Amid all the high-fives over stocks hitting all-time highs and Edward Snowden's temporary freedom hogging the headlines yesterday, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf quietly pointed out that, due to an "abundance of caution," an unspecified number of US embassies and consulates in the Muslim world will be closed this weekend (and diplomatic facilities maybe longer). House foreign affairs committee chairman Royce suggested this morning that this closure is 'Al-Qaeda-threat-related'; and, as AP reports, the last major warning came last fall when embassies warned American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world of potential violence around Sept. 11. (and the disaster that was Benghazi). But we can't help but worry about the coincident 'leak' by US officials of Israel's airstrike on Syria (and the potential forced response from Assad this would seem to portend).
The United States is closing its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world on Sunday after receiving an unspecified threat, officials said.
State Department officials said Thursday they were acting out of an "abundance of caution."
Spokeswoman Marie Harf cited information indicating a threat to U.S. facilities overseas and said some diplomatic facilities may stay closed for more than a day.
Other U.S. officials said the threat was in the Muslim world, where Sunday is a workday.
Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
The State Department issued a major warning last year informing American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world about potential violence connected to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed when militants assaulted a diplomatic post. The administration no longer says that attack was related to the demonstrations.
And while Royce 'confirms' this is an Al-Qaeda threat-related move, the following does make one think...
Unnamed US officials leaked information Thursday on alleged Israeli air strikes in Syria, and told The New York Times they expect an additional attack by Israel in the near future.
The sources, described by the Times as “American intelligence analysts,” discussed what they said were classified assessments, according to which a July 5 IAF strike on a Syrian facility housing Russian surface-to-sea missiles in Latakia failed to destroy them all.
The American leaks have raised concerns among some observers in Israel that Syrian President Bashar Assad would be unable to refrain from responding to the attacks due to the embarrassment he would incur.
“The mere fact that such leaks happen often indicates that the Pentagon leadership does not have Israel’s interests at heart,” Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post. “It is difficult to assess the motivation of such leaks.”
“As soon as there is fire from Syrian territory that endangers us, or enters our territory and violates our sovereignty, we identify the source of fire and destroy it.”