September 12th, 2012
08:29 PM ET

Comments: Deadly Benghazi attack illustrates complexity of Middle East politics

Editor's note: We're listening to you. Readers often post thought-provoking comments about issues in the news, and we like to highlight them when we can.

It has been an eventful week in the Middle East, and readers are talking about a lot of things. Here are three themes that came up:


A pro-al Qaeda group responsible for a previous armed assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is the chief suspect in Tuesday's attack that killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, sources tracking militant Islamist groups in eastern Libya say.

Pro-al Qaeda group seen behind deadly Benghazi attack

Readers shared their thoughts and theories about connections to al Qaeda, and talked about their views on what should be done about the attack.

CNN's sources note that the attack followed a call from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for revenge for the death in June of a senior Libyan member of the terror group Abu Yahya al-Libi. Several commenters on this particular article were eager to see action taken.

JohnRJohnson: "I think, with that phone call, al-Zawahiri has just increased the likelihood that he will soon be vaporized by a missile from out of the blue. Al Qaeda declared war on the United States back in 1998. Since then, I've heard no declarations of peace coming from any of the al Qaeda leadership; therefore they should continue to expect our ongoing efforts to eliminate them from the face of the Earth. Al-Zawahiri is a mental case who gave up being a healer to become a murderer of innocent people. His time will come soon enough."

justice786: "As an American Muslim, I agree with you. Al Qaeda needs to be terminated."

WWWYKI: "Does anybody think trying to make peace with a culture that murders their own daughters in a public setting for the audacity of getting raped is even possible?"

One commenter said they are from Libya and are upset about what happened to Stevens.

"I am a Libyan citizen, recently graduated from high school abroad in Europe and back in Benghazi, Libya, now. I must say those who have committed this outrageous and cowardly criminal act must be chased, captured, tortured and then executed. Why would they put our foreign interest and relations into risk!!! A diplomat like Chris Stevens only seeks the interest of both his own nation and the nation that is hosting him. I just hope that the criminals will be brought to justice. R.I.P to Chris Stevens and to his staff members and to those Libyans who died protecting the staff."


Noman Benotman, a former leader of a jihadist organization and current critic of jihadist and Islamist violence, opined that whoever was behind the Benghazi attack may have hoped to spread the results to a broader population. The brewing controversy over an amateur film produced in the United States may have provided the perfect vehicle, Benotman said.

Opinion: What jihadists want you to believe about Libya

His article got a varied reaction; several readers in this case said they wanted to see less U.S. involvement in foreign affairs.

pogostick: "I am sure that the killing of bin Laden unleashed the angry of radical Muslims. I was waiting for something like this to happen and expect there will be more retaliations. I also believe, like the article says, that the jihadists think that all Muslims will now rally to their cause. Will they? In spite of the 9/11/01 nightmare and many other incidents, we keep buying oil from them. We buy their oil and our money enriches their economy, yet at the same time they hate us. The whole situation is insane. When are we going to get out of these countries and let them continue killing one another? Sadly, there is no end in sight."

50mike58: "Send in the warships. Lay waste to that fourth-world country and put an end to that evil religion. Sick and tried of letting them walk all over us. Obama needs to stand up and fight for this country or get the hell out of the way and let someone in who will. Attacking and murdering our ambassadors is an act of war; the longer we let it go unanswered, the more it will happen again and again, and get worse and worse until we have another 9/11."

Some of the posters wondered if it is possible to separate the actions of a few and a many.

orlandojon: "You can't separate friendly Muslims from the enemy in those countries because they blend in. Ask the U.S. soldiers about the difficulty in telling them apart. Many of our servicemen die every day trusting so-called government officials and police. We have to treat them as the enemy that they are until they eliminate terrorists themselves."

This person said they hope for peace, but some aren't sure it's possible.

Christian Desrosiers: "At a time when America is being criticized around the world for all sorts of things, legitimately or not, and at a time where some of the sharpest critics of current American foreign policy are actually American politicians themselves (that aspect is really new), I will nonetheless say that people like Mr. Stevens are precisely why in conversations I regularly defend America and, especially, Americans. The world in general, and the West in particular, needs people like Mr. Stevens, who are not just talking the talk about how democracy is a universal value, but who actually do walk the walk and go to places like Libya to help build democracy in a society that has lived under a dictator for decades."

OhRReally: "This attack wasn't about winning the support of local Libyans as the article suggests, it's about repelling the support of the American people; without American support, the local Libyans have no chance against these extremists who hope to take over."


