The US ambassador to Libya is one of four Americans killed in an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, puncturing the Obama administration’s propaganda about bringing a new democratic ally to power in Libya.
Armed men stormed the US diplomatic building overnight, shooting at buildings and throwing handmade bombs into the consulate, supposedly angry about a US-produced comedy film they think insulted the Prophet Muhammad. The same video was said to be the impetus for scores of Egyptians storming the US Embassy in Cairo Tuesday night.
Some reports say Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and the other Americans died being suffocated, possibly from the smoke-filled building that was lit on fire by the attackers, while other reports say they died from rockets being fired at the US consulate.
This marks the first US Ambassador killed since 1979, and Obama has ordered heightened security at many other US diplomatic buildings in the region. The President also called in the Air Force to pick up and fly out other surviving US diplomatic employees. US Marines have been deployed to Libya to guard American diplomatic buildings.
The US imposed regime change in Libya last year through NATO airstrikes following protests against the regime of Muammar Gadhafi. The US and its NATO allies claimed they were bringing democracy to Libya, but many of the militias they supported to help overthrow Gadhafi were criminal gangs, many of whom are religious extremists.
Libya’s interim leader, Mohammed Magarief, formally apologized to the US over the killings, which he called “cowardly criminal acts.” But the likely culprits are exactly the type of armed thugs the US termed freedom fighters a matter of months ago.