The death of Osama bin Laden has spurred calls for a speedy withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan and Iraq, notwithstanding fears that the deep rooted instability in parts of South-West Asia is unlikely to end anytime soon.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood on Monday advocated that, with bin Laden’s death, the United States should end its occupation in Muslim countries. “With bin Laden's death, one of the reasons for which violence has been practiced in the world has been removed. It is time for Obama to pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq and end the occupation of U.S. and Western forces around the world that have for so long harmed Muslim countries,” Essam al-Erian, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood said.
He added that the “revolutions” that are unfolding in the region show that democracy with indigenous roots can be achieved without foreign occupation. Mr. Erian, however, acknowledged that a spurt of violence can be expected in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco and Algeria, where the al Qaeda continues to possess a prominent foothold.
Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal A. Khashoggi, amplified in an interview with Saudi daily Arab news that Afghanistan and Pakistan were not yet ideologically prepared to shed the bin Laden legacy. “The Arab spring did not reach Islamabad and Kabul, and that is rather unfortunate. The al Qaeda mindset is still very strong in those two countries. One hopes the end of Osama will lead to a change in that mindset,” he said.
Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh alleged that Pakistani intelligence was complicit in shielding bin Laden. He told the Telegraph that in "no way" bin Laden could have rented a compound in Abbottabad without the knowledge of the government or Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). "Does Pakistan want the whole world to believe that the intelligence agency of a nuclear state did not know Osama bin Laden was there?"
In its official response, Saudi Arabia has welcomed the al Qaeda chief’s killing, and expressed hope that bin Laden’s death "would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism”.
But unlike the Saudi establishment, the Palestinian Hamas has praised bin Laden as an “Arab Holy warrior”. “We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs,” Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Hamas administration in Gaza said. He added: “We regard this (bin Laden’s killing) as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”
In bin Laden’s ancestral home in Yemen, the AFP is quoting a source in the Al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) who independently confirmed bin Laden’s death. “This news has been a catastrophe for us. At first we did not believe it, but we got in touch with our brothers in Pakistan who have confirmed it," an AQAP member was quoted as saying.
At the Shumukh-al-Islam forum, the internet outlet for al Qaeda traffic, users pledged unrestrained enmity towards the United States.
“America will reap the same if the news (of bin Laden’s death) is true (or) false,” one message warned. “The lions will remain lions and will continue moving in the footsteps of Osama,” said another.