There have been recent claims that the violence in Libya that resulted in the death of Chris Stevens was not caused by an offensive, American-made video, but rather by terrorism linked to al-Qaeda. Libyan President Mohamed al-Magarief made the statement that the attacks on the United States Embassy were not spontaneous reactions to the anti-Muhammad video produced in the U.S., but were actually planned attacks by al-Qaeda.
On the date of the attacks, several people saw members of Ansar al-Shariah in the area of the attacks, carrying rocket-propelled grenades. Ansar al-Shariah is said to have close ties with al-Qaeda, which is one of the reasons the Libyan government is now blaming the attacks on terrorism. The attacks were also carried out using heavy weaponry including RPGs. President al-Magarief said that this is a clear sign that the attacks were executed by ”experienced masterminds”.
In another more controversial piece of evidence, Ansar al-Shariah claimed responsibility for the attacks on Facebook after they happened. A day after this claim, they denied responsibility. The United States, and particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has taken the position that a claim on Facebook calls for further investigation before the U.S. fully commits to a new position, but many are criticizing the U.S. Government and particularly President Obama, stating that he wrongly blamed the video for the attacks, not condemning the fact that it was caused by terrorism.
There is also much controversy because, according to CNN, the Obama Administration knew that the attacks could have been caused by terrorism very quickly after they were carried out, and still said nothing about that. CNN and The Wall Street Journal both try to emphasize the idea that Obama made several speeches about condemning the video that insults Islam and Muhammad, but did not mention “terror”, only “violence”. He has recently changed this stance by removing a part of his speech that claims that al-Qaeda is on the run.
It is interesting that the article from Aljazeera is more than a month old, but the articles from U.S. sources are much more recent; it just goes to show that the U.S. is a bit late in the game in sorting out what really happened in these attacks.
QUESTIONS: How might this information alter the course of the upcoming U.S. elections? Both of the U.S. articles seem biased against Obama; are they a true indicator of how America really feels about this issue? Are Facebook and heavy weaponry sufficient evidence to blame this on terrorism? Should this change the punishment of the creators of the hurtful anti-Muhammad video? (the man who made the video was arrested in California for violating his parole)