Although the murder U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other diplomats is an appalling outrage, I can’t profess to be surprised.
This is the first high value target that the jihadists have killed in Libya and it should be a wakeup call about what has been gestating there for the last twelve months.
The attack was reportedly carried out by several hundred armed men.
Their supposed motivation was some perceived slight on the Prophet Mohammed.
However, the fact that the killings took place on the 11th anniversary of 911 is probably a clue as to the real motivation of the attackers.
Stevens is the first US Ambassador to be killed in post since 1979. He was a fluent Arabic speaker and a strong champion of the Libyan revolution.
Indeed he had served as the US envoy to the revolutionaries as they battled to topple Gaddafi.
It isn’t a year ago since I wrote about the long-term dangers of toppling the dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
As the media in this part of the world gushed about the “Arab Spring” I was something of a contrarian.
The uncomfortable truth was that in the war against radical Islam dictators like Saddam and Gaddafi were rather useful. They were secular, had an entirely different agenda to Bin Laden and they maintained secure borders and a vicious secret police.
It is unarguable that the destruction of the Iraqi state was a huge fillip to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
Suddenly Bin Laden’s associates had an operational area with safe houses where before they had been hunted by Saddam’s security service.
The Libyan chaos has been facilitated by the two Western powers that did so much to create the Middle East that has been in flames all of my life, Britain and France.
Their greedy scramble for the body parts of the Ottoman Empire created the Middle East that we know today.
Now, of course, it is the USA that has to step in and try and stabilise a region that could have the entire planet on fire.
In the law of unintended consequences toppling Saddam gave the Tehran Mullahs a quiescent client state on their borders rather than a sworn enemy.
Moreover, in Benghazi there are Jihadists who, one day, might welcome Iranian ballistic missiles onto their soil.
Then there will be no need for a British Prime Minister to invent scary stories about 45 minute warnings.