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Russia warns US on consequences of regime change

Published time: September 13, 2012 14:49
Edited time: September 13, 2012 19:27

A US flag is seen among the rubble at the US consulate, which was attacked and set on fire by gunmen yesterday, in Benghazi September 12, 2012. (ReutersEsam/ Al-Fetori)

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has addressed a message to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemning the death of the US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. He also called for a change of tact in the fight against terrorism.

­"I am shocked by the tragic death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues,” the message began. “Please convey our words of sincere sympathy to the families and friends of the deceased."

He also took the opportunity to appeal for better coordinated anti-terrorism efforts between the two countries.

"We strongly condemn this crime that once again confirms the need for the joint efforts of our countries, as well as the global community in combating the evil of terrorism in all its manifestations," Lavrov wrote in his message, which appeared on the Foreign Ministry’s website. 

Violent protests erupted on Tuesday in the Libyan city of Benghazi following the release of a US film entitled “Innocence of Muslims,” which many Muslim groups condemned as blasphemous. 

The US Embassy became the rallying point of a highly charged protest that eventually saw militant Islamists targeting the American complex with rocket fire. Ambassador Chris Stevens, press officer Sean Smith and two marines accompanying the ambassador were killed in the attack. 

Thus, the so-called Arab Spring has come full circle: newly liberated Libya, which just passed through a brutal civil war that pitted pro-Gaddafi forces against a Western-backed opposition, is responsible for the death of an envoy whose country contributed to the Libyan ‘liberation.’ 

In a recent interview with RT, President Vladimir Putin touched upon the issue of America’s tendency to interfere militarily in countries that are experiencing internal strife and the consequences such a strategy may have.

Mentioning the upheaval gripping the Arab world and the West’s determination to intervene in the internal strife, Putin asked: “Would you say that order and prosperity has been ensured in these countries?”

Concerning the situation in Libya, Putin was even less sanguine.

“In Libya, there are armed clashes raging between the various tribes, and I won’t even mention how this country experienced regime change,” the Russian leader said. 

Putin stressed, however, that the violence that we are now witnessing has its roots back in 1979 when the United States trained rebels to fight against Soviet troops in Afghanistan. Those fighters, under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, went on to become al-Qaeda, the terrorist organization that Russia warned made up part of the Libyan opposition.

Ekaterina Kuznetsova, from the Center for Post-Industrial Studies, told RT that the violence in Libya and elsewhere is a sign that the Americans failed to fully consider the “the consequences, of what would follow from their intervention (in Libya)."

“By now it is obvious that terrorist activity has drastically increased after the Gaddafi regime was removed by terrorist groups,” Kuznetsova said. “This is often the case with totalitarian regimes and the vacuum that remains after they’ve been eliminated.”

The killing of the US diplomats basically shows two things: that there are profound problems with security and state order in Libya, and that the US position there is not as strong as they may have thought it was, she added.

According to Vyacheslav Naumkin, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of Oriental Studies, radical Islamists are strengthening their positions, which means the United States failed to achieve its goals by intervening in the Arab Spring.

"The current developments strengthen the position of radical Islamists in the Middle East,” Naumkin said. “There will be no universal war against the US, but it is a crisis, and there will be a lot more such crises in the future.”

Naumkin blames US foreign policy in Afghanistan, as well as the unsettled Arab-Israeli conflict, for much of Washington’s current problems.

“Obviously, the US failed to take control of relations with the Islamic world and to bring them to a new level," he said. “The unsettled Arab-Israeli conflict and US actions in Afghanistan promote the growth of anti-American feelings.”