(Courtesy of Michael Yon) Billy Birdzell–Embassy Security: The Strategic Context

On the 11th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, al Qaeda affiliates staged a series of attacks against U.S. diplomatic missions in the Middle East. Inciting protests against the film, “Innocence of Muslims,” or possibly taking advantage of existing demonstrations, militants with alledged links to Al Qaeda burned the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith and two contracted American security personnel. Within days, violent protests sprung up in over two dozen countries across the Muslim world. In Sana’a, Yemen, protestors forcibly entered the U.S. Embassy compound and burned the American flag, replacing it with a black flag bearing the Islamic shahada.

Since the Benghazi attack, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah have threatened U.S. personnel and facilities. In light of Ambassador Stevens’ death, and remembering the 52 Americans held hostage for 444 days by “protestors” in Iran, there is growing concern about the ability of Americans to protect themselves inside diplomatic missions. While Marines from Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Teams (FAST) have been deployed to Yemen, questions remain as to why Marines or other U.S. military forces have not been sent to other embassies. Before we discuss the operational details of what U.S. forces are available, it is imperative that we understand the political context in which our military is used to protect U.S. diplomatic missions abroad.

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2 comments on “(Courtesy of Michael Yon) Billy Birdzell–Embassy Security: The Strategic Context

  1. Chip Johnson, cj says:

    Second attempt!

    If, according to the cited article, the PRIMARY mission of the Marine Protective Detachment is to [b] defend [/b] the embassy staff, why the heck are they, by state fiat, [b]unarmed?[/b]

    Inquiring minds would really like to know. This goes back to debacle in Beirut that ended Carter’s presidency.

  2. yohanelejos says:

    Ummm… Carter’s debacle was Teheran.

    The Beirut debacle was in the days of Reagan. …but, Grenada came at the same time, which got people’s attention.