Following the attacks of 11 September 2001, the UNSC passed several important resolutions (all unanimous) significantly enhancing its efforts to counter terrorism. UNSCR 1368 (12 September 2001) broadly authorized military intervention (“expresses its readiness to take all necessary steps to respond to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001”), UNSCR 1373 (28 September 2001) established the global counter-terrorism regime (with innovative new monitoring and enforcement measures), UNSCR 1386 (20 December 2001) legitimized International Security Assistance Force intervention, and UNSCR 1390 (28 January 2002) added an indefinite travel ban targeted (individual/entity) arms imports embargo on Usama Bin Laden, Al-Qaida, Taliban, and associates. There was a significant increase in the number of individuals and entities designated during this period from 156 to more than 500 at one point during the episode, beginning with the first round of new designations made on 8 October 2001 (SC/7166).
Following litigation in a number of key implementing states over due process violations associated with the individual designation process, the UNSC passed a series of resolutions introducing procedural reforms and increasing the transparency of its operations. UNSCR 1617 (29 July 2005) spelled out explicit criteria for listing, UNSCR 1730 (19 December 2006) created a focal point mechanism within the Secretariat to receive petitions for de-listing, UNSCR 1822 (30 June 2008) mandated periodic reviews of all designations, and UNSCR 1904 (17 December 2009) created an Office of Ombudsperson to review petitions for de-listing. Each of these resolutions was adopted unanimously. This episode represented an attempt to focus the targeting of the regime and increase/maintain its legitimacy. There was also evidence of an emerging differentiation between Al-Qaida and the Taliban that picked up pace toward the end of the episode.
Targeted assassination campaigns through drone attacks by the United States became more prominent in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border (especially toward the end of the episode), considerably harming the senior leadership of Al-Qaida. On 2 May 2011, Usama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in an attack by US Special Forces.
Constrain AQ from being able to commit additional acts of terrorism.
Signal AQ and the global community about the unacceptability of acts of terrorism and, at the same time, reassure domestic constituencies that something was being done about global terrorism, and address domestic human rights communities that adequate due process measures were in place.
Continuation of previously imposed asset freeze on Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, Taliban, and associates.
Ongoing arms imports embargo on areas controlled by Taliban replaced by a targeted arms imports embargo (on designated individuals and entities).
Diplomatic sanctions (closure of Taliban offices in MS territories and withdrawal of any officials, agents, advisers, and military personnel advising Taliban) and ban on chemical used in heroin processing (acetic anhydride) expired in January 2002.
Aviation ban was lifted in January 2002 (following Taliban overthrow in November 2001).
Newly imposed travel ban on Usama bin Laden, Al-Qaida, Taliban, and associates.
Maximum number of designees during the episode: 400 individuals and 111 entities (Taliban designations included 142 individuals, Al-Qaida 258 individuals and 111 entities).
UN sanctions should have little impact on the general population since they are focused exclusively on specific individuals and entities.
Arms imports embargo, asset freeze, and travel ban sanctions were (re-)imposed for an indefinite time period. Sanctions Committee and Monitoring Group/Team in place (Monitoring Team replaces Monitoring Group in January 2004). Designation criteria were specified and targets designated. Enforcement authorities specified.
Individuals and supporters became the principal focus of coercion, but they were coerced in order to constrain AQ and associates. Individuals designated became unable to access their funds in some countries, others were deterred from providing continuing support.
AQ had very limited access to formal sector financial institutions; had limited funds to transfer; complained of limits on funds; moved to decentralized, locally sourced financing; change of strategy of Al-Qaida, both in its sources of financing (toward crime and local sources) and in the location of many of its attacks (increasingly against soft targets in the developing world); at the beginning of the episode, AQ was still directing and financing attacks (Bali 1); by the middle, there was no evidence of direct command and control or financing from AQ central (Bali 2, Madrid, London); there was evidence of disruption of plots due to financial intelligence; AQ central virtually disappeared as a command and control center during this episode.
Other factors, such as the NATO military intervention, played a key role in the disruption of the organization and its change of strategy (at least at the outset); use of drones played a key role in the disruption of the organization; support of military operations in various parts of the world increasingly important against affiliated entities (Somalia, Yemen).
AQ was strongly stigmatized and isolated, as were its principal financial supporters; strong reinforcement of norm against terrorism.
Creation of a global sanctions regime was critical for signaling AQ, its associates, and the global community about the norm against terrorism, but AQ actions and their repercussions played an increasingly important role in stigmatizing the group over the course of the episode (attacks on Muslims, attacks on soft targets in the developing world, diffuseness of attacks, i.e. not focused on the US).
Increase in corruption and criminality, strengthening of authoritarian rule, increase in human rights violations, humanitarian consequences, strengthening instruments of the security apparatus of senders, harmful effects on neighboring states, increase in international regulatory capacity in different issue domains, increase in international enforcement capacity in different issue domains, resource diversion, significant administrative burden on implementing states, human rights implications for sending states, decline in the credibility and/or legitimacy of UN Security Council, reduction in Islamic charitable giving.