After attacks on U.S. embassies in Benghazi, Libya, Egypt and Yemen last week over a California Internet film, “Innocence of Muslims,” the Obama faced another burst of violent demonstrations in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Tunis, Tunisia, and other parts of the Muslim world on Monday.
Watch genConnect interview Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and Agricultural Affairs Bob Hormats on the big issues facing the United States, how the U.S. is perceived by Middle Eastern countries and if American citizens are getting an accurate portrayal of what’s going on in the world from the news today:
“I think in many parts of the world, particularly parts of the Middle East, the people who are involved in this Arab Spring, do look at the United States as a place that believes in the same kinds of things they believe in: representative government, democracy, opportunity,” Hormats said. “They want us to play an active role in supporting their intiatives. They don’t expect us to guide progress in the region.”
Do people still perceive the U.S. as a bright, shining light? “The change has to come from the Egyptians, and the Tunisians and people in other countries in the region. I think they would like American support – moral support, political support and economic support.
“I do think they want us to play a constructive role … but not try to dictate the process that happens in their countries.”
Hundreds of protesters demonstrating against “Innocence of Muslims” set fire to a press club and a government building in northwest Pakistan Monday, while demonstrations also turned violent outside a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and at the U.S. Embassy in Indonesia. Demonstrations and violence has erupted in about 20 countries since last Tuesday when the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three of his staff were killed at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
On Friday, violence flared across the Middle East on Friday at the German Embassy in Sudan, while demonstrators in Lebanon set a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on fire while chanting against Pope Benedict’s visit to Lebanon. Meanwhile, in Egypt, riot police clashed with protesters angry over “Innocence of Muslims” just blocks away from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
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