Before President Trump delivered his first big international speech, an address in Saudi Arabia to dozens of Arab leaders, reports swirled that he would not utter the words “radical Islamic terror.”
Of course he said the words — repeatedly — and much more. He lectured the Saudis on human rights, including the nation’s long repression of women. And most of all, he laid out — in simple black and white terms — the real battle that is has been raging for two decades.
“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” Trump told some 50 Muslim leaders gathered in an ornate conference center in Riyadh. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.”
And Trump said the Muslim world has an obligation — even a moral imperative — to squelch terror emanating from the Muslim faith. “Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith,” Trump said. “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”
And Trump appeared to give the Muslim leaders a direct order about the terrorists who declare their Muslim faith demands they kill infidels.
“Drive them out!” Trump said. “Drive them out of your places of worship, drive them out of your communities, drive them out of your Holy Land, and drive them out of this Earth!”
Unlike former president Barack Obama, who drew a red line in Syria and then did nothing when Islamic extremists crossed it, Trump said, “There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it.”
He added, “If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing, then we not only will be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.”
Trump said that moving toward peace “means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.
“Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be condemned,” Trump said.
“And if the world doesn’t unite to fight ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and other groups, he said, ‘not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, we will be judged by God.’
Reminiscent of his State of the Union speech, Trump gave another powerful speech in Saudi Arabia to the Saudi king and 55 heads of state. He called this a “new chapter”, saying he was not there to “lecture” them or impose the American way of life.
Midway through his speech he finally spoke about a topic that should be of primary importance – the funding:
As we deny terrorist organizations control of territory and populations, we must also strip them of their access to funds. We must cut off the financial channels that let ISIS sell oil, let extremists pay their fighters, and help terrorists smuggle their reinforcements.
I am proud to announce that the nations here today will be signing an agreement to prevent the financing of terrorism, called the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center – co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is another historic step in a day that will be long remembered.
I also applaud the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking funders from using their countries as a financial base for terror, and designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization last year. Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.
Cutting off the funding and the supply lines is key in defeating ISIS and other terror organizations. Because of O’s half-hearted attempts to make us think our military was kicking ISIS butt, they’ve gained in number, momentum and apparently have open supply lines to any and everything they need. If we are now serious about this, that has to be stopped.
The question is will Saudi and other Mid-East countries help us and can they be trusted?
(If you want to read the full transcript of his speech, you can click here.)