U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, along with two other Americans, were killed Tuesday night at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. A group of about twenty militants stormed the consulate wielding automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. The militants were chanting, ‘We are all Osama,’ in memory of the slain terrorist. They were protesting a low-budget film being produced in California called, “Innocence of Muslims,” which is a satire of the life of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
A few days ago, in response to the film, several protestors in Egypt scaled the walls of the U.S. embassy and tore down the American flag. U.S. embassies were then issued warnings to be aware of potential attacks. No one was expecting the magnitude of what happened at the U.S. consulate in Libya on Tuesday night. Secretary of State Clinton asked, “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate and in a city we helped save from destruction.” Egypt and Libya are currently trying to deal with the turmoil that has followed the ousting of their longtime dictators just last year.
Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty in over 30 years. Unfortunately, senior U.S. officials feel that more attacks could be just around the corner. President Obama has promised that justice will be served, and has increased security at U.S. diplomatic posts around the world. The U.S. has deployed a team of Marines to safeguard Americans in Libya, and sources told CNN that unmanned drones will be sent over the skies of Libya to search for jihadi camps.
The group suspected of the attack that resulted in the death of Stevens is called Ansar al Sharia, a Libya based group with an ideology similar to al Qaeda. The group has denied responsibility, but Libyan President Mohammed Yussef Magariaf has pledged his government’s full cooperation to bring the culprits to justice.
What do you think will happen in response to these recent events? How do you think the U.S. should respond to this and to future attacks on U.S. consulates? How far can the U.S. push the limit regarding the security of its ambassadors in foreign countries and in investigating attacks in these nations without violating international law? This attack has brought several foreign policy issues to the forefront, and GOP candidate Romney wasted no time in taking his stance. To what extent can this tragic attack affect the upcoming election?