Friday, September 14, 2012

U.S. Embassies In Flames Through Out the Middle East

The American embassies in the Middle East are in flames as we end this week. U.S. flags have been taken down and set on fire in London, Cairo, Bangladesh, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen, to name some of the spots showing angry gatherings of Muslim men chanting "Death to America". The list is long, that of the spots harboring Muslim protests. The protests that brought destruction and death to the U.S. embassies in Cairo, Libya and Syria since Tuesday today brought the same to the U.S. embassy in Yemen.

We have discussed as a nation the security abroad for those patriotic Americans living and working on behalf of our country in often dangerous places. Too little has been done in the past and warnings of impending danger often go ignored. The State Department has blamed a lack of funding for years on lax security and the lack of will from legislators to beef up security overseas.

While the State Department has responded to some of the criticisms leveled by congressional oversight bodies and its own internal watchdog, its Diplomatic Security (DS) office recently acknowledged it lacked the funding for some recommended improvements, such as security training, and was instead looking for workarounds. “We cannot sufficiently meet the additional training recommendations outlined in the Secretary's QDDR (quadrennial review). Therefore, DS is aggressively pursuing on-line alternatives, e.g., distance learning of FACT lessons minus the hard skills (i.e., weapons familiarization and driver's training) to increase training capabilities,” the department candidly acknowledged in a February performance evaluation report.

We read now of warnings issued in this case that were not acted upon. Specifically, the attack in Cairo was forecast by those who were in the know. 

According to El Fagr, they are calling for the immediate release of the Islamic jihadis who are imprisonment and in detention centers in the U.S. including Guantanamo Bay: “The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaeda, called [especially] for the quick release of the jihadi [mujahid] sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman [the "Blind Sheikh"], whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime, and [President] Morsi is refusing to intervene on his behalf and release him, despite promising that he would. The Islamic Group has threatened to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with those in it, and taking hostage those who remain [alive], unless the Blind Sheikh is immediately released.”
Not much wiggle room there.

In full cover their butts mode in the White House, the reports of warnings are being vehemently denied. The President's Press Secretary, Jay Carney, even said that this is not an attack on America but due to a video produced by a crank in California disparaging Muslims. First, beyond the Baghdad Bob impersonation from Mr. Carney, the mission of an embassy is clear.  From the State Department's own website,  the host country is tasked with providing the environment of a secure locale yet not entitled to breech the embassy's sovereign abode. No entry is allowed by those of the host country without permission. And, an attack on an embassy is viewed as an attack on the country it represents:

While an embassy remains the territory of the host state, under international rules representatives of the host country may not enter an embassy without permission—even to put out a fire.
Because an embassy represents a sovereign state, any attack on an embassy is considered an attack on the country it represents.
An attack on an American embassy is an attack on America. It is as simple as that. To hear the President's Press Secretary to dismiss these heinous acts as not having to do with anti-American sentiments is to deny the obvious. Plus, it makes him look like a complete idiot.

We know the extremists wish Americans and other westerners nothing short of death. We have no reason to doubt their sincerity.  The Muslim Brotherhood was recently caught by the American embassy personnel stating sympathy for Americans after the Cairo attack yet egging on the protesters in Arabic to those Egyptians rallying on the ground.

The US embassy in Cairo caught the ruling Muslim Brotherhood being two-faced as the protests were under way earlier this week, reports the Hill. The Egypt group's Arabic feed praised the protests, while its American feed expressed support for American staffers:
Brotherhood's tweet in Arabic: "Egyptians rise to defend the prophet."
Brotherhood's tweet in English: "We r relieved none of @USEmbassyCairo staff were harmed & hope US-Eg relations will sustain turbulence of Tuesday's events"
US response to the latter: "Thanks. By the way, have you checked out your own Arabic feeds? I hope you know we read those too."
One glimmer of hope is the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is reported to have asked its supporters to not go to the protests called for Friday, the day traditionally used for big protests in the Muslim world. Instead, the followers were asked instead to go to the mosques for Friday prayers and skip the protests. We will soon know if that request was honored.


AmPowerBlog said...

Nice blogging, Karen.

Karen Townsend said...

Thanks, Donald. Good to hear from you!

Anonymous said...

A series of long-simmering conflicts have erupted across Muslim nations of North Africa and the Mideast. Western leaders are perplexed wondering how to deal with revolutions against former allies that have affected friendly and neutral governments as well as terrorist states. There are many factors at work leading to these conflagrations. Before we can make any judgments about the present situation, we need to understand the history of this conflicted region.

Following World War II, the former European colonial powers drew the borders for their colonies, creating the nations we know today, and appointed their rulers. The 1948-49 Arab-Israeli war changed the political dynamics of the region with the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel in its ancient religious homeland. Zionist Israel, supported by the United States and western Europe was surrounded by its Islamic enemies (from the seventh century AD). A series of wars by its Arab neighbors against Israel resulted in Israeli victories but also major changes. Among many events were Egypt’s nationalization of the British Suez Canal and an OPEC six months long oil embargo against the United States and western Europe. When the Shah of Iran was overthrown by Shia religious fanatics and the entire staff of the US embassy held captive for 444 days, Western attention became acutely focused on the Mideast. Many other crises contributed to our present dilemma.

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq provoked military action by the United States and its allies to protect oil supplies and shipping routes. After freeing Kuwait the allies pursued the Iraqi attackers but stopped short of toppling the government. When that government was subsequently believed to be developing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and preparing to attack Western assets, a second invasion of Iraq was undertaken to replace its government, to destroy its war-making capabilities and to protect our oil supplies. No WMDs were found, so a new goal was announced—installing a model democracy to help stabilize the region, i.e., nation building.

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