The U.S. announced Wednesday the amendment of the designation of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entity "to add the alias Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as its primary name and remove all aliases associated with al-Nusrah Front (ANF)." The Department of State also announced the designation of ANF as an FTO and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity.
The Department, in a statement, noted that it will also add the following aliases to the ISIL listing: the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), ad-Dawla al-Islamiyya fi al-'Iraq wa-sh-Sham, Daesh, Dawla al Islamiya, and Al-Furqan Establishment for Media Production. Furthermore, under the same authorities, the Department of State designated al-Nusrah Front as a standalone FTO and SDGT.
The consequences of the FTO and designations include "a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with these organizations, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of the organizations that is in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons." The Department affirmed that it took these actions in consultation with the Departments of Justice and Treasury.
It stressed that "these adjustments do not represent a change in policy," as both ISIL and ANF "have been designated domestically for several months." In December 2012, the Department of State amended the FTO and E.O. 13224 designations of AQI to include ANF as an alias. Since that amendment occurred, "differences over management and tactics have led to an increase in violence between the two groups." "Tension peaked in early 2014, when al-Qaeda (AQ) leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, released a statement dismissing ISIL from AQ. Therefore, we have amended the AQI designation to better reflect the change in status of both ISIL and ANF," the Department said.
It added "we review our designations regularly and, as needed, make adjustments to ensure we remain current with nomenclature and other changes."