Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Libyan Protesters Kill American Ambassador

Ambassador Chris Stevens

Angry Muslim protesters in Libya upset over a film that portrays Muhammad in a negative light have killed the American ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three of his staff members, using guns and rocket-propelled granades. The embassy in Benghazi came under attack as officials attempted to evacuate it. Stevens is only the fifth ambassador in U.S. history to be killed in the line of duty. The last time an ambassador was killed in the line of duty was in Afghanistan in 1979. So much for the glory of Obama's Arab Spring that toppled regimes in Egypt and Libya and is now trying to topple the Syrian regime through covert actions.

Check out this video of Ambassador Stevens. He believed he was helping the very people who in the end turned on him and took his life.


Jeff Cox said...

And he was helping them while representing the United States to the best of his ability. The Foreign Service can be extremely difficult and dangerous. Even though I vehemently disagree with Obama's foreign policy, Chris Stevens is a hero in my book because of his sacrifice.

Gary R. Welsh said...

No argument from me on him being a hero. I'm just disappointed that our government provided such poor security for him in the first place. You can't protect all of our diplomats from all threats 100% of the time, but our government has done a pretty decent job over time given how few have died in the line of duty. Based on news reports, we were relying on Libyan security forces to protect our people at the embassy. That's inexcusable. Their vehicles were not the armored vehicles that I would have expected them to have in such a dangerous country. Those security forces put up little resistance to a relatively small number of terrorists who carried out this act. Their vehicles provided next to no protection to them as they attempted to escape the embassy.

Jeff Cox said...

It's not uncommon to at least partially rely on local security when the government is regarded as friendly. Which Libya's was.

But this seems to have been a planned attack. The Cairo and Benghazi riots were distractions. Libyan security moved the ambassador to a secure, undisclosed location, as they were supposed to do. But someone inside the security disclosed the location to the terrorists, who attacked with heavy weapons and rocket-propelled grenades. The house was burned to the ground.

They seem to have REALLY wanted the ambassador dead.

Gary R. Welsh said...

I don't think they know for sure whether Stevens was at the consulate or the safe house. Americans were killed at both locations. From Reuters:

It was not immediately clear precisely how or where California-born ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed during the assault. Stevens was a key player when the Obama administration supported the anti-Gaddafi insurgency.

U.S. consular staff were rushed to a safe house after the initial attack, Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al-Sharif said. An evacuation plane with U.S. commando units then arrived from Tripoli to evacuate them from the house.

"It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting," Sharif said. Two U.S. personnel were killed there, he said. Two other people were killed at the main consular building and between 12 and 17 wounded.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Reuters added:

"The Libyan security forces came under heavy fire and we were not prepared for the intensity of the attack," said Abdel-Monem Al-Hurr, spokesman for Libya's Supreme Security Committee.

U.S. ambassadors in such volatile countries as Libya are accompanied by tight security, usually travelling in well-protected convoys. Diplomatic missions are normally protected by Marines or other special forces.

The WSJ suggests he was killed at the consulate and taken to a hospital. Not sure where the photos of his dead body being paraded came from:

At that point, the shooting subsided, and residents and Libyan security personnel jumped into the destroyed diplomatic compound and attempted to pull the consular staff to safety. Libyans carried Ambassador Stevens' unconscious body from the consulate and drove him to Benghazi Central Hospital, according to Libyans and U.S. officials.

Doctors at the hospital said that staff there tried to revive him, but he was dead upon arrival. A Libyan doctor who treated Ambassador Stevens said the diplomat died of severe asphyxiation and that he tried for 90 minutes to revive him, according to the Associated Press.