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U.S. NOTES PRIVATE FUNDS FROM KUWAIT FEED EXTREMISTS Qaeda core weakens, franchises surge

WASHINGTON, May 1, (Agencies): The United States said on Wednesday that while al-Qaeda’s Pakistan-based “core organization” had been severely degraded, affiliates of the militant group in Africa and the Middle East were becoming more “operationally autonomous” and aggressive. The State Department said in its annual global report on terrorism that the central organization of al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Ayman al Zawahiri, had been “much diminished” by international efforts and had lost many of its senior leaders.

But the report said instability and weak governments in the Middle East and North Africa had enabled al- Qaeda affiliates and like-minded groups to “broaden and deepen their operations” in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, North Africa and Somalia. Groups such as the Afghan and Pakistani Taleban and the Haqqani network continue to attack American and local targets on both sides of the Afghan/Pakistani border, and the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Tayyiba believe US interests are “legitimate targets for attacks,” the report said. Thousands of militants, some of them Englishspeaking, have traveled to Syria to train and fight with groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad, according to the report. Some have joined “violent extremist groups,” and US and other Western countries fear they may plot attacks when they return home, it said.

The report said various national authorities had estimated that in 2013, 90 militants went to Syria from Denmark, 184 from France, 240 from Germany, 30- 40 from Norway, 100-200 from Belgium, and 75 from Sweden. British government sources have estimated that at least 400 Britons have cycled in and out of the conflict, with up to 250 participating at any one time.

The report said that since 2012 the US has seen a resurgence of activity around the world, including in Yemen, Bulgaria and Thailand, of Iranian or Iranian-related organizations, including Hizbollah, the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security. Kuwait, an important non-NATO ally, passed comprehensive anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) legislation in 2013, there were also increased reports of Kuwait-based private individuals funneling charitable donations and other funds to violent extremist groups outside the country, particularly to Syria. Prior to the May 26, 2013, passage of Kuwait Law 106/2013, the Government of Kuwait lacked a clear legal framework for prosecuting terrorism-related crimes, often having to resort to other legal statutes to try suspected terrorists, which hampered enforcement efforts. The 2013 law includes a definition of terrorism, which may provide better legal grounds for prosecuting all terrorism-related crimes. In 2013, however, there were increased reports of Kuwait-based private individuals funneling charitable donations and other funds to violent extremist groups outside the country, particularly to Syria.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor is responsible for monitoring and supervising government-authorized charities, including enforcing the ban on cash donations except during Ramadan; implementing an enhanced receipt system for Ramadan cash donations; and coordinating closely with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to monitor and prosecute fraudulent charitable operators. The world-wide terror threat is evolving as al-Qaeda linked groups and other militants become increasingly violent and a new generation of global terrorists is spawned in Syria, the US warned Wednesday. The report identified a 43 percent increase in the number of terrorist attacks in 2013 from 2012, according to statistics provided by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. It counted 9,707 terrorist attacks around the world in 2013, resulting in more than 17,800 deaths and more than 32,500 injuries. Most of those occurred in Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Nigeria

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