In today’s Al-Monitor photo of the day, Iraqi filmmaker Koutaiba Al Janabi was one of many prominent Arab artists at the Arab Screen Independent Film Festival: Documentary and Short Films in Benghazi.
Libya’s “second revolution”? Libyans who supported last year’s uprising against the tyrannical rule of Muammar Gadhafi have grown increasingly irate at the continued presence of non-state militias in their nearly liberated country. Mohammad Omar Beaiou has more in an original piece for Al-Monitor:
The heads of the militias, who are in fact the fascist rulers of Libya, ought to ask themselves this pertinent question: Why do the people of Benghazi and all others throughout Libya hate us, after they fought with us against Muammar Gadhafi in cities and on fronts, placing us on pedestals and almost deifying us?
Read the full story.
Al-Monitor has culled the smartest - and most provocative - media reactions to this month’s sometimes-violent protests against US embassies across the Middle East. For instance,
- Semi Idiz of Milliyet (our Turkish media partner) points out that the protests were smaller than most people realized, and represent a small fringe.
- Khalil al-Anani of Al-Hayat says that socioeconomics — much more than religion — explains the protests.
- Jytte Klausen of Foreign Affairs warns that Egypt’s president is playing dangerous power games by fanning the flames of outrage against the anti-Islam video.
|—||A somber Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking at the transfer of remains ceremony for four US diplomatic personnel killed in Libya Friday, calling on the people and leaders of the Middle East to reject mob violence.|
Our intrepid Laura Rozen has been on the trail of the mysterious “Sam Bacile,” the supposed filmmaker of the very low-production-value “Innocence of Muslims” film, whose anti-Muslim trailer posted to YouTube helped spur deadly protests in Libya and Egypt. Among the weird facts that have emerged (see her full report):
- Sam Bacile doesn’t exist. At least, that’s not his name; he doesn’t live in California, like he claims; he’s not Israeli, like he claims; he’s not Jewish, like he claims; and he’s not a real estate developer, like he claims. (Equally weird: the film itself may not exist, according to this fascinating BuzzFeed report - take a look at all the weird overdubbing on the video.)
- Steven Klein, a Hemet, Calif.-based “consultant” to the film who claims he’s an expert on locating terrorists in California, also lied about Bacile’s identity to the AP. Klein runs a for-profit group called “Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment” that has reportedly protested mosques throughout Southern California.
- The AP, which thought it had interviewed “Sam Bacile,” traced the cell number it called to Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a man of Egyptian background now located just outside L.A. Nakoula was sentenced to 21 months in prison for committing federal bank fraud in 2010.
- Morris Sadek, an Egypt-American Copt and anti-Islamic activist, may be the only other “real” person who we can be pretty sure is actually be associated with the making of the film.
Read more from Al-Monitor as Laura follows this mysterious story, and follow her throughout the day on twitter @lrozen.
Protests over a badly dubbed anti-Muslim video by a filmmaker who may not even exist were happening not just in Libya, where the US ambassador and three other Americans was were killed yesterday, but also in Egypt. Shown above is one of the more straightforward anti-American slogans scrawled in protest; Mosa’ab Elshamy has a gallery for Al-Monitor of more scenes from outside the American embassy in Cairo.
Our Beirut bureau chief, Ben Gilbert, has more on the attack in this morning’s Al-Monitor, including more background about the anti-Muslim movie that provoked the mob.
This is the introduction video made for Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador to Libya, who was killed Tuesday night along with three other Americans in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi. Here, he introduces himself and his history and his plans for working with Libya during its post-Gaddhafi reconstruction and transition.