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‘No reason for US in Mideast, Afghanistan after Bin Laden’

Source : Agencies

Tehran/Cairo : 02 May 2011

Iran says there is no excuse for the United States to continue deploying troops in the Middle East after the killing of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ramin Mehmanparast, says the US can no longer send troops to the region under the pretext of fighting terrorism. His comments were reported Monday by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

Iran says it cooperated with the US in fighting terrorism but instead of being rewarded, former President George W. Bush placed Iran in his “axis of evil.” Iran says it has cracked down on Al-Qaeda operatives, especially along its border with Afghanistan, but also criticized the US for invading Afghanistan and Iraq.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called on Monday for US forces to quit Islamic countries now Bin Laden is dead, and one member said Al-Qaeda should rethink its tactics which had only made the “enemy” more aggressive.

The Brotherhood said the revolutions sweeping the Middle East proved democracy was at home in the region and foreign occupation was no longer needed.

“With Bin Laden’s death, one of the reasons for which violence has been practiced in the world has been removed,” said Essam Al-Erian, a senior member of the Brotherhood.

Erian addressed the Brotherhood’s call to US President Barack Obama: “It is time for Obama to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end the occupation of US and Western forces around the world that have for so long harmed Muslim countries.” “The revolutions taking place across the Middle East are proof that democracy has a home in the Middle East and we do not need foreign occupation any more,” Erian said.

Bin Laden’s methods were faulted by a sheikh of Al-Gama’a Al-Islamiya, a group of the conservative school which led an armed rebellion in the 1990s to set up a purist state in Egypt but which has since renounced such violence.

“He made the enemy more aggressive through his method. He made those who were neutral an enemy and his friends hesitant to support him due to the error in his method,” said Sheikh Assem Abdel-Maged, a member of the advisory council of Gama’a.

“He was a Muslim and we hope that even if he made mistakes in some matters, we hope that God will forgive his mistakes and we hope that his followers and students will review the plan they are working with, regarding the methods that they use.” Tarek Al-Zumar, another leading member of Gama’a, said Bin Laden’s death could lead to acts of retaliation. However, he said the response could be muted by the Arab revolts against the same autocratic leaders Bin Laden had railed against. “Bin Laden will become a symbol of resistance to occupation ...,” said Zumar, who spent three decades in jail for his role in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and was released after Mubarak, his successor, was deposed.


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