The Middle East Channel

U.S. ambassador to Libya killed in attack on consulate

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. officials have been reported killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate late Tuesday night in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi. Protesters armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed the consulate and set it on fire, according to Libyan officials. One report said the Americans were ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. officials have been reported killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate late Tuesday night in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi. Protesters armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades stormed the consulate and set it on fire, according to Libyan officials. One report said the Americans were killed when gunmen opened fire on their car as they were being evacuated, while others stated Ambassador Stevens died from smoke inhalation. The assault was sparked by a protest against a low-budget film made by an Israeli-American from California, Sam Bacile, and promoted by an Egyptian expatriate. The trailer to the film, "Innocence of Muslims," which was posted on YouTube, has been criticized for being highly insulting to Muslims, denigrating the Prophet Muhammad. The film also spurred an attack on the U.S. embassy in Cairo, where demonstrators breached the compound and pulled down and burned the U.S. flag, which had been flying at half-mast for the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks. U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have condemned the attacks, joined by Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur.

Syria

Syrian opposition forces killed at least 18 Syrian soldiers in a car bombing and attack on a military post in Idlib province. Four Armenian Syrians were killed and 13 injured in clashes about three miles from Aleppo’s airport. It is not certain who initiated the fighting. Government forces shelled several neighborhoods in Aleppo, killing an estimated 13 people, mostly civilians. According to the Local Coordination Committees, up to 136 people were killed across Syria Tuesday, mostly in Aleppo, Damascus and its suburb, and Hama. A group of nearly 300 Filipino workers have returned to Manila fleeing Syria’s civil war, in repatriation negotiated between Syria and the Philippines. There are an estimated 3,600 additional Filipino workers in Syria with 3,000 who have expressed a desire to stay despite the conflict. Meanwhile, U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is set to meet with President Bashar al-Assad in his first visit to Damascus since taking the post. The trip will come just days after Egypt hosted a summit on Syria with diplomats from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt.

Headlines  

  • The White House insists there is no rift between the United States and Israel, as Prime Minister Netanyahu chides President Obama for failure to set "red lines" on Iran’s nuclear development.
  • The Palestinian Authority has announced a package of subsidies and tax cuts in addition to canceling a tax hike in efforts to quell West Bank economic protests.
  • Libya’s 200-member national congress is electing a new prime minister on Wednesday, picking from eight candidates, including Mahmoud Jibril, who led the transitional council during last year’s revolution. 

Arguments & Analysis 

Seven Lean Years of Peacemaking‘ (Daniel Levy, The New York Times)

"That Israel will never live in peace and security with the Palestinians or the wider Arab and Muslim world under such terms doesn’t seem to matter. Forty-five years of Israeli impunity as settlements metastasized in defiance of international law has bred an understandable sense of invincibility. Add to that mix the emaciated state of liberal Israeli politics, the messianic orientation that infuses religious nationalism and the catastrophism endemic to much Zionist thinking – and the seven lean years look set to continue. But don’t be under any illusions; such injustice will not be sustainable

…The choices are stark. Either Israel takes bold and urgent action to reverse the 1.5 percent doctrine by getting out of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, or it acknowledges that the doctrine has triumphed and embraces a democratic solution that moves beyond the classic two-state paradigm and guarantees full and equal rights for all residents in some form of confederation or unitary state."

The Future of Egypt’s Electoral Law‘ (Daniel Tavana, Sada)

"The architects of Egypt’s transition and those responsible for drafting the constitution have given little thought to the future of the country’s electoral law-a critical component of sustainable democracy. Seemingly bigger issues have come to dominate the attention of decision makers in recent months: curbing institutional interests, checking the power of the military, and holding a broader debate on the role of religion in politics. Debate over these issues has come at the expense of discussing inclusive laws regulating elections and the legitimate transfer of political power."

Turkey is No Partner for Peace‘ (Halil Karaveli, Foreign Affairs)

"At first glance, it appears that the United States and Turkey are working hand in hand to end the Syrian civil war. On August 11, after meeting with Turkish officials, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement that the two countries’ foreign ministries were coordinating to support the Syrian opposition and bring about a democratic transition. In Ankara on August 23, U.S. and Turkish officials turned those words into action, holding their first operational planning meeting aimed at hastening the downfall of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Beneath their common desire to oust Assad, however, Washington and Ankara have two distinctly different visions of a post-revolutionary Syria. The United States insists that any solution to the Syrian crisis should guarantee religious and ethnic pluralism. But Turkey, which is ruled by a Sunni government, has come to see the conflict in sectarian terms, building close ties with Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Sunni opposition, seeking to suppress the rights of Syrian Kurds, and castigating the minority Alawites — Assad’s sect — as enemies. That should be unsettling for the Obama administration, since it means that Turkey will not be of help in promoting a multi-ethnic, democratic government in Damascus. In fact, Turkish attitudes have already contributed to Syria’s worsening sectarian divisions."

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey 

 Twitter: @casey_mary

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola