February 15th, 2009 10:41 EST
The Saudi Connection to the Mumbai Massacres: Strategic Implications for Israel
By Col. (res.) Jonathan Fighel
The Mumbai attacks have been linked to Lashkar-e-Taiba and radical Islamic groups in Kashmir generally. Yet it would be a mistake to see Lashkar only as a local organization with only a local agenda.
Saudi Arabia has contributed very much to what Lashkar-e-Taiba looks like, how it thinks, its motivation, ideology, and funding. Saudi Arabia presents itself as the protector and the spearhead of the defense of Muslims around the world against what they define as the Western cultural attack.
The Saudis are very committed to recruiting, funding, and funneling ideology to embattled Muslim minorities, and use Muslim charities as their tool to implement this policy. The Saudi methodology is to take advantage of a humanitarian crisis to get a foot in the door. Who could be against assisting widows and orphans and setting up schools and clinics? Some of the money is indeed funneled to support terrorism - families of suicide bombers.
The notion of global Islam has also penetrated to Gaza and exists under the umbrella of Hamas, which is enabling a revival of global jihadi organizations there such as Jaish al-Islam and others. This phenomenon is radicalizing the already radicalized society in Gaza.
Hamas could agree to a hudna (calm) for fifty years, but there will be no recognition of Israel or a cessation of the struggle against it. If Hamas was ready to act pragmatically, it would no longer be Hamas. And then the frustrated factions within Hamas would break off and join up with the radical global jihadi organizations in Gaza.
*Col. (res.) Jonathan Fighel is a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism (ICT). He is also a member of the International Academic Counter Terrorism Community (ICTAC) and serves as a consultant and expert witness for the U.S. Department of Justice on Hamas trials, as well as to private U.S.-based law firms in cases of prosecuting al-Qaeda terrorism. His expertise also includes the Palestinian Authority, Islamist terror groups (Hamas, PIJ, al-Qaeda), funding, Palestinian terrorism and the Palestinian suicide terrorism phenomenon. This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on his presentation at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem on December 9, 2008.
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