By Konstantin Garibov
A wave of protests triggered by a U.S.-produced film said to insult Prophet Muhammad, “Innocence of Muslims” has turned into a global tsunami. After the U.S. embassies, the tsunami has covered the diplomatic missions of Germany and Britain and reached closer to Israeli embassies. The “anti-West fever” has spread from its epicenter in Africa and the Middle East to Asia.
Thousands of people attacked the embassies of the U.S., Germany and Britain in the Sudanese capital Khartoum. Tear gas was not an obstacle to the protesters to storm the German embassy and remove the German flag and plant the flag of Islam. In Tunisia, demonstrators hurled stones at the American embassy. They set fire to trees and vehicles on its territory and raised the Salaphite black banner. After Friday prayers, pogroms were carried out in Tripoli, Egypt and Yemen. Police used water cannons and fired warning shots into the air to prevent the angry crowd from lynching the American diplomatic staff.
In response the U.S. is forced to defend. It is closing its embassies in Niger and Lagos and even in several countries in Western Europe. To ensure safety to American diplomats, the Pentagon has deployed marines in Libya where the U.S ambassador died in the hands of militants. An American destroyer has been sent near to the Libyan coast. Sooner or later, the “anti-American” fever will cover the entire Muslim world, says political scientist Stanislav Tarasov.
“The killing of the American ambassador in Benghazi is a tragedy, of course. On the one hand, it is the consequence of the policy pursued by the U.S. in the Islamic world. This policy provides for the military presence. Over million people were killed in Iraq after the American aggression. American troops are in Afghanistan. We know what the price of regime change in Libya was. At the time, the West uttered no words. Anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world is very strong and wide-spread,” Stanislav Tarasov said.
At the same time he believes that all acts of protests and pogroms in the Muslim countries have been a well-directed provocation. Some body is clearly adding fuel to the fire between Islam and West.
Please, do not touch idols unless a war is inevitable, warn experts. Several years ago, the “cartoon scandal” in the Western Europe was the first signal. The “Innocence of Muslims” film, which also insults Prophet Muhammad, is a new link in this chain of events, says Gumer Isaev, analyst at Centre for Contemporary Middle East Studies in St. Petersburg.
“Please draw the attention: The fiercest anti-West attacks have been carried out in countries where regimes have been recently changed. Similar to films, such an “art” is a provocation, of course. In this case, the authorities should understand that there is a need to restrict such acts by their citizens, posting such films on the Internet. They should understand and foresee the possible consequences and responses,” Gumer Isaev said.
Meanwhile, Google has rejected a request by the American Administration to remove the scandalous film from video hosting. But such a decision did not disappointed Washington. In view of this, the White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “We cannot and will not squelch freedom of expression in this country”. However, Google has restricted access to the video film in India and Indonesia and blocked it for the users in Egypt and Libya where protests have reached a highest point. According to an official of the company, the restrictions were imposed in line with the legislations of these countries but not for political reasons.
Nevertheless, pogroms have shifted to Asia. Protestors burned American flags while shouting “Death to America!”, “Death Blasphemers!” in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi and other Pakistani cities.
How will America build its relations with the Muslim world after these events? Here is a forecast from head of the Centre for Oriental Studies at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Foreign Ministry Andrei Volodin.
“The events that are being occurred are in reality, the restricted resumption of the Arab Revolutions which have started changing not only the Middle East but the world as a whole. In this situation, the U.S. feels very uncomfortable. It may say anything that it controls the processes in Arab revolutions. But in reality, it is forced to adapt to these processes,” Andrei Volodin said.
The anti-American demonstrations in Libya, Egypt and many other countries revealed the weakness of the U.S. in developing a long-term strategy towards Arab states, says Andrei Volodin. At present, it’s quite clear that there is no such strategy, and the Americans will have to hold out once again.