Friday, September 14, 2012

Protests -- And Threats Of Protests -- Against The US In The Middle East Spread

After the attacks on the US embassies in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya -- US embassies issued warnings of more protests:
  • Armenia
  • Burundi
  • Kuwait
  • Sudan
  • Tunisia
  • Zambia
  • Egypt
I'm not sure why the US embassy in Armenia would issue such a warning, since there is no major native Muslim population there.

The Independent has an article today on the protests that have occurred since Cairo and Benghazi:
  • In Sana'a, Yemen, around 5,000 demonstrators attacked the US embassy, leaving at least 15 people injured.
  • Demonstrators in Cairo attacked the mission on Tuesday evening and protests have continued since.
  • Protesters in Baghdad burned American flags yesterday. The warning from the Iranian-backed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq came as demonstrators demanded the closure of the US embassy in the capital.
  • In Dhaka, Bangladesh Islamists warned they may "besiege" the US embassy after security forces stopped around 1,000 protesters marching to the building. The Khelafat Andolon group called for bigger protests as demonstrators threw their fists in the air, burned the flag and chanted anti-US slogans.
  • In Gaza City, There was a Hamas-organised protest
  • In Tel Aviv, as many as 100 Arab Israelis took to the streets
  • In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai postponed a trip to Norway, fearing violence.
  • Officials in Pakistan said they "expected protests".
  • Protesters in Tunis burnt US flags.
  • Also, US Consulate General in Jerusalem warned US citizens to stay away from East Jerusalem on September 14
  • In Morocco more than 300 protested near the US consulate in Casablanca. There was no violence reported, but protesters shouted "Death to Obama!"
  • In Sudan, a few hundred protesters gathered outside the US embassy in Khartoum, where a group calling itself "Sudanese Youth" delivered a list of demands to the embassy staff demanding an apology and removal of the YouTube video and criticizing Pastor Terry Jones.
Some of the protests are organized, some may be spontaneous.
The question is whether the protests are going to gain in momentum or fade out in the coming week.

This may be an opportune time for those countries in the Middle East who claim to be friends and allies of the US to show themselves.

Libya has made that effort.
Morsi, not so much.

Similarly, it may be time for the US to reexamine the billions that go to countries in the Middle East.

Yesterday, Senator Rand Paul proposed cutting back money going to countries like Pakistan that hid bin Laden and have sentenced the doctor who helped the US locate bin Laden to life imprisonment

The implications of these attacks go beyond their potential influence on the election -- it could, and should, affect US foreign policy as well.

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