|U.S. sends Marines to Libya after ambassador’s killing||
The killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the first such killing of a U.S. envoy since the death of Washington’s ambassador to Afghanistan in 1979, together with the breaching the walls of the U.S. embassy in Cairo by Islamist demonstrators, touched off bitter political recriminations in Washington.
The Libyan attack is by all appearances a case of the chickens coming home to roost. Ambassador Stevens was himself very much involved in executing a policy that culminated in his own demise. The war for “regime change” that ended with the lynch-mob murder of former leader Muammar Gaddafi last October was prosecuted by means of U.S.-NATO bombardment and the arming, training and financing of “rebels” that included Islamist elements closely connected to Al-Qaeda. Now it appears that these same elements have killed Stevens.
While designed to install a puppet government subordinate to the interests of Washington and the Western oil companies and to teach China a lesson as to who runs North Africa, the war has produced what in the parlance of the intelligence services is known as blowback.
No doubt a contributing factor to Tuesday’s bloody events is the fact that the US-NATO war has brought no benefit to masses of Libyans, who are increasingly embittered over the devastation of their country.
Both the incidents in Benghazi and Cairo, together with smaller demonstrations in Tunisia, Sudan, Morocco and the Gaza Strip, were ostensibly in response to a provocative, rabidly anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S. A trailer for the amateurish and cartoon-like video, titled “Innocence of Muslims,” was posted on YouTube in July, and more recently was dubbed in Arabic and became more widely known after being denounced on an Egyptian television program.
Initially an individual describing himself as Sam Bacile, an Israeli-American real estate developer in California, claimed he had made the video to “expose” Islam. It later appeared, however, that no such person exists. Promoted by Christian right elements, the film appears to have been designed precisely to provoke violent confrontations.
The sequence of events in Benghazi remains somewhat murky. Initial reports attributed the attack to a militia known as the Ansar al-Sharia brigade, but the group has denied involvement.
Libya’s deputy interior minister, Wanis al-Sharif, tried to pin the blame on supporters of Gaddafi, but also suggested that the Americans were responsible for their own fate for not heeding previous warnings of attacks by Al-Qaeda. “It was necessary that they take precautions,” he told AFP. “It was their fault that they did not take the necessary precautions.”
The New York Times Wednesday cited U.S. officials as suggesting that the death of Stevens was not merely the accidental byproduct of spontaneous protest. “Indications suggest the possibility that an organized group had either been waiting for an opportunity to exploit like the protests over the video or perhaps even generated the protests as a cover for their attack,” the Times reported.
As many as 80 militiamen, armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and 14.5mm anti-aircraft machine guns took part in the assault, a Libyan reporter told the BBC.
Others have suggested that the attack, carried out on September 11, may have been the work of Al-Qaeda-linked elements seeking revenge for the U.S. drone assassination of Abu Yahya al-Libi, the Libyan-born Al-Qaeda leader killed in June in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border.
Sharif said that two of the slain Americans died as U.S. security forces flown in from the capital of Tripoli tried to evacuate U.S. personnel from a safe house in Benghazi, where they had been taken during the attack on the consulate.
“It was supposed to be a secret place, and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting,” Sharif told Reuters, suggesting that the attackers had good intelligence on U.S. operations in the city.
Ambassador Stevens and another member of the U.S. consular staff were killed in the attack on the consulate. Libyan authorities said that Stevens died of asphyxiation, apparently resulting from fires ignited by rocket-propelled grenades and homemade bombs. The consulate was left gutted and looted.
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