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Several Questions on Cairo and Benghazi

Author: Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
September 12, 2012
National Review


First: As the Washington Post reported, "A group of protesters scaled the wall of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Tuesday evening and entered its outer grounds, pulled down an American flag, then tried to burn it outside the embassy walls, according to witnesses." My own sources suggest that attackers were in the embassy grounds for hours before they were finally expelled.

It is fair to ask why police protection was not provided until it was too late. Protection of foreign embassies is an elementary responsibility of governments, and one we should insist that Mr. Morsi's new Muslim Brotherhood government fulfill. The U.S. government should demand an apology, and demand that such a failure never be repeated.

Where is Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi? Why has he not gone on Egyptian TV to express outrage? Coming from a Muslim Brotherhood leader that would be significant; its absence is even more significant. On the occasion of Mr. Obama's forthcoming meeting with Morsi at the United Nations, this should be on top of the agenda — and the American complaint and Egyptian apology and pledge to do better should be exchanged, publicly, on camera. We give Egypt over a billion dollars a year in military aid. Members of Congress may wish to direct that aid, henceforth, to elements of the Egyptian police and military that are supposed to protect embassies. Or to suspend it until we learn how the Egyptian security services plan to protect our missions there.

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