The Middle East Channel

Rage over anti-Islamic video continues across Muslim world

Violent protests over an amateur video produced in the United States deemed insulting to Islam have continued into Monday. Protesters started fires around Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, and threw stones at U.S. military base, Camp Phoenix, injuring more than 20 police officers. On Saturday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a base which killed ...

AFP/Getty Images
AFP/Getty Images

Violent protests over an amateur video produced in the United States deemed insulting to Islam have continued into Monday. Protesters started fires around Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, and threw stones at U.S. military base, Camp Phoenix, injuring more than 20 police officers. On Saturday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for an attack on a base which killed two U.S. Marines. Violence erupted in several Indonesian cities, including outside the U.S. embassy in the capital, Jakarta. In Pakistan, an estimated 3,000 students and teachers demonstrated against the video in the town of Chaman in southwestern Baluchistan province. The Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim group, Hezbollah, has called for new protests against the video. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah appeared on the group’s al-Manar TV station calling the video "the worst attack ever on Islam," urging for a week of protests and pushing Muslim governments to express their anger towards the United States. Hundreds of students demonstrated in Yemen‘s capital, Sanaa, calling for the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the militant group based in Yemen, has called the week’s unrest a "great event," and called for attacks against Western embassies. The United States deployed a platoon of Marines to the country to protect the U.S. embassy in response to last week’s storming of the compound by demonstrators. Yemeni’s Interior Ministry has claimed to have arrested 13 suspects allegedly involved in the attack. Protests in Egypt, Libya, Tunisian, and Sudan have waned.

Syria

U.N. human rights investigators have urged the U.N. Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) after adding to a confidential list of Syrians and military units suspected of committing war crimes. The head of the investigation team, Brazilian Paulo Pinheiro said, "gross human rights violations have grown in number, in pace and in scale." The report shows an increase in indiscriminate assaults by government forces on civilians in what appears to be a state-directed policy. He did not say if Syrian opposition members were on the list. However, he reported an "increasing and alarming presence" of Islamist militants operating independently as well as joining opposition forces. On Monday, Human Rights Watch said opposition groups have tortured detainees and committed extrajudicial or summary executions. Meanwhile, Syrian warplanes fired missiles that hit Lebanese territory on Monday in one of the worst cross-border violations since the beginning of the uprising in March 2011. In efforts to end fighting in Syria, foreign ministers from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey met in Cairo to discuss a regional solution to the conflict.

Headlines  

  • Four Palestinians have been convicted by a Hamas-run military court in the Gaza Strip of murdering an Italian activist in April 2011.
  • A Baghdad suicide car bombing killed an estimated seven people and wounded an Iraqi member of parliament in the deadliest attack on the Green Zone since the December 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal.
  • Islamic militants attacked an Egyptian security headquarters in the Sinai Peninsula, killing one soldier in what appears to be a response to early morning police raids.

Arguments and Analysis

Divided We Stand: Libya’s Enduring Conflicts‘ (International Crisis Group)

"The 11 September killing of the U.S. ambassador and three of his colleagues is a stark reminder of Libya’s security challenges. It also should serve as a wake-up call. There is, of course, more than one way to look at the country today: as one of the more encouraging Arab uprisings, recovering faster than expected; or as a country of regions and localities pulling in different directions, beset by intercommunal strife and where well-armed groups freely roam. Evidence exists for both: successful elections on one hand, violent attacks on the other. In truth, the most and the least promising features of post-Qadhafi Libya stem from a single reality. Because the country lacks a fully functioning state, effective army or police, local actors – notables, civilian and military councils, revolutionary brigades – have stepped in to provide safety, mediate disputes and impose ceasefires. It will not be easy and will have to be done gingerly, but it is past time to reverse the tide, reform army and police and establish structures of a functioning state that can ensure implementation of ceasefire agreements and tackle root causes of conflict."

Yemen Inflamed‘ (Adam Baron, The Nation)

"As a mob of angry demonstrators descended on the heavily guarded United States Embassy in Sanaa, many observers seemed stunned into disbelief. The breach of the Embassy itself was unthinkable. And the sheer anger displayed by the demonstrators, even according to many Yemenis, was chilling. But even if a video regarded as blasphemous prompted Thursday’s events, the factors at play involve much more than a movie."

A Preventable Massacre‘ (Seth Anziska, The New York Times)

"On the night of Sept. 16, 1982, the Israeli military allowed a right-wing Lebanese militia to enter two Palestinian refugee camps in Beirut. In the ensuing three-day rampage, the militia, linked to the Maronite Christian Phalange Party, raped, killed and dismembered at least 800 civilians, while Israeli flares illuminated the camps’ narrow and darkened alleyways. Nearly all of the dead were women, children and elderly men."

In an Islamist Egypt, can diversity survive?’ (Michael Wahid Hanna and Elijah Zarwan, Los Angeles Times)

"Morsi would do well to remember his promises to be "a president for all Egyptians," mindful of the fact that a majority of those who voted for him in the runoffs preferred someone else in the first round. His political rivals would do well to cooperate with him and the Brotherhood to meet the serious practical challenges Egypt faces, to present themselves as credible alternatives rather than only as armchair critics, and to keep the agenda focused on solving the country’s problems. To the extent opportunities arise, Morsi’s opponents should meet him halfway, cooperating on those issues on which they can agree while articulating a positive alternative on those issues where they do not."

–By Jennifer Parker and Mary Casey

 Twitter: @casey_mary

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