Peter Hessler reports from Cairo:
[T]he events at the U.S. Embassy seem to reflect the general deterioration of security around the country, especially with regard to diplomatic missions. Since the revolution, four embassies have been breached by protestors: Israel, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, and the United States. These protests often begin because of some distant event—Myanmar, for example, was targeted because of the government’s treatment of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority—and demonstrators have learned that the Egyptian authorities are reluctant to use force. This is especially true now that the Muslim Brotherhood is in power, trying to establish themselves as the first democratically elected government in decades. “The problem with the current government is that there is a huge fear of hurting the protestors, especially if [the government] is defending foreigners,” the foreign diplomat told me. “It’s a very populist regime.” She continued, “That’s one of the after-effects of the revolution. They have the right to make these protests, and they know that the security forces won’t do anything.”
A diplomat Hessler talks to sees the anti-Islamic Muhammad film as an excuse for the protests rather than their cause. Kevin Drum agrees.
(Photo: An Egyptian protester throws a rock toward riot police during clashes near the United States Embassy and Tahrir Square on September 14, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. Over two hundred people have been injured in clashes between protesters and security forces. By Ed Giles/Getty Images)