Libyan officials this morning announced the arrest of four people in the attack on the American consulate that ended with the murder of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. Who are the suspects? So far the Libyans aren’t sharing much about their identities, but they’re not looking for random rioters. NBC News reports that the Libyans are convinced that the riot was a deliberate cover to get to the American personnel:
So far, the US isn’t going that far, holding off on any accusations of a planned terrorist attack. If true, it would prompt further questions about American intel and preparedness on such an obvious target date as the anniversary of 9/11. Questions have already arisen over the lack of effective security and the apparent exposure of a prepared safe house. If this was a planned operation by al-Qaeda, which has filled the vacuum left in the eastern part of the country by the Western-led toppling of the Qaddafi regime, it will be a huge public-relations boon for the terrorist network, which has been on its heels for the last several years. It’s interesting to note, though, that no one has yet credibly claimed credit for Stevens’ assassination.
The Libyan government has acted with much more energy in response to the riot than the Egyptian government in Cairo has with the ongoing protests there. That’s certainly a demonstration of the relative strength of alliances in the region.