Little is known about the man, identified by The Wall Street Journal as "Sam Becile," who is said to be behind the film "Innocence of Muslims." Protests in Egypt and Libya have been attributed to the film, but it remains unclear whether the Benghazi attack was solely incited by the movie. Stevens and three other Americans died in that incident.

Questions surround man behind anti-Islam film

Several readers expressed skepticism about Sam Bacile, including the following poster.

"Well, Bacile makes a movie insulting to Islam; didn't he know what would happen? The answer is yes, that's why he protected himself by using a false name - unfortunately, he threw America to the dogs and risked the life of every American. But what does he care? This movie hurts U.S. relations with Muslims, but that's what Bacile and Klein wanted because bad U.S. relations with Muslims is good for Israel. This doesn't mean the loonies that attacked our embassies are right - just that this outcome, or something similar, was exactly what was intended by those who made the film. The 100 wealthy Jews who paid for it, as well as Mr. Klein, should be deported to Israel, they are traitors and violated our American principles of religious respect. Kick them all out."

But another person took a different view, saying they suspected the film might have actually been intended to reflect poorly on Jewish people.

AndyDaniel: "Call me skeptical regarding this "'funded by 100 Jews' thing but as American Jew I don't think most Jews would have an interest in funding an anti-Islamic film. The Jewish attitude toward other faiths is that God chose the Jewish people to follow his laws and that non-Jews are exempt from most of them (for example, a non-Jew working on the Sabbath or eating shellfish is not viewed as a sin). So there is very little attitude one way or the other among Jews about other religions. This movie appears to have been made to create anger among Muslims; the 'funded by 100 Jews' claim might be made up to create anger against Jews, because somebody wants to incite violence."

Readers talked about free speech and the ability to produce content of this sort.

cavalier1138: "The film is an abhorrent piece of trash that is one man's pathetic attempt to say, 'My imaginary friend is better than your imaginary friend!' That said, we have free speech in this country. And Muslims are forbidden from depicting their prophet. That doesn't mean anyone else is. I'm not Muslim, so I can depict whoever I please. Killing anyone over this is idiotic."

armchrexpert: "Even if this was protected free speech, I wonder if we couldn't arrest the filmmakers and promoters anyway for incitement to violence or 'national security reasons.' Maybe we could even extradite them to Egypt. Freedom of speech is not absolute. You can't libel or slander, you can't violate a trade secret or nondisclosure agreement. You can't disclose national secrets. You can't incite to violence. You can't threaten the president or anyone else for that matter. We do NOT have unlimited free speech. As long as some Muslims have strong religious feelings about certain activities that they consider sacrilegious, we have some responsibility to learn to respect their beliefs, or there is no hope of peace. If that needs to be enforced by placing further limits on the free speech provision of the Constitution, than I'm willing to live with that."

How best to express one's views?

Joeymom: "Dear Protesters: In the world of free speech, the best way to make offensive speakers go away is to ignore them, not bring them attention through loud protests and attacks. No one had even heard of this bad flick, and now we all know it. It would have been smarter to let it die in obscurity."

Jalek: "How many of them do you think actually saw it anyway? I'm sure, like most often, they heard someone say they saw something and off they went."

What do you think? What will happen now? Share your opinion in the comments area below and in the latest stories on Or sound off on video via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Comments • Egypt • Libya • Politics • Religion • World
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Ben

    I'm starting a new trend when you wear socks im going to blow a building up and blame you for inciting me to violence...You know it's your fault for wear socks that offends me...

    September 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nick Palin

    Democracy is not understood in most of the Muslim think or act like they are even close to participatory democracy is naive at best and dangerous at worst. How can the President of the United States continue on the campaign trail unaffected by the horrific events in Lybia and Egypt . The talk about a vidio as the catilist is irrelivent this is a time bomb that needs little to go off. We were all better off when these countries were under the thumb of brutal dictators that at least kept order .and honored peace treaties .I fear for thie survival of Isreal .this is just the beginning .

    September 14, 2012 at 2:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rob Quirk

    Has this film been released? Has anybody seen it? When will people realize that if you make something controversial then people will watch it? Thank you Benghazi for making this controversial, now I will watch it.You're top promoters only It's a pity people had to die to promote the film

    September 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. the 1 prophet

    Let's face it what was America is now called United States, which is a Corporation, war of liberation is a colonization and the splitting and dividing of the midle east between Russia and the US (

    September 15, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. the 1 prophet

    Government do things behind comprehension to survive

    September 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  6. icons set

    You commit an error. Write to me in PM.

    November 3, 2012 at 4:56 am | Report abuse |
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