Diplomatic ripples from embassy and consulate attacks to continue

posted at 1:21 pm on September 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Normally, nations rely on their diplomatic staffs to calm the waters after unrest within and between nations.  When that unrest targets the diplomatic missions, though, the process takes longer and leaves significant damage to the relationship.  The Washington Post warns that not only will violent protests continue in Muslim nations, it will result in reduced or eliminated diplomatic posts, which will make it more difficult to mend ties:

In Cairo, the U.S. Embassy returned to full staffing Sunday, a spokesman said, for the first time since Tuesday protests against an anti-Islam video made in the United States sparked turmoil across the Muslim world. But the American diplomatic presence remained reduced elsewhere in the region, meaning that there were fewer routes to repair relations even as they came under the most strain since the wave of democratic change caused last year by the Arab Spring.

In Tunisia, where additional security has been deployed to protect the embassy, the Saturday decision to withdraw nonessential U.S. staff from the mission there appeared to jar Tunisian officials, who have marketed the country as a model of democratic transformation after the peaceful toppling last year of the longtime president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Tunisia’s 2011 protests set the rest of the Arab world afire — and led, in the end, to newfound freedoms for many citizens to express their distaste for their own governments and for the United States.

Speaking of “newfound freedoms” to express “distaste” …

In an address to the nation Friday night, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki condemned that day’s violent attack on the U.S. Embassy and an American school, in which four protesters were killed. He said those who organized the protest — widely described here as religious hard-liners known as Salafists — had “crossed a red line.” Yet he also sought to appease the sentiments of those reportedly angered by the video, “The Innocence of Muslims,”saying Tunisia would work with Egypt to sue its producers.

Tunisia’s foreign minister, Hedi Ben Abbas, wants the US to send back its diplomatic personnel, most of whom evacuated Tunis in the wake of the riot that sacked the embassy.  His message? Trust us:

“We understand that there was a failure,” he said of security measures at the embassy and school. “Let’s be clear, the plan we put in place was not enough. It was weak.”

“The government of America cannot be responsible for the movie,” he said. Similarly, he said, “the Americans cannot blame the Tunisian government for the behavior” of protesters.

“The United States should trust us again,” Ben Abbas said. “We need them more than ever to support democracy.”

In other words, they need us more than we need them.  But Ben Abbas offers a false equivalency in this message.  The Tunisian government had the responsibility to protect the embassy from attack, and they failed.  They also had a moral responsibility before and after to avoid feeding the nonsense outrage over a six-month-old YouTube video and to refrain from stoking anti-Americanism.  Those failures are not the act of a friend, and we have no responsibility to put American diplomatic personnel in danger while the government there tries to appease paranoia by promising to file lawsuits in order to validate the rage of radicals. We had no responsibility to silence Americans to keep from hurting the feelings of Tunisians, which would be antithetical to our own identity and interests in real freedom of expression.

If the new government of Tunisia wants our help in establishing democracy, then they need to do more than just say trust us.  They need to demonstrate some backbone and stop giving radicals a pretext to establish credibility.  Otherwise, all the help we can provide won’t keep them from sinking into either an overt theocracy like Iran or a wafer-thin “democracy” used as a cover by the Muslim Brotherhood to establish a similar kind of system in a more secular context.  Either way, the outcome will be hostile to our interests, and we don’t need to waste resources and perhaps lose American diplomats as we did in Benghazi in that process.


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In The Muslim World, Religious Tolerance Is A One-Way Street

M2RB: Kalai

“[Coptic Christians] need to know that conquest in coming, and Egypt will be Islamic, and thay they must pay the jizya or emigrate.”

- Mohammed Morsi, President of Egypt, 27 May 2012

Resist We Much on September 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Ed: Why is no one SCREAMING for the autopsy results on the four dead bodies returned from Libya? I have seen nothing mentioned anywhere asking that question.

Carnac on September 17, 2012 at 3:22 PM

Because it would not help Obama if an autopsy showed evidence of abuse or torture on the victims’ bodies. Any prominent person asking to see autopsy results would be attacked by the Media Lapdogs as insensitive to the families, etc.

Nevertheless, if videos were taken of abuse and torture they will eventually surface, despite official attempts at suppression. Jihadists like to showcase their brutal butcheries; there are beheadings available on YouTube and elsewhere. It’s not just one Zapruder tape any more.

spiritof61 on September 17, 2012 at 3:53 PM

I’m just curious. If the video all the idiots claim was the catalyst for muslim uprising the world over was enough to get them so riled up, is it a good idea to release Sony movie about elimination of Bin Laden?

Simply want to see if any reporter in WH has the balls to ask the question since per WH bull shyte we “… can’t be riling up the great religion…”. Really want a reporter, JUST ONE, to ask the question to see what WH idiots come up with.

riddick on September 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

…the film…the film…the film!

KOOLAID2 on September 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

I’d rather a bunch of honest Tunisians that a bunch of dishonest Egyptians.

unclesmrgol on September 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

“the Americans cannot blame the Tunisian government for the behavior” of protesters.

Wait – What? We (Americans) are blamed for the actions of a few, but we cannot hold a government responsible for failing to protect our diplomatic mission?

The hell with these people.

jackal40 on September 17, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Let us not only close our embassies, but let us also withdraw all of our foreign add. I realize this will push most of these Islamic idiots into the arms of China, but they are already receiving aid from China or Russia. Let China try to shoulder the burdens of the world as we have done. The Chinese economy will collapse as well, or they will pull out just like we have, and they don’t have the respect for human rights that we do. Too bad it has come to this, but either we get in or get out, but we (Obama) can’t have it both ways.

georgeofthedesert on September 18, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Comment pages: 1 2