If 2011's Arab Spring was all about the propaganda "hope" of democracy (driven paradoxically by soaring global good prices as we predicted in early 2011 before the first Tunisian domino toppled), then 2012 Arab Fall, is all about the blowback to US policies and intervention in the region. And while we are amused by the media's narrative that an entire continent can suddenly come to arms against Pax Americana over a YouTube clip, we are confident that what some hate-mongering preacher has to say about Mohammed is about as relevant to what is happening in the Middle East today, as how the global economy performs impact the S&P. Absolutely none. What we do know is that the anti-American revulsion, which started on September 11 in Egypt and has since taken Libya and Yemen by storm, is spreading like wildfire. The NYT writes: 'Protests were also reported at American missions in Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, where the police also fired tear gas to disperse crowds." It is only going to get far worse, as suddenly geopolitics, and the US response thereto, becomes the biggest issue in the presidential debate.
The NYT recaps what the response has been so far, to overnight hostilities in Yemen, which as we already reported, is the latest US embassy to be under attack:
There were no immediate reports of American casualties, nor was there any report that the protesters had managed to breach the main diplomatic buildings within the compound. Yemeni officials said that a number of protesters were wounded and some were arrested, but did not provide figures. Hours after the attack started, smoke was still seen rising from the area.
By early afternoon, one witness, Yahya Yousef, who lives opposite the embassy, said: “Now almost everyone is out, and firing has ceased. We saw protesters getting out with some stuff from inside.”
The protests came hours after a Muslim cleric, Abdul Majid al- Zandani, urged followers to emulate the protests in Libya and Egypt, Sana residents said. Mr. Zandani, a onetime mentor to Osama bin Laden, was named a “specially designated global terrorist” by the United States Treasury Department in 2004.
The crowd gathered a day after the embassy warned Americans in a posting on its Web site that “in the wake of recent events in Libya and Egypt, there is the possibility of protests in Yemen, and specifically in the vicinity of the U.S. Embassy, in the coming days.”
“The U.S. Embassy continues to recommend that U.S. citizens avoid large gatherings. Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens in Yemen are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly,” the Web posting said.
President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi of Yemen said in a statement that he “extends his sincere apologies to President Obama and to the people of the United States of America” for the attack. Mr. Hadi took office in February after his strongman predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, stepped down last November following months of violent protests.
In his statement, Mr. Hadi said he had ordered an “expeditious and thorough investigation” and promised that “the perpetrators of these acts will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” The statement also alluded to “divisions among Yemen’s security and military forces” between supporters of the new government and of Mr. Saleh which had exacerbated tensions.
Mohammed Albasha, a spokesman for Yemen’s embassy in Washington, said the government strongly condemned the attack, adding that there were no reported casualties.
“Given recent regional events, earlier this morning angry protesters have unfortunately flooded the security perimeter of the U.S. Embassy,” he said in a statement. “The government of Yemen will honor international obligations to ensure the safety of diplomats and will step up security presence around all foreign missions.”
One thing is certain: more and more Marines will be stationed, and increasingly bigger warships will anchor just off various Middle Eastern countries , until anti-American sentiment improves.