After Benghazi and Cairo: The new face of the Middle East?

Video

Post-Event Summary
With the hangover of the Arab Spring manifesting itself in violence aimed at several U.S. embassies, the Middle East should be called the "Muddle East," said Brian Katulis of the Center for American Progress at an AEI event on Friday. Despite the violence, which earlier this week resulted in the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, the U.S. needs to stay in the game, Katulis advised.

Katulis joined Hisham Melham of Al Arabiya news channel and AEI's Danielle Pletka to discuss the larger implications of this week's protests, ostensibly over a video produced in the U.S. that negatively portrays the Prophet Mohammad. Melham argued that the protests are not about a video. "It's all about politics," he said, and claimed it is unfortunate that the U.S. apologizes "every time an idiot holds up a camera."

Melham added that it is not the job of the U.S. president to try to reassure the Middle East region that Islam is a great religion, and he warned that the region will need years — in fact, probably decades — to learn how to make democracy work. He said it will not happen if most people in the region continue to discriminate among women, minorities and political opponents.

Katulis concluded that it is critical that the U.S. encourage those with a strong desire for pluralism to take leading roles. He and Pletka agreed that America's foreign aid dollars give the country substantial leverage, but said the U.S. cannot go back to propping up authoritarians. Aid is "not a check we write to our guy," Pletka said.

--Sharon Kehnemui

Event Description
On the anniversary of 9/11, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a statement condemning a YouTube video that depicts the prophet Mohammed in a derogatory way. Possibly attempting to stave off planned protests, the statement – an apology to Muslims for “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims” – failed to persuade, and in the ensuing hours a mob attacked the embassy, burned the U.S. flag and tried to raise al-Qaeda's in its stead. Hours later, radicals in Libya attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three members of his staff. Subsequent reports indicate the attacks may have been coordinated.

Is extremism going to be the hallmark of the new Middle East, post–Arab Spring? Or are these attacks an aberration? Is the United States doing all it can to marginalize terrorists and extremists in the Arab world’s new governments? Join AEI for a timely panel discussion on this week’s attacks.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

What's new on AEI

Defeating ISIS: AEI experts weigh-in before the president’s address on Wednesday
image Degrading, defeating, and destroying the Islamic State
image Wealth Building Home Loan: Building wealth through homeownership and retirement savings
image The $3 iPhone
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 15
    MON
  • 16
    TUE
  • 17
    WED
  • 18
    THU
  • 19
    FRI
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
The Constitution as political theory

Please join us for the third-annual Walter Berns Constitution Day Lecture as James Ceasar, Harry F. Byrd Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia, explores some of the Constitution’s most significant contributions to political theory, focusing on themes that have been largely unexamined in current scholarship.

Event Registration is Closed
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | 8:10 a.m. – Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Third international conference on housing risk: New risk measures and their applications

We invite you to join us for this year’s international conference on housing risk — cosponsored by the Collateral Risk Network and AEI International Center on Housing Risk — which will focus on new mortgage and collateral risk measures and their applications.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Speaker of the House John Boehner on resetting America’s economic foundation

Please join us as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) delivers his five-point policy vision to reset America’s economy.

Friday, September 19, 2014 | 9:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Reforming Medicare: What does the public think?

Please join us as a panel of distinguished experts explore the implications of the report and the consumer role in shaping the future of Medicare.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.