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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Al Qaeda Tries to Leverage North Africa Unrest

DUBAI, Jan 28, 2011 (AFP) - Al-Qaeda has hailed Tunisia's uprising but also warned about an attempt to replace ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali with another "agent" of the West, the US-monitoring group SITE said on Friday.

"Your revolution was no ordinary uprising, rather it was a devastating earthquake that struck the throne of the tyrant Ben Ali... The criminal ran away in a very humiliating scene," Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) said.

The United States "and France, with the infidel West, will not accept any real change that does not serve their interests in Tunisia. They are now busy planning to find an alternative agent who is acceptable to them," added the statement issued on jihadist forums on Thursday.

"France was the one that supported the tyrant Ben Ali until the last moment and supported him to the furthest extent, such that it even offered him its expertise in the field of oppression," AQIM charged.

The United States and France will "play the same dirty role in Tunisia in the future, unless the strikes of the mujahedeen... stop them," said the statement.

French officials frequently justified their support for Ben Ali because of what they deemed his effectiveness in fighting political Islam.

Paris had warm ties with Ben Ali's regime during his 23 years in power but made a U-turn after the authoritarian ruler bowed to popular protests and fled the country this month.

It was not until after Ben Ali was ousted that French President Nicolas Sarkozy backed the protest movement and the fugitive was denied refuge in France.

AQIM also criticised Saudi Arabia for hosting Ben Ali, SITE reported.
"He was given sanctuary... by the one who claims to be the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques," AQIM said of Saudi King Abdullah.

"If he had in his heart an ounce of passion for (Islam)... he would not have accepted to host on this pure land a criminal who was refused from all the nations."
Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it wanted to contribute to ending "bloodshed" in Tunisia by granting asylum to Ben Ali.

Riyadh has kept a blackout on Ben Ali's activities since his arrival on January 15 with six family members, after his ouster in a wave of protest in which dozens of people were killed.

by AFP

The Rest @ Zawya

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