Liberal activists like Mr. Aggour started the Arab Spring revolts. Now they are taking to the social media to express their dismay that a contentious film trailer could generate more attention and outrage than bloody oppression and threats to the freedom that they have risked their lives to obtain.

Some liberal activists say the latest unrest is further proof that Islamists have seized the gains of the revolution. Others, though, suspect that far-right provocateurs are fueling the rage and argue that the protests highlight the continuing struggle between moderate and extreme Islamic forces…

“We begged our Arab ‘brothers’ to protest against Bashar’s crimes against humanity and Islam. Nope, they’d rather protest against Obama!” Shakeeb al-Jabri, an editor of a Syrian activist news site who is based in Beirut, wrote on Twitter, referring to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.

The circumstances surrounding the film have fueled activists’ suspicions.