Libya Attack Brings Challenges for U.S.
13/09/2012 11 comentarios
Islamist militants armed with antiaircraft weapons, rocket-propelled, grenades stormed lightly defended United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, late Tuesday, killing the American ambassador and three members of his staff and raising questions about the radicalization of countries swept up in Arab Spring. 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. 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 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 an Islamist brigade formed during last year’s uprising against 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 United States Embassy in Cairo by an unarmed mob protesting the same video. On Wednesday, new crowds of protesters gathered outside United States Embassies in Tunis and Cairo. The wave of unrest set off by the video, posted online in United States two months ago and dubbed into Arabic for first time eight days ago, has further underscored the instability of the countries that cast off their longtime dictators in Arab Spring revolts. It also cast doubt on adequacy of security preparations at American diplomatic outposts in volatile region. Benghazi, awash in guns, has recently witnessed a string of assassinations as well as attacks on international missions, including a bomb said to be planted by another Islamist group that exploded near the United States mission there as recently as June. But a Libyan politician who had breakfast with Stevens at the mission the morning before he was killed described security, mainly 4 video cameras and as few as four Libyan guards, as sorely inadequate for an American ambassador in such a tumultuous environment. “This country is still in transition, everybody knows the extremists are out there”, said Fathi Baja, the Libyan politician (…..)