I started over Labor Weekend to write about my increasing concern about the escalating number of Green on Blue attacks in Afghanistan during August, and even though they are continuing they seem to have receded in importance relative to raising level of violence in Cairo, the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens (along three other Americans) in our Benghazi Consulate, and anti American demonstrations in 20 other countries all triggered by the offense taken at an amateurish YouTube video that seems to mock the Prophet Muhammad. As with the Danish cartoons from years past, Arab Muslims again seem to be looking for the opportunity to be offended so they can blame the West for what ails their societies. Or perhaps there is latent Arab anger that the US never relented in its efforts to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. Meanwhile unrelated to the YouTube clip (it’s a trailer not movie) titled the “Innocence of Muslims” Assad is ramping up his violence against Syrian rebels offended by his secular dictatorial regime while Israel’s Prime Minister is publicly insisting the US articulate for all to know its conditions for taking military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons development program.
I don’t agree with the view expressed by some that the IC not warning of violent demonstrations at the American Embassy in Cairo or the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi represents an intelligence failure. The political volatility in both Libya and Egypt seems to have been understood and conveyed by the IC; however, at least in Cairo the IC along with the news media continue to be challenged by extracting actionable intelligence from social media.