Focus on safety after Libya embassy attack may imperil true mission, UF professor says


With the attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, UF Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Paul D’Anieri offered more analysis about the turmoil in the Middle East.

D’Anieri said he felt the recent attack will preoccupy other embassies in a negative way.

“I think everybody around the world is going to take increased steps to ensure they are protecting their embassy employees and their counselor employees,” he said. “The downside of that is that the more those people get shut up inside embassies and consultants, the less they’re out really doing the things they are suppose to be doing, (and) the less understanding they are going to have of the countries they are posted to, and that is probably not a good thing.”

In Libya, U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other people were killed followed by U.S. embassy protests in Cairo over an anti-Muslim movie that insulted their prophet Muhammad.

D’Anieri said however, that these violent protests are nothing new.

“There’s been a series of these episodes where somebody somewhere tries to provoke people, and people are willing to be provoked, and to use that as an excuse to go out and do something violent,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Defense sent two marine anti-terrorism teams to Libya on Wednesday to help with the security.

But when it comes to the U.S. retaliating, D’Anieri said it’s not clear who the U.S. should retaliate against.

D’Anieri said situations like these only contribute to the Middle East’s perception that the U.S. is hostile towards Islam.

D’Anieri added that this attack showed that Libya, despite having a new government, is having a hard time maintain peace.

“I think the only thing that says about the new government and Libya is that they’re having a difficult time maintaining peace in the country,” he said. “I don’t think they were very well prepared for an event like this.”

President Barack Obama released a statement in which he described rejecting any efforts to denigrate any religious beliefs, but that there is no justification for this type of violence, which D’Anieri agreed is senseless.

“Well, it’s a tragedy,” he said. “There’s been a a lot of violence since the civil war ended last year, and this is really unfortunate.”

Interim President of Libya Mohammed el-Megarif, apologized to the U.S. for the attack. He described it as “cowardly” and vowed to maintain their countries close relations with U.S.

Chris Alcantara edited this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing or calling 352-294-1525.

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