rusdan.
Zulkarnaen is a member of JI’s shura and currently in charge of its military operations. He was born in Central Java, Indonesia in 1963 and is in charge of all terrorist attacks, intelligence, and training. A graduate of Abdullah Sungkar and Abu Bakar Ba’asyir’s Al Mukmin School in Ngruki, Solo, he was one of the first JI members to go for advanced training in Al Qaeda’s Afghan camps. He is believed to have spent almost a decade in Afghanistan training other JI members. Zulkarnaen has been active in the recruitment of suicide bombers, including a 15-man suicide cell known as the Laskar Khos. He is currently at large.
Dulmatin (Joko Pitoyo) is one of the group’s top bomb-makers. Like Zulkanaen, he was born in Central Java, Indonesia, in 1970. He is also a graduate of the Al Mukmin School. Though he had no formal scientific schooling, he has considerable technological skills and became the protégé of the organization’s leading bomb-maker, Dr. Azahari bin Husin. He was involved in constructing JI’s first bombs in 2000, as well as the Bali and JW Marriott bombs. He is currently at large, and is believed to be in Mindanao, Philippines, where he conducts training for JI, Abu Sayyaf and MILF members.
Abu Rusdan, was captured in Indonesia in 2003. In February 2004, he was sentenced to an exceptionally light sentence of 3.5 years for abetting Mukhlas, one of JI’s top leaders and the commander responsible for the Bali bombing (October 2002) that left over 200 dead. What is significant in this designation is that for the first time, the US government has publicly acknowledged Abu Rusdan’s role as the spiritual leader (amir) of JI, following the capture of Abu Bakar Ba’asyir. To date, the Indonesian government has resisted applying the label of amir to Abu Rusdan.
Of the 25 JI members who have now been designated, 11 are currently at large; 14 have been captured or killed, though three have been released. Designations give law enforcement another tool, especially in Indonesia, where JI still has not been outlawed.
A couple notes to this story. The Philippine Government is currently in “peace talks” with the MILF which fits in with their agenda of not acknowledging a terrorist threat. Government officials have been quoted as saying the jihadist cut throats are extortionists, not terrorists. In addition, the local military is so hard pressed for cash their navy is considering leasing out their facilities.
Not a very pretty picture for a country that sits in the middle of a Jemaah Islamiyah hot bed of activity.