Protests continue in Egypt and now in Yemen against US embassies over the mysterious anti-Muslim film that set the actions of the past few days, including deadly attacks against the US mission in Libya that ended in the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, plus another 30 injuries to both American and Libyans.
The ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, was missing almost immediately after the start of an intense, four-hour firefight for control of the mission, and his body was not located until Wednesday morning at dawn, when he was found dead at a Benghazi hospital, American and Libyan officials said. It was the first time since 1979 that an American ambassador had died in a violent assault.Libya says that they've arrested several people in connection with the attacks, and the US has sent a Marine FAST team to Libya. The US has also sent two warships (one already on station) and a drone unit to gather intel and to go after those responsible.
American and European officials said that while many details about the attack remained unclear, the assailants seemed organized, well trained and heavily armed, and they appeared to have at least some level of advance planning. But the officials cautioned that it was too soon to tell whether the attack was related to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Fighters involved in the assault, which was spearheaded by a Islamist brigade formed during last year’s uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, said in interviews during the battle that they were moved to attack the mission by anger over a 14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon. Their attack followed by just a few hours the storming of the compound surrounding the United States Embassy in Cairo by an unarmed mob protesting the same video. On Wednesday, new crowds of protesters gathered outside the United States Embassies in Tunis and Cairo.
The wave of unrest set off by the video, posted online in the United States two months ago and dubbed into Arabic for the first time eight days ago, has further underscored the instability of the countries that cast off their longtime dictators in the Arab Spring revolts. It also cast doubt on the adequacy of security preparations at American diplomatic outposts in the volatile region.
The million dollar question remains who was behind the film, what were their goals and aims, and how exactly an obscure film (which is really just a bunch of badly overdubbed film clips) that appears to have been uploaded in July, saw less than a few thousand hits since, exploded into the nexus of an international conflagration of attacks against US embassies in concert with 9/11. It appears that the film was overdubbed with anti-Muslim sentiments only eight days ago. Even then, it received little attention.
I don't believe in coincidences. Nor do I believe what anyone involved the movie has had to say thus far - because much of what they've said can't be confirmed by anyone. Sam Bacile doesn't appear to have existed except as a pseudonym/agent provocateur and a guy who had apparently come forward to claim that he was Bacile has recanted. Morris Sedak is an agitator whose motives are to foment war back in Egypt. Steve Klein has ties to extremist groups, but his involvement is only tangential to the overall story. The references to Jewish donors/backers/Israel is a misdirection play to try and bring the usual assortment of anti Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment to a head and to inflame passions even further.
Is it possible that AQ or another terror group took advantage of the protests in Egypt to use similar protests in Libya to carry out the deadly attacks there? Possibly, and the US government is looking at that possibility quite seriously.
The situation in Egypt also appears to have taken on a life of its own, and there are reports of protests elsewhere, including Yemen. This isn't necessarily by coincidence either. Whoever spread the anti-Muslim overdubbed versions basically did their own Hitler's Downfall-style routine to rant against Islam. We need to know who was behind the overdub, and at the same time, do more to track down who was responsible for the Libya attack and provide increased protection to our other embassies and consulates.
The US has got debunk the nonsense online that rabble rousers and militant mullahs are spreading to those who are now protesting/rioting - mostly without even seeing the film clips at issue or knowing; that's what many of the Administration and embassy statements refer to - protecting rights of free speech and freedom of religion, but that the two have to coexist without engaging in violence. It's not easy since the mindset of those who would protest and engage in violence are primed to act, and it confirms the biases of both those militant Islamists and socons who think Islam is an enemy of civilization. Extremists on both sides are exploiting the situation to their own ends, and one has to wonder who benefits from this.
That's why I keep going back to Iran. Iran has the means and stands to benefit from sowing violence and discord across the region - to tie up US and rival interests while Iran continues on its aggressive path.
As far as its impact on the US presidential election, the response from GOPer Mitt Romney and his supporters seems to be that the Obama Administration policy resulted in creating the environment allowing the attacks, the foreign policy amounts to apologia, and the response was inattentive and scattershot. Still, the main difference between Romney's policies and those of the Administration are one of tone, since Obama has largely carried over Bush Administration policies, including on dealing with international terrorism, going after those responsible for attacks on US interests around the world, and
Labels: diplomacy, Egypt, foreign policy, Libya, Middle East, Morris Sedak, propaganda, Sam Bacile, sectarian violence, terrorism, USA, Yemen