The United Nations has added U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to its terrorist watch list, a move that requires U.N. member states to freeze his assets and ban his travel.
The U.N. Tuesday placed Awlaki on its consolidated Al-Qaida and Taliban Sanctions Committee list as an operative of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. The U.N. says the Muslim cleric has taken on an increasingly greater role with the group as a recruiter, trainer and planner.
On Friday, the Obama administration placed Awlaki on its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The move imposes restrictions that include freezing any assets Awlaki may have under U.S. jurisdiction and banning him from traveling to the U.S.
Investigators believe the al-Qaida-linked cleric is hiding in Yemen. The U.N. designation comes as Awlaki released an Internet message critical of U.S. involvement in Yemen.
In a statement posted late Monday on militant web sites, Awlaki said former President George W. Bush would be remembered as "the president who got America stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq." The radical cleric compared him to the current U.S. president, Barack Obama, whom he said wants to be remembered as, in his words, "the president who got America stuck in Yemen."
In the message, Awlaki also says a U.S. Army major accused of killing 13 people at a Texas military base last year was not recruited by al-Qaida. Awlaki says Nidal Hasan was, in his words, "recruited by American crimes."
The cleric's internet message shows a photo of him next to a photo of Hasan and a photo of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian arrested for a failed Christmas Day (December 25) bombing targeting a U.S. airliner. The U.S. has accused Awlaki of helping the failed bomber.
In a separate message posted Monday, a man identified as al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri mocks President Obama and says the U.S. will be defeated in Afghanistan. Authorities believe he is hiding in a mountainous region near the Afghan-Pakistan border.
Some information for this report was provided by AP.