AirTalk for September 13, 2013

Middle-East outrage spreads as the origin of 'Innocence of Muslims' video is vetted

YEMEN-UNREST-US-FILM-PROTEST

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

Yemeni protesters gather around fire during a demonstration outside the US embassy in Sanaa over a film mocking Islam on September 13, 2012. Yemeni forces managed to drive out angry protesters who stormed the embassy in the Yemeni capital with police firing warning shots to disperse thousands of people as they approached the main gate of the mission.

Middle East violence sparked by a controversial American-made video depicting the Prophet Muhammad spilled into Yemen and Iran today.

Tuesday’s violent protests at U.S. embassies in Cairo and in Libya led to the deaths of four Americans in the Libyan city of Benghazi. One of the Americans killed in Benghazi was the U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, who was a popular figure in Libya credited with helping the new Libyan government in the aftermath of the ousting of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

President Obama has vowed to mete out justice to the perpetrators of the deadly clash in Libya and former presidential candidate John McCain today joined Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s hard line criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of the crisis. Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the origin of the controversial video and the identity of the man who produced it continues to remain muddled. The international response to the amateurish and incendiary video “Innocence of Muslims” has set off a media manhunt that so far has led to a Southern California man named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Nakoula is a Coptic Christian with a criminal record who may have used the pseudonym “Sam Bacile” to produce the film.

It is still unclear whether the expanding Middle East protests were sparked by the video or were part of a coordinated attack by al-Qaeda intended to mark the anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Regardless of the flashpoint, the developing incident continues to cause bloodshed and has brought foreign policy issues front and center in the American presidential election.

What can cause a poorly-made video to lead to deadly riots halfway around the globe? How will the developing event affect the upcoming election?

Guests:

Borzou Daragahi, Middle East correspondent for The Financial Times joining us from Turkey

Christian Caryl, editor of Foreign Policy’s Democracy Lab website; Senior Fellow, Legatum Institute, “an independent, non-partisan public policy organisation based in London whose research, publications, and programmes advance ideas and policies in support of free and prosperous societies around the world.”

Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent, The Atlantic; author, Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror; and recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting

Father Joseph Boules, Presbyter, St. Mary & St. Verena Coptic Orthodox Church in Anaheim, part of the Coptic Orthodox Church Diocese of Los Angeles


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