Attacks in Libya, Egypt: Three Things to Know

September 12, 2012

Attacks in Libya, Egypt: Three Things to Know
Explainer Video
from Video

The U.S. ambassador to Libya was killed and the U.S. embassy in Cairo came under attack in separate incidents apparently spurred by a video made in the United States that disparages Islam and the prophet Mohammad. Isobel Coleman, director of the CFR’s Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Initiative, highlights three things to know about the attacks:

- Benghazi and Cairo are not Tehran: These attacks are "not analogous to the takeover of the embassy in Iran in 1979," Coleman argues. "In neither case have the governments aided and abetted the protestors in their actions."

More on:

Libya

- Civil war may erupt in Libya: Unlike the relatively peaceful protest in Egypt, the Libya attack "could be the first salvo in almost a civil war in that country," Coleman says. The attack by a highly armed jihadi group against Libyan and American forces "underscores the problem of maintaining control in a country that is awash in arms."

- More tensions over the video are likely: "This issue is not going to go away," Coleman cautions. The Libyan government’s "lack of control over some significant parts of the population" will require increased security and attention for Libya’s international partners. Meanwhile, in Cairo, heightened tensions between Muslims and Christians are likely to continue.

More on:

Libya

Up
Close

Explore More on CFR

Japan

CFR's Sheila A. Smith joins James M. Lindsay to discuss the recent meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Trump. 

Syria

Syria is likely to remain a broken country for years to come. The latest strikes did not change that reality.

Cuba

Miguel Diaz-Canel, set to replace Raul Castro as president of Cuba after sixty years of Castro rule, will be faced with the challenges of implementing economic reform and sidestepping regional isolation.