As of this writing, the evidence is mounting that the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three of his colleagues were killed by terrorists in a well-planned, sophisticated attack. The four Americans were not victims of a frenzied mob violently expressing its outrage over the offensive content of a base, anti-Muslim film.
According to a report in the Times of Israel, a witness and a senior Libyan security official confirmed that heavily armed militants used the melee of the protest as a cover to attack the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
Wanis el-Sharef, eastern Libya’s deputy interior minister, said the terrorists executed a two-pronged attack against the Americans. He added that it appeared the attackers had operated with insider information. They knew the precise whereabouts of a safe house to which the doomed diplomats had been taken.
Nor was the timing of the attack against the Americans in Libya, Egypt and Yemen a coincidence.
Stevens and his colleagues were killed in a commemorative celebration at the hands of pro-Al Qaeda terrorists, if not actual members of Al Qaeda, on 9/11.
The day following the attacks, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri urged Muslims to “topple the western proxies” left in their countries. This was a clear reference to the governments who allow American forces to remain on the sacred Muslim soil of the Middle East.
Not only did al-Zawahiri target Americans, he also took aim at the favourite scapegoat of every Middle Eastern despot: Israel. The Islamic nation, he proclaimed, is capable of defeating the “Zionist-Crusader enterprise… in the heart of the Islamic world and especially in occupied Palestine, like it defeated this enterprise… in Iraq and Afghanistan, and like it managed to deliver the greatest blow in the history of America, on its own land, changing American history and destroying its economy.”
There was clearly more to the story of the embassy violence last week than the anger evoked by a vindictive, infantile, stupid, silly film. The protests were angry, to be sure; but they were certainly not spontaneous. They were orchestrated by a sinister group of extremists intent on remaking the world in their Islamist image.
And now, once again, the Arab street throughout the explosive Middle East, is roiling. Mobs of mostly young and unemployed men become fast-moving armies, easily exploited by the blood-soaked hand in the background to provide the drama of the violent, rowdy, yet severely telegenic protest.
Last week, the mob in Benghazi was manipulated to provide cover for murder. Western governments must be wary of this even while they do their utmost to bring the murderers of the American diplomats to justice.