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July 31, 2006
Editorials/Op-Ed

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Islamist terror twins

TODAY'S COLUMNIST
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
July 31, 2006



    
    It took the United States four years after September 11 to develop a useful working definition of the gravest danger to world peace. Last October President Bush finally identified our enemies: "Islamic Radicals... empowered by helpers and enablers... strengthened by front operations who aggressively fund the[m]." Making no distinction between Sunni or Shi'ite radicals, he concluded that defeating "the murderous ideology of the Islamic Radicals," is the "great challenge of our century."
    Mr. Bush keeps addressing the turmoil in the Middle East -- focusing on Hezbollah -- as a regional struggle. Yet, defeating Israel and controlling the Middle East is only part of the global mission of both Sunni and Shi'ite terrorists. Their goal is to establish the Caliphate, extending the rule of Shariah to the entire world.
    Israel is now fighting two of radical Islam's most virulent versions -- the Shi'ite Hezbollah and the Sunni Hamas. Israel fights not only for its own survival. Its ability to defeat Hamas and Hezbollah, will determine the survival of the United States and all Western-style democracies
    When Hezbollah attacked Israel over two weeks ago, the Mr. Bush accused Syria of being the primary sponsor of Hezbollah, providing it with shipments of Iranian-made weapons. The president added: "Iran's regime has also repeatedly defied the international community with its ambition for nuclear weapons and aid to terrorist groups. Their actions threaten the entire Middle East and stand in the way of resolving the current crisis and bringing lasting peace to this troubled region."
    One wonders what the leader of the free world needs to witness before he connects the dots. Radical Islam, or Islamofascism, as he himself described it on other occasions, is not limited to the Middle East, or promoted and advanced only by Iran, Hezbollah and Syria. Sunni radicals -- such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the numerous offspring of al Qaeda -- pose similar threats to Israel, the region, the United States and the rest of the world.
    All radical Muslims, according to the president, are terrorists "target[ing] nations whose behavior they believe they can change through violence." Their goal, he said, is to "establish a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia, Then, they "would be able to advance their stated agenda: to develop weapons of mass destruction, to destroy Israel, to intimidate Europe, to assault the American people, and to blackmail our government into isolation."
    "Against such an enemy there is only one effective response," concluded Mr. Bush: "We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory." Yet, Israel is pressured for restraint by most U.S. allies, including the Saudis.
    Nonetheless, the White House, politicians and the international media fall all over themselves to praise the Saudis for admonishing Hezbollah as yet more evidence of their commitment to ending extremism. In fact, the Saudis demonstrate their commitment only to end Shi'a extremism. In typical double-talk, while lambasting Hezbollah, the Saudis refrain from condemning Hamas, and in fact, they are its principle financiers from the beginning.
    On Tuesday, the Saudi Government announced generous financial contributions to rebuild Lebanon and Palestine. The Saudis also held a well-advertised "popular fundraising campaign," urging Saudis, all Arabs and Muslims "to show the usual generosity and commitment towards the Arabs and Muslin Nation." Last week's Saudi Telethon raised $32 million, and an additional $13.5 million was raised in the UAE. There is little doubt that some of this money would find its way to the families of "martyrs" from Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad carrying out the "mission" of Jihad.
    This fundraiser brings back memories of previous Telethons such as the April 2002 King Fahd-sponsored fundraiser for the Palestinian intifada, and the August 2005 Saudi fundraiser for the Palestinian cause, aired on Iqra TV. The organizers then stated: "Jihad is the pinnacle of Islam. A person who cannot wage Jihad with his soul is required to wage Jihad with his money...our brothers in Palestine desperately need financial support, which goes directly to this cause, and helps them to carry out this mission." On July 27, $29 million were raised in the latest Saudi telethon. Some of this money would surely find its way to the families of "martyrs" from Hamas and Islamic Jihad carrying out the "mission" of Jihad.
    The radical Sunni modus operandi differs not at all from that of Hezbollah's Shi'ite terrorists. Al Qaeda and Hamas also provide social services, jobs, medical care and schools to the needy. And like Iran and Hezbollah, the Saudis use their fortunes both to fund radical terrorist groups and to develop vast international Islamic communications networks -- which they leverage in order to expand their anti-American and anti-Israel propaganda, while aptly manipulating U.S. leaders and the media.
    The Saudi fears of a nuclear Iran are behind their condemnation of Hezbollah. However, since Hassan Nasrallah is now the leading figure of the Arab world, supported by The Muslim Brotherhood, and "the most prominent cleric in the Arab world, [Sheikh Yousef Al]Qaradhawi," the Saudis can not afford to ignore Nasrallah's popularity. That is why the Saudis publicly asked the United States to pressure Israel into ceasefire. But the growing violence of and anti-American propaganda by Sunni radical groups worldwide funded by Saudi paymasters should serve as potent reminder for the U.S. to demand that our Saudi "ally" stop their own terrorist financing and the propagation of their own version of radical Islam -- Wahhabism, around the world. Moreover, the United States should focus on developing alternative energy sources, consequently reducing billions of dollars now available to fund terrorism.
    
    Rachel Ehrenfeld is the director of the American Center for Democracy and a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
    



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