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Protests morph into threat to Western assets
Posted By F. Michael Maloof On 09/17/2012 @ 8:27 pm In Front Page,Politics,U.S.,World | No Comments
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WASHINGTON – The surge of anti-American demonstrations, first in the Middle East and now throughout the Muslim world, has morphed into anti-Western opposition that is placing all that is Western in jeopardy, including assets, businesses and people themselves, says a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Many of the demonstrations, prompted initially by a U.S.-produced film ridiculing Muhammad, apparently were delayed to coincide with the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, since the film actually first appeared last June.
All the violent demonstrations, especially against U.S. embassies, businesses such as KFC and even American schools, have been undertaken by more radical Sunni Salafists and groups associated with al-Qaida.
But even though the demonstrations initially were spawned by the publicity around the film, the movement now has turned into general opposition to overall U.S. foreign policy.
All of this also is against a long backdrop of rising tensions over the increasing prospect that Israel wants to launch military attacks against Shi’a Iran’s nuclear facilities, having concluded that sanctions aren’t working and that diplomacy has run its course and failed.
When Iran’s nuclear sites might be attacked – and whether they should be attacked – are concerns that now dominate the differences between Israel and the United States.
One informed Middle East analyst has told WND/G2Bulletin that given the ongoing violent demonstrations, a military attack now on Iran despite Shi’ite Iran’s differences with Sunni Muslims, led by Saudi Arabia, could unite Sunnis and Shi’ites against the West, especially the U.S. and Israel, prompting even greater violence throughout the entire Muslim world.
Indeed, just as most of the violent demonstrations have occurred in predominantly Sunni-led countries, demonstrations now are being called for in Iran and by Hezbollah in Lebanon, where violence until now has been limited to a Sunni enclave in the northern part of the country around the city of Tripoli.
Analysts believe that demonstrations have not yet peaked and, in fact, could continue despite appeals from the leadership in some of the Muslim nations to calm what generally has become anti-U.S. sentiment. In Egypt, for example, President Mohamed Morsi called on protesters to cancel demonstrations, but they continued to demonstrate outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
Morsi, who is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, is concerned that the more radical Salafists will ignore his call and continue the unrest. This suggests that the demonstrations against the U.S. embassy in Cairo weren’t at the instigation of the Muslim Brotherhood but the more radical al-Nour-Salafists. Morsi’s concern is that continued demonstrations could harm efforts to get the U.S. to provide much-needed funds to help alleviate Egypt’s dire economic conditions.
In addition, Morsi is from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is opposed by the more radical Sunni Salafists who believe Morsi is catering too much to the U.S. The Salafists in Egypt have been very clear in their opposition to the U.S.-backed 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which Morsi has said will remain in effect.
While Egyptian demonstrators may continue public protests, even if muted at times, they are expected to come to the realization that Egypt needs to get its economy back in order – something that Morsi wants – and Egypt will continue needing Western financial support, especially from the U.S. and from the U.S.-backed International Monetary Fund.
In other countries such as Pakistan, where demonstrations are picking up, there has been a call to sever diplomatic relations with the U.S., much of it in opposition to the continued U.S. drone attacks of the Afghan Taliban in Pakistan but also Pakistani government opposition to the U.S. initiative last year to find al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden residing comfortably in Pakistan without telling the government beforehand.
The U.S. was concerned that the Pakistani government would tip off bin Laden, given its apparent knowledge of his presence there. U.S.-Pakistani relations also are at an all-time low due to continued Pakistani government backing of their creations – the Haqqani network and the Afghan Taliban – which are killing U.S. troops in neighboring Afghanistan.
Taliban members in neighboring Afghanistan, for example, now have taken credit for the killing last weekend of two U.S. Marines at Camp Leatherneck at the Camp Bastion compound in Helmand Province in the south.
In addition to initial demonstrations in Egypt and Libya, demonstrations are occurring in Afghanistan, Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq – even Israel – Lebanon in the north, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey the West Bank and Yemen.
The film produced in the U.S., however, was only a catalyst to stage violent demonstrations against long-simmering resentment of U.S. policy in the Middle East.
This includes not only prolonged involvement of the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also the bombings last year of Libya, an action which the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Gen. Michael Hayden, said occurred without a “deep appreciation” for what would follow. Even now, the Libyan government is weak, unable to control the various sectarian and ethnic clans that dominate the Libyan political landscape.
In addition, Muslim resentment is aimed at the U.S. for its commitment to Israel, including the lack of action against Israel’s continued settlement construction in the West Bank and backing Tel Aviv’s demand that there be a bilateral agreement between Israel and the Palestinians before the U.S. agrees to Palestinian statehood.
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