WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W.
Bush on Friday imposed sanctions on Kurdish rebels and an
Italian organized crime group in an attempt to cut off their
access to the U.S. financial system and their funding.
Using a U.S. anti-drug trafficking law, Bush designated the
Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, and the 'Ndrangheta
Organization subject to the sanctions, which prevent U.S.
companies and individuals from engaging in trade and
transactions with them.
"This action underscores the president's determination to
do everything possible to pursue drug traffickers, undermine
their operations and end the suffering that trade in illicit
drugs inflicts on Americans and other people around the world,
as well as prevent drug traffickers from supporting
terrorists," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a
The PKK has used a remote part of Iraq's largely autonomous
region of Kurdistan as a base to stage attacks inside Turkey in
pursuit of its goal of a Kurdish homeland in southeastern
The Turkish military this year has regularly crossed the
border into northern Iraq to attack PKK forces.
Crime experts say the Italian crime group subject to the
sanctions by Bush, 'Ndrangheta, overtook the Sicilian Mafia in
the 1990s as Italy's largest drug trafficking group and has
since spread throughout Europe and beyond.
Bush also named four foreign individuals and two other
foreign entities as subject to the sanctions, including a
faction of the Sinaloa, Mexico, drug trafficking cartel headed
by the Beltran Leyva brothers. Marcos Arturo Beltran Leyva was
specifically named on the White House sanctions list.
Media reports in Mexico have said a spike in drug violence
in Sinaloa state this year, with some 300 people killed, could
be the result a fracture between reputed cartel chief Joaquin
Guzman, who is Mexico's most wanted man, and Beltran Leyva, one
of his boldest operatives.
The Beltran Leyva family was widely thought to be
responsible for the killing of Guzman's son in a military-style
attack on May 8.
President Felipe Calderon has launched a crackdown on
Mexico's drug cartels, and the effort has prompted a rash of
retaliatory killings of federal police.
The others that Bush added to the sanctions list include:
Haji Asad Khan Zarkari Mohammadhasni of Afghanistan, Hermagoras
Gonzalez Polanco of Venezuela and Cumhur Yakut of Turkey.
Previously there were 68 individuals and entities subject
to the sanctions under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin
Designation Act, which became law in December 1999, according
to the White House.