The Other Video Depicting Islam That Should Have Your Attention
There seems little challenge to the claims that what provoked the attacks on the US Embassies in Cairo and Benghazi, killing US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three of his staff members, was an angry mob incensed by a trailer for an obscurely made film, Innocence of Muslims. The 14-minute long video depicting the prophet Muhammad as a bumbling homosexual pedophile was uploaded to YouTube in June and garnered little interest until translated into Egyptian Arabic and reposted a few days ago. It’s not shocking Muslims who have lived their lives behind the heavy hand of government censorship found the video objectionable. In the past less than positive depictions of Muhammad have incited vile fatwas and misguided angry mobs, most notably Salmon Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses and the 2005 Dutch comic strips. However, Innocence of Muslims and its protestors are in all probability the screen for which another movie is being projected.
On the anniversary of September 11th, Al Qaeda released a 42-minute video on Jihadist forums called “Truth has Come, Falsehood Perished“ in which leader in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Al-Qaeda’s American spokesman Adam Gahan, declared that the United States has made it “crystal clear” they’re at war with Islam. Gahan went on to say, “Today, American Muslims are being killed in Yemen (by the U.S. Government), tomorrow they’re going to be killed in New York and Los Angeles. Get ready for the holocaust.”
Further, Zawahiri stated that Muslims should avenge the death of his second in command Abu Yahya al-Libi, the “Lion of Libya.” Al-Libi was a producer of propaganda videos for Al-Qaeda who took the position of second in command of Al-Qaeda once Zawahiri assumed leadership. In 2005 Al-Libi was killed by an American drone strike in Mir Ali on June 4th, 2012.
June 6th, the day after al-Libi was killed, Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan extremist group with ties to Al-Qaeda launched IED attacks on the US consulate in the city of Benghazi. Over the next several weeks they attacked a British convoy in Benghazi as well as the US consulate in Tunisia, both with no casualties. As well as these attacks they’ve tried to take credit for the ransacking of the consulate in Benghazi while also making a shoddy attempt to frame it as a populist uprising.
Although hard evidence as to who perpetrated these first attacks has yet to surface, the State Department Under Secretary Patrick Kennedy announced that they find mob rule highly unlikely considering the proliferation of arms at the Embassy, which included assault rifles and grenade launchers. The attackers were also able to sustain their front for several hours, another sign that this was not a mere escalation of emotional protestors but an act that took preparation. Shortly after the attacks President Obama and Vice President Biden both publicly stated that the killers will be brought to justice, something that rarely happens in the case of mob rule. At this time the US has two Destroyers, USS Laboon and USS McFaul, strategically positioned off the coast of Lybia.
This is not the first time US Embassies in Northern Africa were attacked proceeding a call to arms by Zawahiri. On August 6th, 1998, Zawahiri issued a “warning” to Americans, “which we hope they read with care, because we will write it, with God’s help, in a language they will understand.” The very next day August 7, American embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania were bombed almost simultaneously. The Kenya bombing alone killed 213 and injured 4,500. These actions, along with intelligence suggesting that bin Laden was in the process of securing chemical weapons led President Clinton to launch a full-fledged Tomahawk missile attack on suspected terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, Al Shifa, and a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum.
A protest being highjacked is also something we’ve seen before. Although in no correlation with violence in North Africa, the heavily protested meeting of the WTO in Seattle on November 30th, 1999 comes to mind. WTO drew thousands of people to downtown Seattle in such numbers that Clinton’s convoy couldn’t make it through the crowd to the convention center. Several hours later as many protestors celebrated this minor victory, a small group of masked anarchists from Eugene Oregon – with a specific list of corporations they wish to abolish – infiltrated the crowd. Once they made their way to stores from the companies they wanted to destroy they smashed windows, kicked the ‘N’ off of the Nike Town sign, and demolished a Starbucks coffee shop. As ill prepared police officers, many donning riot gear for the first time, tried to reprimand and arrest anyone seen destroying property, scores of innocent and confused protestors found themselves in the line of fire. Soon all hell broke loose and the conflict escalated.
As today’s protests make their way to Yemen the details about why Nakoula Basseley Nakoula made the Innocence of Muslims, which despite the claim that it had a $5 million budget – something that has yet to be traced – and how it came to be translated into Arabic are fuzzy at best. It’s seems the media is not paying attention to the right video or the right actions taken by Radical Islamists in the past. The only thing certain is that if US solders make one faulty procedure while defending our embassies, a confused crowd could easily fall into the hands of a small group who believe they’re in the middle of a religious war. It’s very possible they already have.