Anatomy of Muslim riots in Benghazi, Cairo and …

As usual, Juan Cole has the scoop on how the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi went down:

Libyan special forces members … explained that there were three stages to the events there. First, there was a demonstration. Then when the police and consulate guards tried to curb it, the demonstrators got angry and some of them went for guns and a rocket propelled grenade, so that the consulate was set on fire and looted. It was at that second stage that US ambassador Chris Stevens and another diplomat were killed…

and about the hateful film that set off the demonstrations:

… the film was shot in such a way that there was originally no mention of the Prophet Muhammad in the script, and the cast had no idea what they were getting themselves into, and then the name of Muhammad was clumsily dubbed into the final edit.

Cole notes that

It should be remembered that Libyan forces fought and risked their lives to protect Americans.

He also comments on Romney’s exploitation of the 9/11 anniversary and his politicization of the whole affair.

Summing up, Cole writes:

The storm … has revealed character on an international scale. The steely determination of an Obama to achieve justice, the embarrassing grandstanding of a Romney, the destructive hatred of a handful of extremists in Cairo and Benghazi, and the decency and warmth toward the US of the Libyan crowds, all were thrown into stark relief…

Unfortunately, sensible and knowledgeable voices like Cole’s are drowned out in the din that ensues in the reaction to such an outrage.

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Filed under Arab Spring, Libya, Politics

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