In the wake of last week’s attacks on the US embassy in Cairo and the US consulate in Benghazi, and the killing of the US Ambassador to Libya and several of his staffers as they helped evacuate that consulate, US (and other Western) embassies have been attacked across the Islamic world. These attacks were purportedly instigated by a new film, titled “Innocence of Muslims”, which claims to portray the life of the Prophet Mohammad. At the very least the film gave Islamists a pretext for attacking the United States. But it is the reaction to “Innocence of Muslims” throughout the Islamic world that is a telling indicator of the intolerance of the Islamic world and, I think, gives a good example of why many in the West are, with good reason, afraid of Islam as practiced by a good chunk of its adherent. (As a side note, I refer to the Islamic world rather than Islam intentionally. Like Christianity and Judaism, or any other religion, Islam is capable of tolerant and open-minded interpretations and intolerant and hateful interpretations. It is what its adherents make of it).
This is the first post dealing with Tuesday’s murderous attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, in which 4 American diplomats, including the US ambassador to Libya, and the storming of the US embassy compound in Cairo. At some point I’l put together a post about what the reaction to the film that allegedly started the latest round of unrest says about the Arab world, but for now I want to talk about what the attack on the US Embassy in Cairo. Although the attack on the Benghazi consulate was the bloodier of the two assaults, the assault on the embassy in Cairo tells us more about the failure of American foreign policy in the Middle East.