Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.

Saudi Prince Bandar in meeting with President Bush

The Salafi jihadist movement, a more radicalized version of Salafism followed by such militant groups as al-Qaida, is on the rise in the Middle East as the new Obama administration prepares to take office, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Obama already has indicated a new strategic approach for the Middle East by eliminating at the outset the pre-emption policy of the outgoing Bush administration against terrorists.

This change of policy has not been lost on Salafi jihadists who seek to rally Muslims for a global jihad as they already have done in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir and even the Philippines.

The campaign also has taken root in North Africa where the Algerian Salafi Group for Call and Combat has allied itself with al-Qaida and is blamed for a series of bombings and other attacks there in recent weeks.

And with the recent flareup in the Gaza Strip, Salafi jihadists are gaining support among followers of the Hamas which until recently resisted them. As radical as the Hamas appears to be, the Salafi jihadists are looked upon as even more so.

“Compared to us, they are Islamism lite,” Abu Mustafa said. He heads the Salafi jihadist movement in the Gaza Strip. “Hamas represents an American style of Islam. They have tried to curry favor.

“Hamas is like a block of ice in the sun,” he added. “Every minute they get smaller – and we get larger.”

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Indeed, there are indications that the Salafi jihadists may have been involved in instigating the most recent outbreak of violence between the Gaza Strip and Israel, breaking an unofficial truce between the governing Hamas and Israel.

The same is occurring in Lebanon where Salafi jihadists have been fighting Shiites in northern Lebanon, prompting alarm from Syria whose Shiite Alawite minority there is the subject of attacks.

Captured members of the Fatah al-Islam, a Salafi jihadist group that launched an attempted uprising in northern Lebanon’s Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in 2007, claimed that they had received financing from Sunni Lebanese parliamentary majority leader Saad Hariri.

Saad Hariri is the son of the assassinated late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, a close ally of Saudi Arabia.

In turn, security analysts point to Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar bin Sultan, chief of the Saudi National Security Council, for helping to finance the U.S.-backed Future Movement led by Saad Hariri whose militias are instigating fighting in northern Lebanon.

In providing such financial backing, they add that Prince Bandar is supervising the Saudi pro-Salafist agenda in Lebanon which includes sponsoring Islamist terrorist operations in Syria.

In this regard, Syria has seen the fingerprints of Saudi Arabia in this effort. Indeed, Saudi Arabia is backing its form of Salafism, called Wahhabism, not only with Sunni elements in Lebanon but around the world.

Such an effort makes for a curious dilemma for the United States, given its counter-terrorism policy and its close relationship with Saudi Arabia as it pursues its more radicalized form of puritanical Wahhabism.

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