Updated 23 SEPT 2012 | This Case Study will be following the developments involving widespread protests across the Middle East and Norther Africa, originating on 11 September 2012. Protests first started in Cairo, Egypt a the United States Embassy, where crowds stormed the compound and replaced the American Flag with a “black flag”. But later that evening in Benghazi, Libya, while similar protests were taking place at the U.S. Consulate, a breakout of violence resulted in the death of United States Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and three other U.S. personnel. In the following days, protests have continued in Libya and Egypt, while spreading and demonstrations reach across the region – many being of an Anti-American nature, with protestors claiming a film offensive to Islam was supported by the United States. There also have been demonstrations of support for the United States, such as Libyan citizens proclaiming their respect for Ambassador Stevens, and that terrorist actions are not part of Islam.
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This will be a brief update on the story and the introduction of a new Case Study concerning this latest string of events. Here are some quick notes:
- There appears to be growing evidence that the attack on the US Consulate in Libya, which took the life of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other personnel, was not simply a spill over from protests regarding an offensive film or anti-US sentiment. The attack appears to be carefully orchestrated and planned, involving four cars entering the embassy during the haze of the protests. However, some accounts say that at this time, the protest was minimal.
- Protests have swelled in at least 11 countries, (some late accounts up to 17 countries), largely citing the film, and with many protestors saying the US is responsible for insulting Islam. Attempts by the US government to distance itself from the film appear to have no effect. At the time of this posting, there have been no new, significant attacks upon US diplomatic personnel, although the protests are widespread.
- Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has made statements condemning the film while expressing some legitimacy in protests and defending Islam, but encouraging obedience to law and respect towards guests: “I call on everyone to take that into consideration, to not violate Egyptian law … to not assault embassies,” Morsi said on Thursday. “I condemn and oppose all who … insult our prophet. [But] it is our duty to protect our guests and visitors from abroad.”
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Jesse Parent is an analyst, editor, researcher, and writer focusing on energy & resources, technology, and global affairs. For more of Jesse’s thoughts throughout the week and to see what news he’s following, you are invited to join the conversation via Twitter and Facebook. Visit Jesse Parent [INFLUENCE] to view Case Studies, Commentary and more.