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Different Shades of the Same Enemy By: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, July 27, 2006

The U.S. ability to withstand growing international demands to pressure Israel to stop fighting radical Muslims determined to eliminate the Jewish state will effect its own fate.

Last October President George W. Bush finally identified our enemies: “Islamic Radicals …empowered by helpers and enablers… strengthened by front operations …and those who aggressively fund the spread of Radical, intolerant versions of Islam.” Making no distinction between Sunni or Shiite radicals, he concluded, that defeating “the murderous ideology of the Islamic Radicals,” is the “great challenge of our century.”


Israel is now fighting two of radical Islam's most virulent versions - the Shiite Hizballah and the Sunni Hamas. Israel fights not only for its own survival. Its ability to defeat Hamas and Hizballah, will effect the survival of the U.S. and all Western style democracies – including those who blame Israel for using “disproportionate force.”


In his weekend address on July 22, 2006, the President said: “For many years, Syria has been a primary sponsor of Hezbollah and it has helped provide Hezbollah with shipments of Iranian made weapons. Iran's regime has also repeatedly defied the international community with its ambition for nuclear weapons and aid to terrorist groups.”


However, the President played down the effect of Iran’s actions limiting it to the Middle East: “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, Hizballah and Syria. Sunni radicals--such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the numerous offspring of al Qaeda—pose similar threat to Israel, the region, the U.S. and the rest of the world. A few -- Hamas and Islamic Jihad--teamed up with Iran. Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Gulf states have generously sponsored them and others. Their collective aim is to spread the Sunnis' fanatical version of Islam.


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 Bush: “We will never back down, never give in, and never accept anything less than complete victory.” Yet, Israel is pressured for restrain by most U.S. allies, including the Saudis.


Yet, the White House, politicians and the international media fall all over themselves to praise the Saudis for admonishing Hizballah, 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 Hizballah, the Saudis refrain from condemning Hamas.


On July 25, 2006, the Saudi Government announced generous financial contributions to rebuild Lebanon, and Palestine. The announcement also called for a “popular fund raising campaign, “urging Saudis, all Arabs and Muslims “to show the usual generosity and commitment towards the Arabs and Muslin Nation.” This fundraiser brings back memories of previous Telethons such as the April 2002 King Fahd sponsored fundraiser for the Palestinian Intefada, and more recently the “Saudi fundraiser for the Palestinian cause,” aired on Iqra TV on August 29, 2005.  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…There is no doubt that our brothers in Palestine desperately need financial support, which goes directly to this cause, and helps them to carry out this mission. “ Surely, the families of “martyrs” from Hamas and Islamic Jihad carrying out the “mission” of Jihad will be generously rewarded.


The radical Sunni modus operandi differs not at all from that of Hizballah's Shiite terrorists. Al Qaeda and Hamas also provide social services, jobs, medical care and schools to the needy. And like Iran and Hizballah, the Saudis use their fortunes both to fund radical terrorists groups, and to develop vast international Islamic communications networks--which they leverage in order to coordinate and expand their anti-Western, 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 Hizballah. Therefore, the U.S. should not be fooled into believing that this Saudi condemnation signals any change in their overarching agenda. The growing violence of Sunni radical groups worldwide should serve as potent reminder of that constant fact.


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Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of the American Center for Democracy and author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It and a member of The Committee on the Present Danger.

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