America is shocked and angry, and given the pressures of the U.S. presidential campaign, a retaliatory strike on Libya is almost guaranteed – and soon. That is the message of columnist Fadl Abd al-Taif of Libya newspaper Quryna. Al-Taif explains why the film Innocence of Muslims had little to do with the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate that killed Ambassador Chris Stephens and three others. He argues that the attack damaged the interests of Libya and Islam, and that Libya’s government must make sure that such a thing never happens again.
For Quryna, Fadl Abd al-Taif writes in part:
What happened is that one or the other of these parties exploited the issue of the film [the Innocence of Muslims] to carry out a retaliatory strike against the U.S. Consulate. Perhaps the presence of the U.S. Ambassador was a coincidence, or maybe the planners were aware of his presence. … The diplomatic reply of the U.S. president to the incident, which was the first official reaction, may not reflect the reality of the situation in the U.S. The United States has to contend with the medium- and long-term dimensions, especially when it comes to the issue of American prestige and national security, and while President Obama is locked in a campaign for a second term.
The spate of assaults and armed attacks against U.S. embassies, which began in Egypt and soon found more violent and barbaric resonance in Libya, and after that in Yemen and other Islamic countries, formed a comprehensive blow against U.S. foreign policy in North Africa. This is particularly true, as the attacks came alongside a change in U.S. foreign policy, which has exhibited an openness to new political systems in what is idiomatically known as the revolutions of the Arab Spring. The movement has received wide-ranging political and unprecedented logistical support from the United States, its European allies and others. These attacks may therefore constitute a dangerous turn in the direction of U.S. foreign policy in this region.
Given all this, the U.S. administration may be in a state of shock at the moment, reevaluating its situation, geopolitical calculations and relations with the political forces in the Arab region. … This painful attack directed at the American administration will not pass without retaliation, which will be of similar scope, and exercised to restore and preserve the prestige of the United States. The Republican Party is exerting pressure in this direction. This retaliation will be either direct (air strikes or naval strikes on limited targets and specific individuals), or indirect (secret intelligence). Such retaliation will be far-reaching, and will be aimed at influencing political and military alliances in Libya and North Africa to ensure the protection of U.S. strategic interests, and in general prevent exposing these interests to future threats.
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