Bush aims sanctions at PKK

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, Reuters reported..

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 statement.

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 Turkey.

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.

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