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U.S. Ambassador Killed In Libya

The U.S. Ambassador to Libya was among four Americans killed late Tuesday in an attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi. We’ll look at what happened and why.

A burnt car is seen after an attack on the U.S. Consulate by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed. (AP)

A burnt car is seen after an attack on the U.S. Consulate by protesters angry over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in Benghazi, Libya, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed. (AP)

A terrible set of days out of North Africa and the Arab world. An American ambassador – an especially fine one by all accounts – dead in Libya. And not only the ambassador. Fury and the flag down at the US embassy in Cairo, the heart of the Arab Spring.

Today, the American embassy in Yemen stormed – walls scaled, fire set. A firestorm at home over Mitt Romney’s instant intervention. A bizarre attack film on Islam. Fears of a militant hand behind popular outrage. And big questions over everything.

This hour, On Point: looking at and through the fury in the Arab world.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Kirkpatrick, Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times.

Jake Tapper, senior White House correspondent for ABC New

Christopher Dickey, Paris Bureau Chief and Middle East Regional Editor for Newsweek/Daily Beast.

Shadi Hamid, Director of Research at the Brookings Doha Center and a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution

From Tom’s Reading List

al Jazeera “The US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, has died from smoke inhalation in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, the country’s interior ministry and security sources have said. An armed mob attacked and set fire to the building in a protest against an amateur film deemed offensive to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, after similar protests in Egypt’s capital.”

New York Times “The United States ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed along with three of his staff members in a fiery and furious attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi on Tuesday night by an armed mob angry over a short American-madevideo mocking Islam’s founding prophet, the White House and Libyan officials said on Wednesday.”

Foreign Policy “What makes the deaths all the more tragic is that they will inevitably become politicized. On Tuesday, conservative websites were highly critical of a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that came ahead of a protest where demonstrators breached the embassy’s walls in a moment reminiscent of 1979 in Iran. Liz Cheney and the Republican-controlled House Foreign Affairs Committee joined in, accusing the administration of issuing an “apology” for a bizarre and mysterious film attacking the Prophet Mohammed that served as a pretext for the protests. And the Romney campaign issued its own statement. Wednesday will likely bring more finger-pointing.”

American Conservative “Two things ought to be kept in mind as the furor develops. First, while an inflammatory YouTube video may have detonated the charge, the powderkeg in Libya and Egypt has other origins. If mobs can express their will by overthrowing dictators, why shouldn’t they express their will by slaughtering diplomats as well? Westerners across the political spectrum have been willfully naive not only about who some of the Arab Spring revolutionaries are — by no means a majority, but quite enough, are extremists of the sort the U.S. has elsewhere been fighting in the vaunted War on Terror — but about the nature of revolution in general, which does not come to a neat conclusion with the death of a monster like Gaddafi.”

Video

Here is a video from the State Department about Ambassador Chris Stevens.


Here is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement on Stevens’ death.


Here is a story from CNN on the attack.

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